If I were keeping score, so many points were earned over the last week, if not
by me than by my team. I just returned from a three-day training seminar on the
basics of the Erlang programming language, taught by Szymon
Mentel of Erlang
Solutions. The program was truly an
introduction, carrying the class, in this case a group of my coworkers, from
Hello World thru concurrency, with an introduction to distributed programming.
It was an excellent tutorial and I'd recommend it to anyone interested.
I've been working on the internet for a long time, long enough that some of my
favorite languages and technologies aren't really used that much anymore (sorry
Apache and Perl). Because I was a Perl programmer in the late 90's, I read a
lot of writing by its charismatic and prolific designer, Larry Wall. Larry would
write at length about where the various Frankenstein pieces of the language came
from. This means dives into Common LISP, Prolog, you name it, and I became a bit
of a language nerd. Not a language Alpha-nerd - I want to be careful about what
I claim about myself - but at the very least a neophyte nerd.
Anyway, it's been a while since I've dug into a new language with thoughts of
actually using it. Typescript was more of a shift than learning a new language.
Rust and Go are fine but haven't yet captured my imagination. But this opportunity
to pick up some Erlang has me pretty jazzed, to the surprise of my colleagues as
it isn't something new and sexy, but a language that was introduced more than
thirty years ago.
I currently work in the internet voice and video domain, specifically in what is
being called Unified Communications. Erlang has its roots in
telecommunications, so it is no surprise that a number of applications in our
space are built upon it. There is one project in particular that we will be
relying upon a great deal in the coming months, such that we will need to
deviate from the established project roadmap to meet our own business needs.
So, when I was talking about earning points at the beginning of this post,
here's what I mean:
Our team is being encouraged to:
- Learn an exotic and powerful language - 10 points
- so that we can contribute to an open source project - 10 points
- and better participate in the open source community - 20 points
This is very exciting! Since I got started in technology, embracing and
contributing to open source has been a highly regarded, hacker ideal - even if
our corporate overlords were resistant. To be able to do this while also
learning a language and technology quite different than those I've typically
employed - this should be a very interesting summer!
I also have a side project related to my past work using
batman-adv on Raspberry
Pis. Erlang's constructs for binary pattern matching and easy task distribution
should be amazing for message passing over a mesh.