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Clojure vs Erlang

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Introduction

Clojure and Erlang are programming languages that are used for Web Development. In this article, we are going to briefly take a look at both Clojure and Erlang as well as their advantages and limitations. We will also discuss Clojure vs Erlang to get a better insight.

Clojure vs Erlang

 

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What is Clojure

Clojure is an interactive dynamic, general-purpose language used in scripting and development. It is strong and provides efficient ways to support multithreading.

Clojure

Clojure is a compiled language. It supports all its functionalities during runtime and makes it truly dynamic. Due to its dynamic nature, it is easy to access in Java Frameworks with optional type hints and type interfaces.

Clojure is a functional programming language. It has persistent and unchangeable data structures. It also offers a  reactive agent system and software transactional memory when a mutable state is required to make clean and correct multithreaded designs.

Advantages of Clojure

  • Clojure is a High-Level dynamic Language. It is based on a programming language called LISP(List Processing). The dynamic nature of the language allows it to run on a runtime environment of .Net and Java.
     
  • LISP is a tiny programming language providing powerful elements. Due to this, the coding in it is smaller.
     
  • It consists of unchangeable data structures, and thus objects created can not be changed.
     
  • Clojure manages the state of an application for the programmer.
     
  • Clojure supports concurrency. Eclipse Plugins and Leningen both have support for this language.

Limitations of Clojure

  • The primitives in Clojure are based on Java primitives. This leads to performance overhead during run time when the Java primitives have to be wrapped.
     
  • Exception handling in Clojure has to be done using Java Libraries. We must handle the exception in production-ready conditions to avoid the stack trace.
     
  • The compiler throws a Java stack error. Clojure is an interpreted language built over another runtime. It is hard to determine whether the error is due to a problem in Clojure or Java.
     
  • Clojure has a complex set of rules and therefore is hard to learn.
     
  • Clojure does not have a mainstream editor. It only has a prototype of an editor based on RPEL. It is called Light Table. The Light Table has a small ecosystem of plugins and can be used to cover large projects only.
     
  • Paraedit supplies an ideal experience for LISP programming. It is hard to structure the code unless it is written on Paraedit.
     
  • Closure does not support static and explicit typing. This makes prototyping tough and also slower.
     
  • Few users utilize Clojure; thus, very few libraries and frameworks are available for everyday tasks.
     

We will comprehensively discuss the similarities and differences between Clojure and Erlang in the Clojure vs Erlang section.

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What is Erlang

Erlang is a general-purpose language. It is oriented towards building more scalable systems with high availability and concurrent nature.

Erlang

Erlang has a process-based computing model. It uses lightweight processes that are isolated from each other. They can also communicate with each other through messages.

Erlang follows the Actor Model. The processes receive messages from different processes and, in response, create new processes, modify states and pass on messages.

Advantages of Erlang

Erlang has three main benefits over other programming languages. This is mainly due to the special build manner of the language.

  • Concurrency: Erlang virtual machines use threads (lightweight processed). These are separated in nature, run across all the CPUs, and speak with each other through messages. Due to this and the functional nature of the language, it is easier to write concurrent programs in Erlang.
     
  • Scalability: Erlang is well suited to the distributed nature of multicore CPUs and modern computing. Erlang's processes quickly scale applications by adding more cores and devices.
     
  • Reliability: Erlang has a unique approach to fault tolerance. The lightweight process has a small overhead and can be fast restarted by computer systems. This helps in building systems that are self-healing. This might not always be the most loyal of ways. Still, it can fix most errors not caused by big mistakes in implementation.

Limitations of Erlang

  • Erlang is hard to deploy. It is tough to deploy Erlang applications for new developers.
     
  • Due to its nature, the debugging practices in Erlang are tough.
     
  • Erlang is not a popular language and has limited communities. There are very few Erlang Developers.
     

We will comprehensively discuss the differences between Clojure and Erlang in the Clojure vs Erlang section.

Clojure vs Erlang

Below is the comparison of Clojure vs Erlang. There are numerous differentiation factors. However, these ones stand out the most in a study of Clojure vs Erlang.

Clojure

Erlang

Clojure supports many concurrency models, such as Agents (similar to Actos). Refs(these have ACI transactional semantics),  Atoms (have atomic updates). Erlang supports only one concurrency model, which is Actors.
It is designed for machines with many cores.It is designed for distributed machines across many machines.
It is not designed to hot-swap modules completely in running production systems.It is designed to hot-swap modules completely in running production systems.
Closure threads are JVM threads that are usually operating system threads.Erlang has a lightweight thread model that is unique to itself.


Features of Clojure and Erlang:

Features

Clojure

Erlang

High level Constructs

No

Yes

Functional Programming

Yes

Yes

Distributed Computation

Yes

Yes

Efficient Scalability

Yes

Yes

Concurrent Programming

Yes

Yes

Hot Swap

No

Yes

JVM Thread

Yes

No

Inbuilt Fault Tolerance

No

Yes

Dynamic Development

Yes

Yes

Runtime Polymorphism

Yes

No

LISP

Yes

No

Frequently Asked Questions

What is Scalability?

Scalability can be defined as the ability to handle the growing amount of load on the system. This can be due to an increase in its user base or addition of new functionality.

What are Distributed Systems?

A system where computers connected in a network can be utilized as one single entity to carry out tough processed and distribute tasks is called a Distributed System.

What is Fault tolerance?

Fault Tolerance is the ability of a system to continue operating without any interruption when one or more of its components fail.

What are some popular fields where Erlang is used?

Erlang can be used for developing Chat Applications, Blockchain Systems, Message Queues, Binary Systems, and other High Computing Distributed Systems.

What are some popular fields where Clojure is used?

Clojure is used to create Desktop and Web-Based Applications. A library called see-saw can be used to create Desktop applications in Clojure.

Conclusion

In this article, we briefly discussed what is Closure and Erlang, along with their advantages and limitations. We also discussed key differences between Clojure and Erlang. 

Ultimately, we can conclude that both Clojure and Erlang have advantages and disadvantages. Erlang is generally used when multiple machines work together to complete a task. Whereas, Clojure is used where we have a single multicore machine. 

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