Phoenix in Action
Geoffrey Lessel
  • MEAP began November 2017
  • Publication in Summer 2018 (estimated)
  • ISBN 9781617295041
  • 350 pages (estimated)
  • printed in black & white
Phoenix is a modern web framework built for the Elixir programming language. Elegant, fault-tolerant, and performant, Phoenix is as easy to use as Rails and as rock-solid as Elixir's Erlang-based foundation. Phoenix in Action builds on your existing web dev skills, teaching you the unique benefits of Phoenix along with just enough Elixir to get the job done.

"This book gives an excellent step by step introduction to Phoenix."

~ Samuel Bosch

"A really good book to learn about the Phoenix framework."

~ Anon

"An incredible book that opens the doors to the world of functional programming."

~ Luis Miguel Cabezas Granado

Table of Contents detailed table of contents

Part 1

1. Ride the Phoenix

1.1. Along Comes Phoenix

1.1.1. What is Phoenix?

1.2. Elixir And Phoenix Versus the Alternatives

1.2.1. Real-time Communication

1.2.2. Background Computation

1.2.3. Low Hardware Requirements / Low-cost Scaling

1.2.4. It’s Not All Roses

1.3. The Power of Elixir

1.3.1. Scalability

1.3.2. Supervision trees

1.3.3. Erlang VM

1.3.4. Macro and metaprogramming support

1.3.5. OTP

1.4. Functional vs OO Programming

1.4.1. Overview of Functional Programming

1.5. Summary

2. Intro to Elixir

2.1. The Basics

2.1.1. Basic Types

2.1.2. A Small Detour Into Functions

2.1.3. Data Type Details

2.1.4. Back to Modules and Named Functions

2.2. Other Idiomatic Elixir Language Features

2.2.1. The Pipe Operator

2.2.2. Pattern Matching

2.2.3. Using IEx.Helpers.v/1

2.3. Going Deeper

2.3.1. On the Web

2.3.2. Books

2.3.3. Community

2.4. Summary

3. A Little Phoenix Overview

3.1. Follow the Data

3.1.1. The Basics of a Web Request

3.1.2. Endpoint

3.1.3. Router

3.1.4. Controller


3.1.6. Templates

3.2. Putting It All Together

3.3. Summary

Part 2

4. Phoenix is Not Your Application—​Just a Boundary

5. Let’s Transform Some Data

6. Getting Outside Help

7. Be Persistent

8. Changes Are Coming

9. Bring in Phoenix

10. Your Data in the Browser

11. Becoming Accepting

Part 3

12. Building an API

13. Real-time updates with channels

14. Testing

15. Deploying

16. Distributed?

About the Technology

Phoenix is a web framework for the Elixir language. Phoenix applications are blazingly fast, and as a developer you'll appreciate the attention to detail in the framework design that makes you super-productive almost immediately. In particular, Phoenix channels provide an easy way to set up and manage real-time communication. Phoenix runs on the battle-tested Erlang virtual machine, so your apps are guaranteed to be rock-solid.

About the book

Phoenix in Action is an example-based tutorial that teaches you how to use the Phoenix framework to build production-quality web apps. Following a running example of an online auction site, you'll design and build everything from the core components that drive the app to the real-time user interactions where Phoenix really shines. You'll handle business logic, database interactions, and app designs that take advantage of functional programming as you discover a better way to develop web applications. And if you're brand new to Elixir, don't worry! You'll find a Phoenix-oriented tour of the language, along with careful explanations, tips, and coding idioms scattered throughout the example code.

What's inside

  • A complete online auction example developed throughout
  • Database interactions with Ecto
  • Using Channels for real-time communication
  • Functional ideas in a web environment
  • An introduction to the Elixir programming language

About the reader

Written for web developers familiar with a framework like Rails or ASP.NET. No experience of Elixir or Phoenix required.

About the author

Geoffrey Lessel has been a web developer for over 15 years—first with PHP and Perl and now with Ruby on Rails and Phoenix. He has spoken at ElixirConf and blogs about Elixir and Ecto at

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