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Introducing Erlang, 2nd Edition by Simon St. Laurent

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Chapter 11. Getting Started with OTP

At this point, it might seem like you have all you need to create process-oriented projects with Erlang. You know how to create useful functions, can work with recursion, know the data structures Erlang offers, and probably most important, know how to create and manage processes. What more could you need?

Process-oriented programming is great, but the details matter. The basic Erlang tools are powerful, but can also lead you into frustrating mazes debugging race conditions that happen only once in a while. Mixing different programming styles can lead to incompatible expectations, and code that worked well in one environment may prove harder to integrate in another.

The Origins of OTP

Ericsson encountered these problems early, and created a library of code that eases them. OTP, originally the Open Telecom Platform, is useful for pretty much any large-scale project you want to do with Erlang, not just telecom work. It’s included with Erlang, and though it isn’t precisely part of the language, it is definitely part of the Erlang environment and helps to define Erlang programming culture. The boundaries of where Erlang ends and OTP begins aren’t always clear, but the entry point is definitely behaviors. Your applications will combine processes built with behaviors and managed by supervisors in an OTP application.

So far, the lifecycle of the processes shown in the previous chapters has been pretty simple. If needed, they set up other resources ...

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