Erlang vs Lua: What are the differences?
Erlang: A programming language used to build massively scalable soft real-time systems with requirements on high availability. 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; Lua: Powerful, fast, lightweight, embeddable scripting language. Lua combines simple procedural syntax with powerful data description constructs based on associative arrays and extensible semantics. Lua is dynamically typed, runs by interpreting bytecode for a register-based virtual machine, and has automatic memory management with incremental garbage collection, making it ideal for configuration, scripting, and rapid prototyping.
Erlang and Lua belong to "Languages" category of the tech stack.
"Real time, distributed applications" is the primary reason why developers consider Erlang over the competitors, whereas "Fast learning curve" was stated as the key factor in picking Lua.
Erlang and Lua are both open source tools. It seems that Erlang with 7.7K GitHub stars and 2.09K forks on GitHub has more adoption than Lua with 1.26K GitHub stars and 437 GitHub forks.
AdRoll, Grooveshark, and Heroku are some of the popular companies that use Erlang, whereas Lua is used by Shopify, Close, and Thumbtack. Erlang has a broader approval, being mentioned in 70 company stacks & 45 developers stacks; compared to Lua, which is listed in 55 company stacks and 22 developer stacks.
What is Erlang?
What is Lua?
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What are the cons of using Erlang?
What are the cons of using Lua?
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To handle its growing observability needs, Postmates created and open sourced Cernan, a telemetry and logging aggregation server. Ceran is built on Rust and Lua, and can ingest data from many sources and then push or exposes what it’s collected to many destinations, or “sinks.” It can also create or manipulate in-flight data with programmable Lua filters.
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.
At Kong while building an internal tool, we struggled to route metrics to Prometheus and logs to Logstash without incurring too much latency in our metrics collection.
We replaced nginx with OpenResty on the edge of our tool which allowed us to use the lua-nginx-module to run Lua code that captures metrics and records telemetry data during every request’s log phase. Our code then pushes the metrics to a local aggregator process (written in Go) which in turn exposes them in Prometheus Exposition Format for consumption by Prometheus. This solution reduced the number of components we needed to maintain and is fast thanks to NGINX and LuaJIT.
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).
used lua as gameplay glue while at insomniac. one my favorite wins was integrating table support. it took walking the source code in a debugger to figure it out, still remember being at work at 3am when i got it working finally. (no google back then to make such things simple.)
We use Lua as our primary scripting language for third party developers - it's fast, the runtime can be quite small and fits into everywhere it needs to go - from mobile to web.
Lua is used as the programming language for all extensions and the main business logic.