Unpacking Elixir: Real-Time and Latency

Elixir is a high-level language built on Erlang, which was designed to provide consistently low latency and meet other audacious goals. While it is not a hard real-time constraint, Erlang’s soft real-time capabilities make it ideal for systems where latency is important and a near-realtime experience is necessary. Erlang was developed for telecom purposes, aiming to route phone calls without noticeable delay. It is known for its high-level and dynamic system design, focusing on performance and objectives such as being distributed, fault-tolerant, highly available, and capable of hot swapping. Notable applications built on Erlang include RabbitMQ, Whatsapp, League of Legends, Discord, and the Phoenix web framework. Phoenix Channels and LiveView are key features that leverage Erlang’s low latency capabilities. LiveView, in particular, allows developers to write Elixir instead of JavaScript for frontend development, eliminating the need for API and contract code. While LiveView is not a solution for every problem, it efficiently solves a set of common problems in web development. Overall, Erlang’s design and performance make it an esteemed choice in computer science.


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