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Hypernumbers Whitepaper - Using Erlang In Web Startups

Hypernumbers Whitepaper - Using Erlang In Web Startups

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Published by hypernumbers
A white paper describing the use of Erlang in a web startup
A white paper describing the use of Erlang in a web startup

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Published by: hypernumbers on Jun 10, 2010
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06/25/2010

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A White Paper: Using Erlang In A Web Start-Up
 
Preamble
This White Paper was originally published anonymously on Philip Wadler’s blog
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in the summer of 2005 where it was called Erlang Service Architectures.The work in it informed our previous start-up (called vixo.com) which was a social network usingSMS instead of web technology.We built the entire proposition using the precepts discussed herein. Were I to rewrite it I wouldremove the references to Eddie, but apart from that it stands up very well to the actual experience of  building a commodity-priced Google-scale application in Erlang.The business proposition behind that was that at the time Yahoo could monetize pages at 0.03¢ per  page whereas SMS services were monetising at 2¢ - 20¢ per message. So if you can find a modelthat works well on the web and make it work in SMS you can coin it.Social Networks on SMS however proved to be a dead end – at least for us – we were unable to getany uptake. If you have an immediate need for such a system tested and written in Erlang we havethe source code and are open to almost any reasonable offer 
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.The irony of course is that the name vixo.com is becoming increasingly valuable. It appears to bethe only tangible output of 18 months work. But the real value came from the experience of  building software in Erlang in anger.
About The Author
Gordon Guthrie
is the CEO/CTO of hypernumbers.com
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We might even open source it – better to be used than dumped. It has all the weaknesses of a firstmajor system written in a new language – particularly one that has not had the disciplines of real production rewrites.
 
1Introduction
This document outlines the service issues in the implementation of conventional n-tier physicalarchitectures.
2Purpose
The purpose of this document is to outline the implementation (and profitability) consequences of software design domains for the construction of enterprise software applications – with particular regard to the selection of Erlang/OTP for such a task.
3Scope
The scope of this document is a 3-tier logical application architecture – subject to the followingassumption:
the client interface is a browser 
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– that is to say it performs no business logic or validation
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There is a clear difference between two separate domains:
-ality
-ilities-ality (ie functionality) pertains to the ability of a piece of software to perform certain tasks and is auser-facing process. “Does your software do this, enable that, allow the user to do the other…?”By contrast the –ilities pertain to the management of the whole system, they are:
scalability
reliability
manageability
changeability
securability
 performabilityThe scope of this paper is the –ilities and
not
the –ality.
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canonically, but not necessarily, a web browser running on some class of ‘personal computer’
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web applications typically offer javascript validation of input data for the users convenience, but they revalidate allinput at the server side – the client is not trusted to provide not invalid input

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