Elixir (programming language)

Elixir is a functional, concurrent, general-purpose programming language that runs on the Erlang virtual machine (BEAM).[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]

Paradigmmulti-paradigm: functional, concurrent, distributed, process-oriented
First appeared2011 (2011)
Stable release
1.9.4 / 5 November 2019 (2019-11-05)[1]
Typing disciplinedynamic, strong, duck
LicenseApache License 2.0[2]
Filename extensions.ex, .exs
Influenced by
Clojure, Erlang, Ruby

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


José Valim is the creator of the Elixir programming language, a research and development project of Plataformatec. His goals were to enable higher extensibility and productivity in the Erlang VM while keeping compatibility with Erlang's ecosystem.[22][23]

José Valim aimed to create a programming language for large-scale sites and apps. Being a Ruby developer, he used the best 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. [24]

On July 12, 2018, Honeypot released a mini-documentary on Elixir.[25]


Elixir 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.[26]



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

  • Mix is a build automation tool that provides tasks for creating, compiling, and testing Elixir projects, managing its dependencies, and more.[30]
  • Phoenix is a web development framework written in Elixir which implements the server-side Model View Controller (MVC) pattern.[31]
  • Nerves is a platform, framework, and tooling environment for building embedded systems and devices.[16][32]
  • Ecto is the database wrapper and query generator for Elixir.[33]

See also


  1. "Releases - elixir-lang/elixir". Retrieved 5 November 2019 via GitHub.
  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. "What's New in Release 6.0 | Documentation". www.emetrotel.com. Retrieved 2019-04-21.
  8. "Introducing new open-source tools for the Elixir community". Retrieved 2016-08-01.
  9. "Unlocking New Features in Moz Pro with a Database-Free Architecture". Retrieved 2016-08-01.
  10. "Elixir". Bleacher Report Engineering. Retrieved 2019-05-22.
  11. Lucia, Dave (Sep 24, 2018). "Two years of Elixir at The Outline". Retrieved 2019-05-22.
  12. "What big projects use Elixir?". Retrieved 2016-08-01.
  13. "Why Divvy uses Elixir instead of more popular coding languages". Retrieved 2019-04-30.
  14. 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
  15. "Elixir in production interview: Garth Hitchens". Retrieved 2016-08-01.
  16. "Nerves - Craft and deploy bulletproof embedded software in Elixir". Retrieved 2016-08-01.
  17. "ElixirConf". Retrieved 2018-07-11.
  18. "ElixirConf". Retrieved 2018-07-11.
  19. "Erlang & Elixir Fest". Retrieved 2019-02-18.
  20. "Elixir LDN". Retrieved 2018-07-12.
  21. "EMPEX - Empire State Elixir Conference". Retrieved 2018-07-12.
  22. Elixir - A modern approach to programming for the Erlang VM. Retrieved 2013-02-17.
  23. José Valim - ElixirConf EU 2017 Keynote. Retrieved 2017-07-14.
  24. "Behinde the code: The One Who Created Elixir". Retrieved 2019-11-25.
  25. "Elixir: A Mini-Documentary". Retrieved 2018-07-12.
  26. Elixir is a dynamic, functional language designed for building scalable and maintainable applications: elixir-lang/elixir, Elixir, 2019-04-21, retrieved 2019-04-21
  27. "Elixir". Retrieved 2014-09-07.
  28. 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.
  29. "Writing assertive code with Elixir". Retrieved 2018-07-05.
  30. "Mix". Retrieved 2019-04-18.
  31. "Overview". Retrieved 2019-04-18.
  32. "Getting Started". Retrieved 2019-04-18.
  33. "Getting Started". Retrieved 2019-04-16.
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