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Common Mistakes to Avoid in Erlang Assignments: Tips from the Experts

June 03, 2023
Robert Covington
Robert Covington
United States of America
Robert Covington, an expert Erlang programmer, and educator with 9 years of experience in computer science and a Ph.D. from Columbia University, is enthusiastic about imparting his Erlang programming knowledge.

The powerful programming language Erlang is renowned for being scalable and fault-tolerant. It is frequently used in fields like telecommunications where high availability and dependability are essential. Assignments in Erlang, like those in any other programming language, can be difficult, and students frequently blunder while working on them. In this blog, we'll look at a few of these typical errors and offer helpful advice from professionals to help you avoid mistakes in Erlang assignments. So let's get started and learn how to approach Erlang assignments the right way.

Mistake 1: Neglecting to Understand Erlang's Concurrency Model

Erlang's lightweight concurrency model, which enables the execution of multiple processes at once, is one of its core features. However, a lot of students frequently disregard how crucial it is to comprehend this model and fail to fully utilize its potential. Learn about Erlang's concurrency concepts, such as processes, message passing, and selective receive, in order to prevent making this error. Your ability to design scalable and more effective Erlang solutions will depend on your understanding of how these components interact.

Lack of Understanding in Process Creation and Management

One error that students frequently make is not fully understanding how to create and manage processes in Erlang. Erlang uses lightweight, isolated processes and adheres to the "let it crash" philosophy. To ensure fault tolerance and resilience in your Erlang assignments, it is essential to comprehend how to effectively create and manage processes. It's important to keep in mind that supervisors can be used to keep track of processes and gracefully handle errors when developing robust Erlang applications.

Inefficient Use of Pattern Matching and Guards


Erlang's robust pattern matching and guard features make it possible to efficiently match and filter data. However, students frequently abuse or underuse these features, resulting in difficult-to-read and maintaining code. Learn pattern matching and guards thoroughly so that your code will be much simpler and more expressive. Your Erlang programs will run more efficiently if you use these features properly.

Lack of Testing and Error Handling

Any programming language must have testing and error handling, and Erlang is no different. In their assignments, students frequently fail to perform adequate testing and error handling, resulting in code that is prone to bugs and is challenging to debug. To ensure the accuracy of your code, always create thorough test cases and run thorough testing. In order to gracefully handle unforeseen circumstances, implement strong error-handling mechanisms using try-catch blocks and error logging.

Poor Understanding of OTP (Open Telecom Platform)

A framework for creating scalable and fault-tolerant applications is provided by the OTP set of Erlang libraries and design principles. Many students have trouble comprehending and using OTP in their assignments in an efficient manner. Spend time learning the essential elements of OTP, such as supervisors, gen_servers, and event handlers, to avoid making this error. You can create more dependable and maintainable Erlang solutions if you understand OTP.

Mistake 2: Ignoring Code Optimization and Performance Tuning

Despite Erlang's excellent fault tolerance and concurrency, ignoring code optimization and performance tuning can result in ineffective solutions. Students frequently undervalue the value of code optimization, which leads to subpar performance and resource waste. Learn about performance optimization methods and profiling tools for Erlang to prevent making this error. Improve the effectiveness of your Erlang assignments by analyzing your code, locating bottlenecks, and implementing the appropriate optimizations.

Inefficient Data Structures and Algorithms

The performance of your code in Erlang can be significantly impacted by the data structures and algorithms you choose. Students frequently use inefficient data structures or algorithms without taking their efficiency into account. Use the

It is time to comprehend the traits and performance trade-offs of various Erlang data structures and algorithms. Use effective data structures like maps, sets, and queues, and apply algorithms that are appropriate for the domain of your particular problem.

Lack of Process Monitoring and Tracing

For diagnosing and troubleshooting problems in your code, monitoring and tracing processes in Erlang is essential. However, students frequently ignore this fact and neglect to put in place suitable monitoring and tracing procedures. Use the built-in Erlang tools, such as observer and dbg, to track and monitor your processes while developing and debugging. These tools will give you insightful information about the operation and behavior of your Erlang applications.

Suboptimal Memory Management

Memory deallocation and allocation are handled automatically by Erlang's garbage collector. However, because of poor memory management techniques, students occasionally experience memory-related problems. Understanding Erlang's memory management mechanisms, such as processes' memory layouts and garbage collection algorithms, is crucial to preventing these issues. Create your code to make the most efficient use of memory, avoid duplicating data, and minimize memory usage.

Mistake 3: Lack of Code Documentation and Readability

Erlang assignments must have clean, well-documented code in order to be understood and maintained. Students frequently undervalue the value of writing clear, proper documentation for their code. Make it a habit to effectively document your code, including at the function and module levels. To make your code easier to read, give your variables and functions meaningful names and include comments. Not only will well-documented code assist you during development, but it will also make it simpler for others to comprehend and work with you on your Erlang projects.

Absence of Function and Module Documentation

Erlang's function and module-level documentation are essential for explaining the intent and usage of the code. Functions and modules that are not documented make it difficult for users to understand the intended behavior of the code, including yourself. Always provide thorough documentation for every function, outlining the function's goal, inputs, outputs, and any unique usage restrictions. Similarly, offer module-level documentation that provides a summary of the functionality of the module and how it relates to other modules.

Poor Code Structure and Modularization

For readability and maintainability, it is essential to organize the code into logical modules and functions. Students frequently create code that is duplicated and poorly structured. Follow the concepts of modularization and separation of concerns to avoid making this error. Separate your code into coherent modules, each of which is in charge of a single functionality. To prevent code duplication and encourage code reuse throughout your Erlang assignments, create reusable functions and libraries.

Lack of Code Comments and Annotations

You and others can better understand the code's logic and intentions by using the helpful hints and explanations provided by code comments. Students occasionally omit comments or provide insufficient ones, which makes it more difficult to understand the code. Make it a habit to include annotations and comments whenever necessary, especially for complicated algorithms, edge cases, or unconventional implementation strategies. The purpose of the code should be made clear in the comments, along with the thought process and any additional context for future use.

Remember that you can improve the quality, dependability, and maintainability of your code by staying away from these common errors in Erlang assignments and implementing best practices. You can also get expert advice from Erlang assignment help services to help you get past these obstacles. So take advantage of this expert advice and improve your Erlang programming abilities!

Mistake 4: Insufficient Understanding of OTP Design Principles

A set of design guidelines and libraries are offered by the Erlang OTP (Open Telecom Platform) framework for creating dependable and scalable applications. However, many students have trouble understanding the fundamental ideas and are unable to use OTP to its full potential in their assignments. Learn more about the design tenets of OTP, such as supervision trees, behaviors, and event handlers, to prevent making this error. You can structure your Erlang projects in a way that encourages fault tolerance, code reuse, and maintainability by being aware of these principles.

Lack of Supervision and Fault-Tolerant Design

OTP's core concept of supervision enables you to control and keep an eye on processes, ensuring fault tolerance and resilience in your applications. Students frequently undervalue the significance of employing supervision trees and creating fault-tolerant applications. When working on Erlang assignments, be sure to establish a hierarchy that gracefully handles failures and define the proper supervisors for your processes. You can develop reliable Erlang solutions that can recover from errors by adhering to fault-tolerant design principles.

Underutilization of OTP Behaviors

Common patterns in Erlang applications can be implemented uniformly using OTP behaviors like gen_server, gen_fsm, and gen_event. Unfortunately, rather than taking advantage of the advantages that these behaviors offer, students frequently underuse them and invent new methods. Learn about the various OTP behaviors and the scenarios in which they are intended to be used. You can make your code more efficient, improve code maintainability, and follow tried-and-true design patterns by using these behaviors.

Inadequate Error Handling with OTP Supervisors

OTP supervisors manage errors and restart stopped processes in addition to monitoring processes. However, occasionally, students misconfigure supervisors or fail to handle error scenarios correctly. Learn about the various restart strategies offered by OTP supervisors, such as one_for_one and one_for_all, and choose the best one based on the demands of your application. Maintain the stability of your Erlang assignments by making sure that your supervisors are set up to handle errors effectively, preventing cascading failures.

Neglecting Hot Code Upgrades with OTP Release Handling

The ability to perform hot code upgrades, which enables you to update your Erlang applications without preventing them from running, is one of the powerful features of OTP. The advantages of seamless upgrades are frequently overlooked by students, though. Learn about the ideas behind OTP release handling, such as handling code upgrades and managing version compatibility. You can update your Erlang applications while they are running by using hot code upgrades, minimizing downtime, and improving user experience.

Mistake 5: Inefficient Resource Management

Erlang relies on effective resource management to guarantee top performance and effective use of system resources. However, many students fail to take into account this fact and manage resources poorly when completing their assignments. Pay attention to resource-intensive operations like file I/O, network communication, and database interactions to avoid making this error. To effectively manage resource-intensive tasks, use Erlang's built-in mechanisms like asynchronous message passing and selective receive. To avoid resource leaks and improve the performance of your Erlang applications, implement appropriate resource cleanup and release mechanisms.

Inefficient File Handling

Erlang assignments frequently involve handling files, but bad file management can result in problems like data corruption or file descriptor leaks. Students frequently forget how important it is to close files after using them or don't know how to handle file-related errors. Make sure you adhere to best practices for file handling, such as correct opening and closing of files, handling of errors, and file locking when required. Utilizing effective file-handling techniques will help you conserve resources and keep the integrity of your data.

Suboptimal Network Communication

Erlang is a good choice for tasks requiring network communication because of its lightweight processes and message-passing capabilities. However, when writing assignments, students occasionally forget how crucial network communication optimization is. Consider variables like message size, message buffering, and network latency when working with distributed systems or network protocols. To enhance network communication and guarantee effective data transfer between nodes, use Erlang's distribution mechanisms, such as distributed Erlang or external libraries like Ranch.

Improper Database Interaction

Many Erlang assignments frequently call for database interaction. However, when it comes to effective database interaction, students frequently make mistakes. Use appropriate connection pooling strategies when working with databases, such as Erlang's poolboy library, to efficiently manage database connections. Utilize indexes, batch processes, and implement appropriate transaction handling to optimize database queries. These procedures will reduce database interaction overhead and enhance the efficiency of your Erlang assignments.

You can improve your proficiency with Erlang assignments by avoiding these common errors and implementing the suggested tips. Never forget to ask for Erlang assignment help if you require additional assistance or direction. You'll be on the right track to success in your Erlang programming endeavors if you gain a thorough understanding of the distinctive features of Erlang, make use of OTP's strong capabilities, and practice effective resource management.


In conclusion, completing Erlang assignments can be difficult, but by avoiding common errors and heeding professional advice, you can greatly raise your success rate. Scalability and maintainability of code can be improved by being aware of Erlang's concurrency model, managing processes, and utilizing features like pattern matching, guards, and OTP design principles. Reliability and resilience require thorough testing, error handling, and the appropriate application of OTP's supervisors and behaviors. Efficiency and scalability depend heavily on code optimization, performance tuning, and effective resource management, including memory handling, data structure choice, and hot code upgrades. Furthermore, putting a focus on documentation, code readability, and following best practices ensures efficient teamwork and code maintenance. You can improve your Erlang programming abilities and create solid solutions by implementing these suggestions, getting help with your Erlang assignments when necessary, and taking a proactive approach to assignments. To excel at your Erlang assignments and utilize the full potential of this potent programming language, keep practicing, look for learning opportunities constantly, and take advantage of the support services that are offered.