Elixir in Action, Second Edition
Saša Jurić
  • MEAP began February 2018
  • Publication in June 2018 (estimated)
  • ISBN 9781617295027
  • 425 pages (estimated)
  • printed in black & white

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The Elixir language blends the battle-tested power and stability of the Erlang virtual machine with an approachable and expressive syntax. Revised and updated for the Elixir 1.6, Elixir in Action, Second Edition teaches you how to apply Elixir to practical problems associated with scalability, fault tolerance, and high availability. Along the way, you'll develop an appreciation for, and considerable skill in, a functional and concurrent style of programming.
Table of Contents detailed table of contents

Part 1: The Language

1. First steps

1.1. About Erlang

1.1.1. High availability

1.1.2. Erlang concurrency

1.1.3. Server-side systems

1.1.4. The development platform

1.2. About Elixir

1.2.1. Code simplification

1.2.2. Composing functions

1.2.3. The big picture

1.3. Disadvantages

1.3.1. Speed

1.3.2. Ecosystem

1.4. Summary

2. Building blocks

2.1. The interactive shell

2.2. Working with variables

2.3. Organizing your code

2.3.1. Modules

2.3.2. Functions

2.3.3. Function arity

2.3.4. Function visibility

2.3.5. Imports and aliases

2.3.6. Module attributes

2.3.7. Comments

2.4. Understanding the type system

2.4.1. Numbers

2.4.2. Atoms

2.4.3. Tuples

2.4.4. Lists

2.4.5. Immutability

2.4.6. Maps

2.4.7. Binaries and bitstrings

2.4.8. Strings

2.4.9. First-class functions

2.4.10. Other built-in types

2.4.11. Higher-level types

2.4.12. IO lists

2.5. Operators

2.6. Macros

2.7. Understanding the runtime

2.7.1. Modules and functions in the runtime

2.7.2. Starting the runtime

2.8. Summary

3. Control flow

3.1. Pattern matching

3.1.1. The match operator

3.1.2. Matching tuples

3.1.3. Matching constants

3.1.4. Variables in patterns

3.1.5. Matching lists

3.1.6. Matching maps

3.1.7. Matching bitstrings and binaries

3.1.8. Compound matches

3.1.9. General behavior

3.2. Matching with functions

3.2.1. Multiclause functions

3.2.2. Guards

3.2.3. Multiclause lambdas

3.3. Conditionals

3.3.1. Branching with multiclause functions

3.3.2. Classical branching constructs

3.3.3. The with special form

3.4. Loops and iterations

3.4.1. Iterating with recursion

3.4.2. Tail function calls

3.4.3. Higher-order functions

3.4.4. Comprehensions

3.4.5. Streams

3.5. Summary

4. Data abstractions

4.1. Abstracting with modules

4.1.1. Basic abstraction

4.1.2. Composing abstractions

4.1.3. Structuring data with maps

4.1.4. Abstracting with structs

4.1.5. Data transparency

4.2. Working with hierarchical data

4.2.1. Generating IDs

4.2.2. Updating entries

4.2.3. Immutable hierarchical updates

4.2.4. Iterative updates

4.2.5. Exercise: importing from a file

4.3. Polymorphism with protocols

4.3.1. Protocol basics

4.3.2. Implementing a protocol

4.3.3. Built-in protocols

4.4. Summary

Part 2: The Platform

5. Concurrency primitives

5.1. Principles

5.2. Working with processes

5.2.1. Creating processes

5.2.2. Message passing

5.3. Stateful server processes

5.3.1. Server processes

5.3.2. Keeping a process state

5.3.3. Mutable state

5.3.4. Complex states

5.3.5. Registered processes

5.4. Runtime considerations

5.4.1. A process is sequential

5.4.2. Unlimited process mailboxes

5.4.3. Shared nothing concurrency

5.4.4. Scheduler inner workings

5.5. Summary

6. Generic server processes

6.1. Building a generic server process

6.1.1. Plugging in with modules

6.1.2. Implementing the generic code

6.1.3. Using the generic abstraction

6.1.4. Supporting asynchronous requests

6.1.5. Exercise: refactoring the to-do server

6.2. Using GenServer

6.2.1. OTP behaviours

6.2.2. Plugging into GenServer

6.2.3. Handling requests

6.2.4. Handling plain messages

6.2.5. Other GenServer features

6.2.6. Process life cycle

6.2.7. OTP-compliant processes

6.2.8. Exercise: GenServer-powered to-do server

6.3. Summary

7. Building a concurrent system

7.1. Working with the mix project

7.2. Managing multiple to-do lists

7.2.1. Implementing a cache

7.2.2. Writing tests

7.2.3. Analyzing process dependencies

7.3. Persisting data

7.3.1. Encoding and persisting

7.3.2. Using the database

7.3.3. Analyzing the system

7.3.4. Addressing the process bottleneck

7.3.5. Exercise: pooling and synchronizing

7.4. Reasoning with processes

7.5. Summary

8. Fault-tolerance basics

8.1. Runtime errors

8.1.1. Error types

8.1.2. Handling errors

8.2. Errors in concurrent systems

8.2.1. Linking processes

8.2.2. Monitors

8.3. Supervisors

8.3.1. Preparing the existing code

8.3.2. Starting the supervisor process

8.3.3. Child specification

8.3.4. Wrapping the Supervisor

8.3.5. Using a callback module

8.3.6. Linking all processes

8.3.7. Restart frequency

8.4. Summary

9. Isolating error effects

9.1. Supervision trees

9.1.1. Separating loosely dependent parts

9.1.2. Rich process discovery

9.1.3. Via tuples

9.1.4. Registering database workers

9.1.5. Supervising database workers

9.1.6. Organizing the supervision tree

9.2. Starting processes dynamically

9.2.1. Registering to-do servers

9.2.2. Dynamic supervision

9.2.3. Finding to-do servers

9.2.4. Using temporary restart strategy

9.2.5. Testing the system

9.3. �Let it crash�

9.3.1. Error kernel

9.3.2. Handling expected errors

9.3.3. Preserving the state

9.4. Summary

10. ETS tables

10.1. Single-process bottleneck

10.2. Basic operations

10.3. ETS powered key-value store

10.4. Other ETS operations

10.4.1. Match patterns

10.4.2. Other use cases for ETS

10.4.3. Beyond ETS

10.5. Exercise: Process registry

10.6. Summary

Part 3: Production

11. Working with components

11.1. OTP applications

11.1.1. Creating applications with the mix tool

11.1.2. The application behaviour

11.1.3. Starting the application

11.1.4. Library applications

11.1.5. Creating a to-do application

11.1.6. The application folder structure

11.2. Working with dependencies

11.2.1. Adding a dependency

11.2.2. Adapting the pool

11.2.3. Visualizing the system

11.3. Building a web server

11.3.1. Choosing dependencies

11.3.2. Starting the server

11.3.3. Handling requests

11.3.4. Reasoning about the system

11.4. Configuring applications

11.4.1. Application environment

11.4.2. Varying configuration

11.5. Summary

12. Building a distributed system

12.1. Distribution primitives

12.1.1. Starting a cluster

12.1.2. Communicating between nodes

12.1.3. Process discovery

12.1.5. Other distribution services

12.2. Building a fault-tolerant cluster

12.2.1. Cluster design

12.2.2. The distributed to-do cache

12.2.3. Implementing a replicated database

12.2.4. Testing the system

12.2.5. Detecting partitions

12.2.6. Highly available systems

12.3. Network considerations

12.3.1. Node names

12.3.2. Cookies

12.3.3. Hidden nodes

12.3.4. Firewalls

12.4. Summary

13. Running the system

13.1. Running a system with Elixir tools

13.1.1. Using mix and elixir commands

13.1.2. Running scripts

13.1.3. Compiling for production

13.2. OTP releases

13.2.1. Building a release with distillery

13.2.2. Using a release

13.2.3. Release contents

13.3. Analyzing system behavior

13.3.1. Debugging

13.3.2. Logging

13.3.3. Interacting with the system

13.3.4. Tracing

13.4. Summary

About the Technology

Elixir is a modern programming language used for building bulletproof distributed server systems that can handle massive numbers of simultaneous clients and run with almost no downtime. The language is approachable and expressive, allowing you to start building your systems quickly and move forward at a steady pace. Powered by BEAM, the Erlang virtual machine, Elixir provides the first class support for massive concurrency, which helps you deal with complex challenges at large scale.

About the book

Elixir in Action, Second Edition teaches you how to use the Elixir programming language to solve the practical problems of scalability, fault tolerance, and high availability. You'll start with the language, learning basic constructs and building blocks. Then, you'll explore relevant examples that expose the benefits of Elixir's functional programming mindset. With that solid foundation, you'll confidently discover Elixir's seamless integration with the Erlang BEAM VM and its powerful OTP framework. To top things off, this book also provides guidance on how to distribute a system over multiple machines and control it in production!

This new edition is fully updated to cover Elixir 1.6 with new and improved code examples. Every chapter has been revised to include the latest best practices and tools used professionally in the Elixir world.

What's inside

  • A practical introduction to Elixir
  • Updated for Elixir 1.6
  • Functional and concurrent programming idioms
  • Mastering the OTP framework
  • Creating deployable releases

About the reader

Requires no previous experience with Elixir, Erlang, or OTP. Written for readers who are familiar with another programming language like Ruby, JavaScript, or C#.

About the author

Saša Jurić is a developer with extensive experience using Elixir and Erlang in complex server-side systems.