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Elixir vs Swift: What are the differences?

Elixir: Dynamic, functional language designed for building scalable and maintainable applications. Elixir leverages the Erlang VM, known for running low-latency, distributed and fault-tolerant systems, while also being successfully used in web development and the embedded software domain; Swift: An innovative new programming language for Cocoa and Cocoa Touch. Writing code is interactive and fun, the syntax is concise yet expressive, and apps run lightning-fast. Swift is ready for your next iOS and OS X project — or for addition into your current app — because Swift code works side-by-side with Objective-C.

Elixir and Swift belong to "Languages" category of the tech stack.

"Concurrency", "Functional" and "Erlang vm" are the key factors why developers consider Elixir; whereas "Ios", "Elegant" and "Not Objective-C" are the primary reasons why Swift is favored.

Elixir and Swift are both open source tools. It seems that Swift with 48.4K GitHub stars and 7.76K forks on GitHub has more adoption than Elixir with 15.6K GitHub stars and 2.22K GitHub forks.

Uber Technologies, Slack, and Lyft are some of the popular companies that use Swift, whereas Elixir is used by Poll Everywhere, NoRedInk, and Resultados Digitais. Swift has a broader approval, being mentioned in 993 company stacks & 541 developers stacks; compared to Elixir, which is listed in 177 company stacks and 190 developer stacks.

What is Elixir?

Elixir leverages the Erlang VM, known for running low-latency, distributed and fault-tolerant systems, while also being successfully used in web development and the embedded software domain.

What is Swift?

Writing code is interactive and fun, the syntax is concise yet expressive, and apps run lightning-fast. Swift is ready for your next iOS and OS X project — or for addition into your current app — because Swift code works side-by-side with Objective-C.
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What are some alternatives to Elixir and Swift?
Go
Go is expressive, concise, clean, and efficient. Its concurrency mechanisms make it easy to write programs that get the most out of multicore and networked machines, while its novel type system enables flexible and modular program construction. Go compiles quickly to machine code yet has the convenience of garbage collection and the power of run-time reflection. It's a fast, statically typed, compiled language that feels like a dynamically typed, interpreted language.
Erlang
Some of Erlang's uses are in telecoms, banking, e-commerce, computer telephony and instant messaging. Erlang's runtime system has built-in support for concurrency, distribution and fault tolerance. OTP is set of Erlang libraries and design principles providing middle-ware to develop these systems.
Clojure
Clojure is designed to be a general-purpose language, combining the approachability and interactive development of a scripting language with an efficient and robust infrastructure for multithreaded programming. Clojure is a compiled language - it compiles directly to JVM bytecode, yet remains completely dynamic. Clojure is a dialect of Lisp, and shares with Lisp the code-as-data philosophy and a powerful macro system.
Ruby
Ruby is a language of careful balance. Its creator, Yukihiro “Matz” Matsumoto, blended parts of his favorite languages (Perl, Smalltalk, Eiffel, Ada, and Lisp) to form a new language that balanced functional programming with imperative programming.
Rust
Rust is a systems programming language that combines strong compile-time correctness guarantees with fast performance. It improves upon the ideas of other systems languages like C++ by providing guaranteed memory safety (no crashes, no data races) and complete control over the lifecycle of memory.
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Decisions about Elixir and Swift
StackShare Editors
StackShare Editors
Angular
Angular
jQuery
jQuery
Objective-C
Objective-C
Swift
Swift
Go
Go
Ruby
Ruby
Java
Java
React
React
Python
Python
Node.js
Node.js
Rails
Rails

By mid-2015, around the time of the Series E, the Digital department at WeWork had grown to more than 40 people to support the company’s growing product needs.

By then, they’d migrated the main website off of WordPress to Ruby on Rails, and a combination React, Angular, and jQuery, though there were efforts to move entirely to React for the front-end.

The backend was structured around a microservices architecture built partially in Node.js, along with a combination of Ruby, Python, Bash, and Go. Swift/Objective-C and Java powered the mobile apps.

These technologies power the listings on the website, as well as various internal tools, like community manager dashboards as well as RFID hardware for access management.

See more
StackShare Editors
StackShare Editors
Objective-C
Objective-C
Gradle
Gradle
Swift
Swift
Java
Java

At the heart of Uber’s mobile app development are four primary apps: Android rider, Android driver, iOS rider, and iOS driver. Android developers build in Java, iOS in Objective C and Swift. Engineers across both platforms land code into a monolithic code base that ships each week.

They use some third-party libraries, but often build their own, since “Many open source libraries available are general-purpose, which can create binary bloat. For mobile engineering, every kilobyte matters.”

On Android, the build system is Gradle. For the UI, Butter Knife binds views and callbacks to fields and methods via annotation processing, and Picasso provides image loading.

As for iOS, all of the code lives in a monorepo built with Buck. For crash detection, KSCrash reports crashes to the internal reporting framework.

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StackShare Editors
StackShare Editors
Erlang
Erlang
Elixir
Elixir
Consul
Consul

Postmates built a tool called Bazaar that helps onboard new partners and handles several routine tasks, like nightly emails to merchants alerting them about items that are out of stock.

Since they ran Bazaar across multiple instances, the team needed to avoid sending multiple emails to their partners by obtaining lock across multiple hosts. To solve their challenge, they created and open sourced ConsulMutEx, and an Elixir module for acquiring and releasing locks with Consul and other backends.

It works with Consul’s KV store, as well as other backends, including ets, Erlang’s in-memory database.

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Conor Myhrvold
Conor Myhrvold
Tech Brand Mgr, Office of CTO at Uber · | 7 upvotes · 419.6K views
atUber TechnologiesUber Technologies
RIBs
RIBs
Swift
Swift
Objective-C
Objective-C

Excerpts from how we developed (and subsequently open sourced) Uber's cross-platform mobile architecture framework, RIBs , going from Objective-C to Swift in the process for iOS: https://github.com/uber/RIBs

Uber’s new application architecture (RIBs) extensively uses protocols to keep its various components decoupled and testable. We used this architecture for the first time in our new rider application and moved our primary language from Objective-C to Swift. Since Swift is a very static language, unit testing became problematic. Dynamic languages have good frameworks to build test mocks, stubs, or stand-ins by dynamically creating or modifying existing concrete classes.

Needless to say, we were not very excited about the additional complexity of manually writing and maintaining mock implementations for each of our thousands of protocols.

The information required to generate mock classes already exists in the Swift protocol. For Uber’s use case, we set out to create tooling that would let engineers automatically generate test mocks for any protocol they wanted by simply annotating them.

The iOS codebase for our rider application alone incorporates around 1,500 of these generated mocks. Without our code generation tool, all of these would have to be written and maintained by hand, which would have made testing much more time-intensive. Auto-generated mocks have contributed a lot to the unit test coverage that we have today.

We built these code generation tools ourselves for a number of reasons, including that there weren’t many open source tools available at the time we started our effort. Today, there are some great open source tools to generate resource accessors, like SwiftGen. And Sourcery can help you with generic code generation needs:

https://eng.uber.com/code-generation/ https://eng.uber.com/driver-app-ribs-architecture/

(GitHub : https://github.com/uber/RIBs )

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StackShare Editors
StackShare Editors
Apache Thrift
Apache Thrift
Kotlin
Kotlin
Presto
Presto
HHVM (HipHop Virtual Machine)
HHVM (HipHop Virtual Machine)
gRPC
gRPC
Kubernetes
Kubernetes
Apache Spark
Apache Spark
Airflow
Airflow
Terraform
Terraform
Hadoop
Hadoop
Swift
Swift
Hack
Hack
Memcached
Memcached
Consul
Consul
Chef
Chef
Prometheus
Prometheus

Since the beginning, Cal Henderson has been the CTO of Slack. Earlier this year, he commented on a Quora question summarizing their current stack.

Apps
  • Web: a mix of JavaScript/ES6 and React.
  • Desktop: And Electron to ship it as a desktop application.
  • Android: a mix of Java and Kotlin.
  • iOS: written in a mix of Objective C and Swift.
Backend
  • The core application and the API written in PHP/Hack that runs on HHVM.
  • The data is stored in MySQL using Vitess.
  • Caching is done using Memcached and MCRouter.
  • The search service takes help from SolrCloud, with various Java services.
  • The messaging system uses WebSockets with many services in Java and Go.
  • Load balancing is done using HAproxy with Consul for configuration.
  • Most services talk to each other over gRPC,
  • Some Thrift and JSON-over-HTTP
  • Voice and video calling service was built in Elixir.
Data warehouse
  • Built using open source tools including Presto, Spark, Airflow, Hadoop and Kafka.
Etc
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SVN (Subversion)
SVN (Subversion)
Git
Git
JSON
JSON
XML
XML
Python
Python
PHP
PHP
Java
Java
Swift
Swift
JavaScript
JavaScript
Linux
Linux
GitHub
GitHub
Visual Studio Code
Visual Studio Code

I use Visual Studio Code because at this time is a mature software and I can do practically everything using it.

  • It's free and open source: The project is hosted on GitHub and it’s free to download, fork, modify and contribute to the project.

  • Multi-platform: You can download binaries for different platforms, included Windows (x64), MacOS and Linux (.rpm and .deb packages)

  • LightWeight: It runs smoothly in different devices. It has an average memory and CPU usage. Starts almost immediately and it’s very stable.

  • Extended language support: Supports by default the majority of the most used languages and syntax like JavaScript, HTML, C#, Swift, Java, PHP, Python and others. Also, VS Code supports different file types associated to projects like .ini, .properties, XML and JSON files.

  • Integrated tools: Includes an integrated terminal, debugger, problem list and console output inspector. The project navigator sidebar is simple and powerful: you can manage your files and folders with ease. The command palette helps you find commands by text. The search widget has a powerful auto-complete feature to search and find your files.

  • Extensible and configurable: There are many extensions available for every language supported, including syntax highlighters, IntelliSense and code completion, and debuggers. There are also extension to manage application configuration and architecture like Docker and Jenkins.

  • Integrated with Git: You can visually manage your project repositories, pull, commit and push your changes, and easy conflict resolution.( there is support for SVN (Subversion) users by plugin)

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Sebastian Gębski
Sebastian Gębski
CTO at Shedul/Fresha · | 7 upvotes · 38.2K views
atFresha EngineeringFresha Engineering
AppSignal
AppSignal
Hex
Hex
Credo
Credo
Erlang
Erlang
Phoenix Framework
Phoenix Framework
Elixir
Elixir

Another major decision was to adopt Elixir and Phoenix Framework - the DX (Developer eXperience) is pretty similar to what we know from RoR, but this tech is running on the top of rock-solid Erlang platform which is powering planet-scale telecom solutions for 20+ years. So we're getting pretty much the best from both worlds: minimum friction & smart conventions that eliminate the excessive boilerplate AND highly concurrent EVM (Erlang's Virtual Machine) that makes all the scalability problems vanish. The transition was very smooth - none of Ruby developers we had decided to leave because of Elixir. What is more, we kept recruiting Ruby developers w/o any requirement regarding Elixir proficiency & we still were able to educate them internally in almost no time. Obviously Elixir comes with some more tools in the stack: Credo , Hex , AppSignal (required to properly monitor BEAM apps).

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Interest over time
Reviews of Elixir and Swift
Avatar of Bessalitskykh
Software Development Consultan at MLSDev Inc.
Review ofSwiftSwift

The performance of Swift is almost the same as that of C++, which is considered the fastest in algorithm calculation arithmetics. Apple had this idea in mind and worked to improve the speed of Swift. For example, Swift 2.0 has beaten C++ in several computation algorithms, such as Mandelbrot algorithm. Objective-C is slower because it contains C API legacy.

Swift is faster than Objective-C, because it removed the limitations of C language and has been improved with the help of advanced technologies that were unavailable when C was developed. As mentioned by Apple, Swift was originally designed to operate faster.

Despite the fact that languages are different, they both integrate, and work with Cocoa and Cocoa Touch APIs, for all Apple platforms. Therefore, a regular app-user would not recognize the difference in operating speed between Objective-C vs Swift. Speed also depends on a programmer’s level and capabilities, since a slow app can be written in Swift as well.

Learn more here https://mlsdev.com/blog/51-7-advantages-of-using-swift-over-objective-c

Review ofElixirElixir

i've give a try to Ruby, Crystal, Python and GO, and yeah, for web development i use Elixir-Phoenix, because idk why just amazing, my phoenix app is very stable (comparing to api that written in other language), Ruby is slow, Crystal has unstable API, GO, umm yeah, you need too complicated (i use golang for microservice)

Avatar of Bessalitskykh
Software Development Consultan at MLSDev Inc.
Review ofSwiftSwift

Its performance approaches the one of C++ which is considered the fastest algorithm calculation arithmetics. And Apple strives to improve the speed of Swift. Learn more here https://mlsdev.com/blog/51-7-advantages-of-using-swift-over-objective-c

How developers use Elixir and Swift
Avatar of Lawrence Cheuk
Lawrence Cheuk uses SwiftSwift

iPhone app, a new born language, it may good but the IDE, xcode is bad compare with Visual Studio. It just like a baby. playground can only use without connect to other library...you can not do a simply refactor of renaming a variable. You can go to definition and find reference, but you can not go to implementation....I should write them on xcode not here basically it is not the fault of swift, but it tightly to it, unless you want to use a notepad to write it.

Avatar of Refractal
Refractal uses SwiftSwift

Most of our newer apps are written completely in swift, with our older ones and some special cases using a mix of Swift and Objective-C, but with Swift 2, the language is pretty much a must-use. "guard" is <3.

Avatar of Provide Booking
Provide Booking uses ElixirElixir

Huge boon to productivity when coupled with Phoenix. Moreover, it has made background jobs and all the unseen aspects of a business easily abstracted.

Avatar of Flutter Health Inc.
Flutter Health Inc. uses SwiftSwift

Flutter is coded with Swift v.2.3 and can be run with Xcode v.8.2.1. To launch in Xcode 9.3, the code needs to be migrated to Swift 4.1

Avatar of Maxim Ananov
Maxim Ananov uses SwiftSwift

Most of the app code was gradually rewritten in Swift for better performance and code maintenance.

Avatar of JINJA Ltd.
JINJA Ltd. uses SwiftSwift

Our native iOS app is built on Swift, and most of the basic function is still written in Swift

Avatar of Walter
Walter uses ElixirElixir

Knowledge collection, collation, and enrichment. Business logic.

Avatar of Ruben Timmerman
Ruben Timmerman uses ElixirElixir

For some internal tools like our email deliverability monitor

Avatar of Ryan Jennings
Ryan Jennings uses ElixirElixir

language used by phoenix framework

Avatar of olenderhub
olenderhub uses ElixirElixir

Elixir and Phoenix are awesome.

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How much does Swift cost?
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