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Adopting Elixir: From Concept to Production


Cover image for Adopting Elixir

Adopting Elixir

From Concept to Production


Adoption is more than programming. Elixir is an exciting new language, but to successfully get your application from start to finish, you’re going to need to know more than just the language. You need the case studies and strategies in this book. Learn the best practices for the whole life of your application, from design and team-building, to managing stakeholders, to deployment and monitoring. Go beyond the syntax and the tools to learn the techniques you need to develop your Elixir application from concept to production.

Customer Reviews

Adopting Elixir is brilliant: a practical, no-frills guide for all teams who want to use Elixir and get it right the first time. All ideas completely overlap with my consulting experience and I’ll be sure to recommend it to all customers I work with.

- Claudio Ortolina

Consultant and Head of Elixir, Erlang Solutions Ltd.

Adopting Elixir is the comprehensive guide I only wish we, one of the earliest adopters of Elixir, had available years ago. Whether you are still considering Elixir or actively coding and scaling your team, this book distills the lessons we learned into a detailed and thorough adoption plan.

- David Marks

Senior Director of Engineering, Bleacher Report

Required reading for anyone considering or planning to use Elixir in production. It picks up where other books left off, with great higher-level discussions of development, deployment, and production.

- Saša Juric

Author of "Elixir in Action" and Developer at Aircloak, Aircloak

If you’re looking to bring Elixir into your organization, you will find no better source of information than the team who wrote this book. They’ve walked the walk of using Elixir in production from the earliest days of the language. They introduce a wide range of topics—from staffing to tricky technical bits like distributed Erlang. Then they give you the knowledge you need, at just the right level of detail, to make great decisions for your team.

- Lance Halvorsen

Senior Software Architect, Le Tote

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About this Title

Pages: 242
Published: 2018-03-14
Release: P1.0 (2018-03-14)
ISBN: 978-1-68050-252-7

Learn real-life strategies from the people who built Elixir and use it successfully at scale. See how Ben Marx and Bleacher Report maintain one of the highest-traffic Elixir applications by selling the concept to management and delivering on that promise. Find out how Bruce Tate and icanmakeitbetter hire and train Elixir engineers, and the techniques they’ve employed to design and ensure code consistency since Elixir’s early days. Explore customer challenges in deploying and monitoring distributed applications with Elixir creator José Valim and Plataformatec.

Make a business case and build a team before you finish your first prototype. Once you’re in development, form strategies for organizing your code and learning the constraints of the runtime and ecosystem. Convince stakeholders, both business and technical, about the value they can expect. Prepare to make the critical early decisions that will shape your application for years to come. Manage your deployment with all of the knobs and gauges that good DevOps teams demand. Decide between the many options available for deployment, and how to best prepare yourself for the challenges of running a production application.

This book picks up where most Elixir books leave off. It won’t teach you to program Elixir, or any of its tools. Instead, it guides you through the broader landscape and shows you a holistic approach to adopting the language.

What You Need

This book works with any version of Elixir.

Contents & Extracts

  • Introduction
  • Three Adoption Stories
    • icanmakeitbetter is Acquired
    • Bleacher Report Improves Performance and Reliability
    • Plataformatec Supports Early Adopters
    • Embracing End-To-End Adoption
    • Wrapping Up
  • Concept
    • Team Building
      • Training Developers
      • When Things Go Wrong
      • Hiring Elixir Developers
      • Conducting Interviews
      • Wrapping Up
    • Ensuring Code Consistency excerpt
      • Coding Standards
      • Typespecs and Dialyxir
      • Documentation
      • Tests and Code Coverage
      • Putting It All Together: Code Reviews
      • Wrapping Up
    • Legacy Systems and Dependencies
      • Replacing a Legacy Web App
      • Terraform and API Evolution
      • Moving Incremental Releases into Production
      • Umbrella Projects: Between Monoliths and Services
      • Managing Third-Party Dependencies
      • Wrapping Up
  • Development
    • Making the Functional Transition excerpt
      • Elixir vs. Mutable Objects
      • Polymorphism
      • Agents and Tasks
      • The Generic Server
      • Supervisors
      • Wrapping Up
    • Distributed Elixir
      • Remote Message Passing
      • Persistence Strategies
      • Finding Processes
      • Cache and ETS
      • Message Delivery Guarantees
      • Homogeneous vs. Heterogeneous Systems
      • Wrapping Up
    • Integrating with External Code
      • Lay of the Land
      • Strategy 1: Native Implemented Functions (NIFs)
      • Strategy 2: Communicating via I/O with Ports
      • Strategy 3: The Erlang Distribution Protocol
      • Wrapping Up
  • Production
    • Coordinating Deployments excerpt
      • Deploying with Mix
      • run_erl and heart
      • Releases
      • Upgrading Code
      • Distributed Erlang
      • Wrapping Up
    • Metrics and Performance Expectations
      • Instrumenting Your System
      • Instrumenting Ecto
      • Instrumenting Phoenix
      • Performance Assessment Workflow
      • Load Testing
      • Profiling
      • Benchmarking
      • Wrapping Up
    • Making Your App Production Ready
      • Logs and Errors
      • SASL Reports
      • Tracing
      • Using Other Advanced Tools
      • Wrapping Up


Ben Marx is a lead developer at Bleacher Report and one of the first to use Elixir at scale. José Valim is the creator of Elixir and a founder at Plataformatec. Bruce Tate is the CTO of, and the author of Programming Phoenix, Seven Languages in Seven Weeks, and more than ten other books.