When comparing Haxe vs Erlang, the Slant community recommends Haxe for most people. In the question“What is the best programming language to learn first?” Haxe is ranked 33rd while Erlang is ranked 34th. The most important reason people chose Haxe is:
Ranked in these QuestionsQuestion Ranking
Pro Compiles to multiple platforms and languages
Haxe allows you to develop for Web, iOS, Android, Blackberry, Windows, OSX, Linux and others, all at once, without the need to switch languages and maintain separate code bases.
Support for even more platforms and languages is under development.
Pro Powerfully expressive but easy to learn
The language was designed to be very expressive with the smallest possible amount of syntactic sugar. There are actually fewer keywords than other languages with similar power.
Pro Pick up errors at compile time
Pro First class code completion
Code completion is built into the compiler and available to the IDE allowing for much smarter code completion that can actually parse and understand the syntax tree.
Pro Code reuse server side and client side
You can use the same classes on the server as you do on the client where applicable. This saves a lot of time.
Pro Syntactic macros
Syntactic macros allow you to extend compiler features at the syntax tree step. Macros come into play after code is parsed into the abstract syntax tree, and macros allow you to transform it before the rest of the compilation completes.
This provides for immense power, while at the same time scoping the extensibility at a level that is powerful, but well constrained.
Pro Extremely fast compilation
Haxe can easily compile over 100,000 lines of code to JS in seconds on a mid-spec computer.
Pro Ability to use existing JS libraries
Haxe has the ability to use "externs". These are haxe files which describe the usage of existing JS libraries. Get code completion and compile-time-checking for everything from jQuery to Node.js.
Even without externs, native JS code can still be used through untyped code.
Pro Large library support. From servers to games.
Pro Small, readable output
The output that is generated can be trimmed using "dead code elimination" to only include those functions and libraries that are strictly necessary. All code is very readable with only minimal extras for specific functionality.
Small output is good for frontend development as file size is a major concern.
Pro Established project
Haxe has been around for more than 10 years (since 2005) and whilst not the most popular project, has had continuous growth.
Highly unlikely to disappear or for support to stop.
Pro Powerful type inference with strong typing
After a type is inferred from its context, it cannot be changed to a new type, and type safety is done at compile time so it stays safe without the extra maintenance required for static typing.
Pro Algebraic data types and pattern matching.
Pro Friendly community
Pro Offload execution to the server with remoting
Using a remoting proxy you can get type safe server to client communications, allowing for remote method execution on the server as if they were part of the client side code.
Pro Package management like Java
Package tree is just directory tree, it's wonderful!
Pro Available in NPM
Pro Builtin conditional compilation support
Haxe supports conditional compilation, so depending on compiler flags Haxe will include or exlcude sections of your code. Making it easy to have debug and release builds.
Pro Create without needing to be limited to a language, target, or commercial ecosystem
Pro Abstract enums allow constants with exhaustiveness check
You can define constants in an abstract enum and when used in a switch/case statement Haxe checks for exhaustiveness, making sure every constant is covered - with no runtime implication.
Pro Abstracts allows me to create more intative api's without runtime overhead
Pro Can create complex applications without needing webpack, npm or other crutches
Haxe has the power and expression to not need the npm dependancy hell that is common in js and typescript, bit it's still simple.
Pro Type safety for exísting JS libraries
Haxe compiler will check types when using externs for existing libraries.
Pro Ability to skip type checking when calling non Haxe code
You should use externs when calling non Haxe code, but if you just need to call one or two external JS functions, you can skip type checking by calling untyped code.
Pro Built from the ground up with concurrency and distributed computing in mind
Erlang has strong roots with the telecom industry in which concurrent processes are normal. It's designed to be concurrent, to be used for distributed computing and to be scalable.
Fault tolerance means that a system has the property to continue operating even though one or more components have failed.
For Erlang systems, this means that the system is kept running even if for example a user has to drop a phone call rather than forcing everyone else to do so.
In order to achieve this, Erlang's VM gives you:
- Knowledge of when a process died and why that happened
- The ability to force processes to die together if they depend on each other and if one of them has a fault.
- A logger that logs every uncaught exception
- Nodes that can be monitored so that you find out when they go down
- The ability to restart failed processes (or groups of them)
Pro Upgrade code without stopping the system
In a real-time system it may not be possible to stop the system in order to implement code upgrades. For these cases Erlang gives you dynamic code upgrade support for free when using OTP. The mechanism is very easy to understand and works as follows:
- Start the app
- Edit the code
That's all that is needed, the app updates with the new code while it's still running and tests are run automatically.
Pro Great for writing distributed applications
Erlang is made to be parallel and distributed. Because it's very easy to write code that uses multiple processor cores, it's also very easy to write applications that span multiple servers.
Pro Battle proven
Erlang has been used in production for more than 20 years now. During that time it has proven itself over and over again that works great in both small startups and large-scale enterprise systems.
Erlang has been used extensively by Ericsson themselves. For example, the AXD301 ATM, which is one of Ericsson's flagships is probably the largest Erlang project ever with more than 1.1 million lines of Erlang code.
Pro Light processes
Erlang's processes have very little overhead (about 500 bytes per process). This means that a huge amount of processes can be created, even on older machines.
Pro Consistency across platforms
Erlang's processes run in a complete independent way from the OS (they aren't managed by the OS scheduler neither). This means that programs written in Erlang will run exactly the same way regardless of the operating system or platform.
Some popular libs like JQuery have maintained externs, for any specific code or lib already in JS you have to write the externs to use it in your haxe application.
Con Bad support in some popular IDEs
While it has great support in Visual Studio Code and Vim for example, it still lacks support in some IDEs such as IntelliJ.
Con No Qt support
There is currently no support for Qt.
Con Full programs only
You can create small utility functions with Haxe, but generally it is a lot more work than with other JS compilers. Haxe is best used when you have a larger project.
Con It's not easy to convince people it's as good as it really is unless you can get them to really try it
Con Eccentric syntax
Erlang's syntax may feel very strange to 99% of programmers who have never used it. This is because it does not share any similarities or common syntax definitions that are found in all the other languages that are used today.
Con Useful in only one niche
Erlang is not really a general purpose language. It has a very special and well-defined niche where it towers above everything else. It's specialized in scalability and in distributed applications. Which is not necessarily a bad thing per se, but it still lacks and falls behind other languages when it needs to do things outside it's niche.