The LFE Tutorial

Updated a year ago

The LFE Tutorial

The LFE Tutorial is based on the Erlang tutorial Getting Started with Erlang


The members of the LFE community are working torward a more comprehensive LFE tutorial, but we wanted to get something out sooner rather than later, so we're starting with this. On the positive side, it's material that has already been created and we have only had to make syntax changes and other edits at our discretion. However, one downside of this as the first full LFE tutorial is that it's not 100% new-comer friendly: it doesn't start from absolute basics (some knowledge is presumed) and the tutorial is not comprehensive (much is left out).

That being said, the this tutorial is an intentional "kick start", aimed at to getting you started with LFE. Everything here is true, but as mentioned, it only represents part of the truth. For example, we will typically only cover simpler syntax and not explore all the esoteric forms. However, for the curious reader we've annotated where one may get more detailed information on topics covered lightly (or skipped entirely).


What Is Covered

This tutorial covers the following topics:

  • Sequential programming (installing LFE, the REPL, functions, modules, data types, the standard library, writing to the terminal, pattern matching, guards, conditionals, built-in functions, and higher-order functions)
  • Concurrent programming (processes, message passing, registered processes, and distributed programming)
  • Robustness (timeouts and error handling)
  • Records and macros (header files, records, and macros)

What Has Been Left Out

The following topics has been omitted from this tutorial:

  • Erlang References
  • Local error handling (catch/throw)
  • Single direction links (monitor)
  • Handling of binary data (binaries / bit syntax)
  • List comprehensions
  • How to communicate with the outside world and/or software written in other languages (ports).
  • Very few of the Erlang libraries have been touched on (for example file handling)
  • OTP has been totally skipped and in consequence the Mnesia database has been skipped.
  • Hash tables for Erlang terms (ETS)
  • Changing code in running systems