From Ruby to Elixir (PragProg)

Stephen Bussey @sb8244

edited by Jacquelyn Carter @jkcarter

Elixir will change the way you think about programming. Use your Ruby experience to quickly get up to speed so you can see what all of the buzz is about. Go from zero to production applications that are reliable, fast, and scalable. Learn Elixir syntax and pattern matching to conquer the basics. Then move onto Elixir’s unique process model that offers a world-class way to go parallel without fear. Finally, use the most common libraries like Ecto, Phoenix, and Oban to build a real-world SMS application. Now’s the time. Dive in and learn Elixir.

Whether you’re a seasoned Ruby developer looking to expand your skill set or a programming beginner looking for a solid foundation in Elixir, this book has what you need to get up to speed quickly. Elixir is a functional language with a fairly small footprint. This makes it easier to learn and put into production than other languages. Plus, it’s built on forty-year-old foundations that give your applications rock-solid stability.

The first part of this book is all about developing expertise in the language. Learn about the core data types, build application data structures, enumerate over data, and use pattern matching to control the flow of an application. Elixir has an amazing process model that allows for (actually) easy parallel processing. Learn how to tap into this process model so you can leverage that power yourself.

The second part of this book builds a real-world application using the most important libraries in a web developer’s toolbox. Each library is compared to its similar Ruby library so you’ll quickly see similarities and differences. We’ll use Ecto, Phoenix, and Oban to build a SMS application powered by Twilio.

What are you waiting for? Tap into your Ruby knowledge and start building scalable Elixir applications today.

Steve Bussey is a software architect turned startup founder. He led the introduction of Elixir to an all-Ruby team, resulting in successful adoption of Elixir. He wrote Real-Time Phoenix, which teaches readers how to build scalable real-time Elixir applications. Steve is passionate about sharing Elixir due to the positive impact it has had on how he designs and develops applications.

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Nice to see Oban and Tesla make appearances in a book.


Hi folks, author here!

My journey is Ruby → Elixir (well, some things before that as well). I struggled a bit the first few times I tried to get into Elixir (despite the fantastic guides and docs). I just couldn’t connect A → B to see how to actually connect the dots.

This book connects back to terms and tools I already would have known about (from my Ruby background) in order to help others adopt Elixir faster.

I take the approach of splitting up theory and practice in my books. Part 1 is in the beta and 95% complete. It has all of the theory and what you’d need to read / write Elixir programs. Part 2 is in the works (1 chapter out) and will be using common libraries to build an SMS app.


Is this book useful for someone who does not know any Ruby at all?

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I’d say so. There are comparisons to Ruby made throughout, but it’s not like every code snippet is compared directly to Ruby (which would take up a ton of the book).

The book starts at ground zero in Elixir, no language experience at all. It builds up reading and writing Elixir before going into a larger project that focuses on how to use libraries.

Consider it my approach at teaching Elixir to beginners, except it’s bringing in a bit of the experiences that a Rubyist would be familiar with.


Congrats on your second book Stephen! :partying_face: I am sure lots of people will find it useful, especially if it includes “Rails to Phoenix” in it as well… or maybe that could be your third book :lol:


I am currently on the opposite journey (Elixir → Ruby and Phoenix → Rails) and am having so struggles too. I’ll be approaching your book with a more inversed out approach.

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Ahem :wink: