Elixir: The General Purpose Programming Language

by Sharon Peter

on May 28, 2019

Elixir is a functional, dynamic general-purpose language, designed for developing scalable and maintainable applications with a simple, modern and tidy syntax. Elixir is designed to run in Erlang Virtual Machine(also known as BEAM) and is first introduced in 2012.

Elixir was developed by a ruby developer and so the language has the benefits of both Erlang and Ruby. Its syntax is very similar to Ruby and thus it provides access to all the features of the Erlang system.

One of the main benefits of Elixir is that it doesn’t serve any particular niche. Together with Phoenix Framework (web development framework written in Elixir which is also used for Elixir programming), Elixir can be used to build applications for any industry.


  • Concurrency: Ability to run multiple processes simultaneously, independent of one another.
  • Scalability: Lightweight and easy to test, and its efficient use of machine resources makes vertical scaling easier to achieve.
  • Productivity: Speed, clean syntax and scaling of the application, overall makes it very productive.
  • Reliability: Lightweight concurrency utilizing Erlang’s battle-proven programming language, with the same reliability, promises to Elixir.
  • Speed: Elixir apps can respond in microseconds to web requests.
  • Clean Syntax: Makes the code easy to write and read.
  • Fault-tolerance: When parts of software do go away, supervisors within Elixir allow those parts of the software system to restart and get back to working order.

What type of projects can adopt Elixir Development?

  • Concurrency
  • Low latency
  • A lot of traffic
  • Scalability
  • A distributed system like Blockchain projects
  • Embedded system like IoT projects
  • Real-time applications like instant messaging, chatting, video chatting, financial apps, etc…

Recent reports say that the switch from Ruby on Rails to Elixir has led it to reduce its number of required servers, and handle eight times more traffic. In short, spreading big software systems over several nodes is what makes Elixir and other BEAM languages stand out. The advantages of Elixir programming are very impressive, and its positions are strong enough to make it clear that it will not disappear off the radar.

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