Elixir (programming language)

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elixir programming language
Paradigmmulti-paradigm: functional, concurrent, distributed, process-oriented
First appeared2012; 10 years ago (2012)
Stable release
1.12[1] Edit this on Wikidata / 19 May 2021; 8 months ago (19 May 2021)
Typing disciplinedynamic, strong, duck
LicenseApache License 2.0[2]
Filename extensions.ex, .exs
Influenced by
Clojure, Erlang, Ruby

Elixir is a functional, concurrent, general-purpose programming language that runs on the BEAM virtual machine which is also used to implement the Erlang programming language.[3] Elixir builds on top of Erlang and shares the same abstractions for building distributed, fault-tolerant applications. Elixir also provides productive tooling and an extensible design. The latter is supported by compile-time metaprogramming with macros and polymorphism via protocols.[4]

Elixir is used by companies such as PagerDuty,[5] Discord,[6] Brex,[7] E-MetroTel,[8] Pinterest,[9] Moz,[10] Bleacher Report,[11] The Outline,[12] Inverse,[13] Divvy,[14] FarmBot[15] and for building embedded systems.[16][17] The community organizes yearly events in the United States,[18] Europe[19] and Japan[20] as well as minor local events and conferences.[21][22]


José Valim is the creator of the Elixir programming language, a research and development project created at Plataformatec. His goals were to enable higher extensibility and productivity in the Erlang VM while keeping compatibility with Erlang's ecosystem.[23][24]

José Valim aimed to create a programming language for large-scale sites and apps. Being a Ruby developer, he used features of Ruby, Erlang, and Clojure to develop a high-concurrency and low-latency language. Elixir was designed to handle large data volumes. Its speed and capabilities spread Elixir in telecommunication, eCommerce, and finance industries.[25]

On July 12, 2018, Honeypot released a mini-documentary on Elixir.[26]


Elixir mostly[27] follows semantic versioning and has only 1 major version with no plans for a second. Each of the minor versions supports a specific range of Erlang/OTP versions.[28]



The following examples can be run in an iex shell or saved in a file and run from the command line by typing elixir <filename>.

Classic Hello world example:

iex> IO.puts("Hello World!")
Hello World!


iex> for n <- [1,2,3,4,5], rem(n, 2) == 1, do: n*n
[1, 9, 25]

Pattern Matching (destructuring)

iex> [1, a] = [1, 2]
iex> a

iex> {:ok, [hello: a]} = {:ok, [hello: "world"]}
iex> a

Pattern Matching (multiple clauses)

iex> case File.read("path/to/file") do
iex>   {:ok, contents} -> IO.puts("found file: #{contents}")
iex>   {:error, reason} -> IO.puts("missing file: #{reason}")
iex> end

Pipe Operator

iex> "1" |> String.to_integer() |> Kernel.*(2)


defmodule Fun do
  def fib(0), do: 0
  def fib(1), do: 1
  def fib(n), do: fib(n-2) + fib(n-1)  

Sequentially spawning a thousand processes

for num <- 1..1000, do: spawn fn -> IO.puts("#{num * 2}") end

Asynchronously performing a task

task = Task.async fn -> perform_complex_action() end
Task.await task

Noteworthy Elixir projects[edit]

  • Mix is a build automation tool that provides tasks for creating, compiling, and testing Elixir projects, managing its dependencies, and more.[33]
  • Phoenix is a web development framework written in Elixir which implements the server-side Model View Controller (MVC) pattern.[34]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ https://elixir-lang.org/blog/2021/05/19/elixir-v1-12-0-released/.
  2. ^ "elixir/LICENSE at master · elixir-lang/elixir · GitHub". GitHub.
  3. ^ "Most Popular Programming Languages of 2018 - Elite Infoworld Blog". 2018-03-30. Retrieved 2018-05-08.
  4. ^ "Elixir". José Valim. Retrieved 2013-02-17.
  5. ^ "Elixir at PagerDuty". PagerDuty. 2018-06-14. Retrieved 2019-04-21.
  6. ^ Vishnevskiy, Stanislav (Jul 6, 2017). "How Discord Scaled Elixir to 5,000,000 Concurrent Users". Retrieved 2019-04-21.
  7. ^ Valim, José (2020-06-23). "Elixir at fintech with Brex". elixir-lang.github.com. Retrieved 2020-11-14.
  8. ^ "What's New in Release 6.0 | Documentation". www.emetrotel.com. Retrieved 2019-04-21.
  9. ^ "Introducing new open-source tools for the Elixir community". Retrieved 2016-08-01.
  10. ^ "Unlocking New Features in Moz Pro with a Database-Free Architecture". Retrieved 2016-08-01.
  11. ^ "Elixir". Bleacher Report Engineering. Retrieved 2019-05-22.
  12. ^ Lucia, Dave (Sep 24, 2018). "Two years of Elixir at The Outline". Retrieved 2019-05-22.
  13. ^ "What big projects use Elixir?". Retrieved 2016-08-01.
  14. ^ "Why Divvy uses Elixir instead of more popular coding languages". 2 April 2019. Retrieved 2019-04-30.
  15. ^ The operating system and all related software that runs on FarmBot's Raspberry Pi.: FarmBot/farmbot_os, FarmBot, 2019-10-28, retrieved 2019-10-29
  16. ^ "Elixir in production interview: Garth Hitchens". 3 June 2015. Retrieved 2016-08-01.
  17. ^ "Nerves - Craft and deploy bulletproof embedded software in Elixir". Retrieved 2016-08-01.
  18. ^ "ElixirConf". Retrieved 2018-07-11.
  19. ^ "ElixirConf". Retrieved 2018-07-11.
  20. ^ "Erlang & Elixir Fest". Retrieved 2019-02-18.
  21. ^ "Elixir LDN". Retrieved 2018-07-12.
  22. ^ "EMPEX - Empire State Elixir Conference". Retrieved 2018-07-12.
  23. ^ Elixir - A modern approach to programming for the Erlang VM. Retrieved 2013-02-17.
  24. ^ José Valim - ElixirConf EU 2017 Keynote. Archived from the original on 2021-11-17. Retrieved 2017-07-14.
  25. ^ "Behinde the code: The One Who Created Elixir". Retrieved 2019-11-25.
  26. ^ "Elixir: A Mini-Documentary". Retrieved 2021-10-30.
  27. ^ "Imperative Assignements are breaking the application in 1.7 update · Issue #8076 · elixir-lang/elixir". GitHub. Retrieved 2020-02-10.
  28. ^ Elixir is a dynamic, functional language designed for building scalable and maintainable applications: elixir-lang/elixir, Elixir, 2019-04-21, retrieved 2019-04-21
  29. ^ a b c d e f "Elixir". Retrieved 2014-09-07.
  30. ^ Loder, Wolfgang (12 May 2015). Erlang and Elixir for Imperative Programmers. "Chapter 16: Code Structuring Concepts", section title "Actor Model": Leanpub. Retrieved 7 July 2015.{{cite book}}: CS1 maint: location (link)
  31. ^ Wlaschin, Scott (May 2013). "Railway Oriented Programming". F# for Fun and Profit. Archived from the original on 30 January 2021. Retrieved 28 February 2021.
  32. ^ "Writing assertive code with Elixir". 24 September 2014. Retrieved 2018-07-05.
  33. ^ "Mix". Retrieved 2019-04-18.
  34. ^ "Overview". Retrieved 2019-04-18.

External links[edit]