Top websites built with Elixir and Phoenix
Some time ago, we have published an article with case studies of four major companies using Elixir in production. These companies were Bleacher Report, Discord, Moz and Pinterest. The list is definitely longer. Let's now take a look at some famous websites built with Elixir and Phoenix.
'A language needs some good companies behind it to thrive', I read in an old Elixir-themed thread on Reddit.
It is true. Just as products need to prove their worth by collecting testimonials from customers, usage by a well-known company plays the same role for any programming language or framework.
The problem is, companies rarely speak in details about their technology stacks and development process.
The same goes for Elixir, a still new language created in 2011 by José Valim, which has been more and more popular among the web development community. Websites using Elixir and its framework Phoenix, are able to hold thousands of concurrent connections without affecting their performance. This is why Elixir has earned itself a reputation of a language for highly scalable applications.
I scratched the surface to present you the list of the most famous Elixir websites. Ready? Here we go!
A widely known leader in online betting, bet365 is able to meet huge user demand (100,000 customers during peak events such as Grand National or Champions League final in 2017) after switching from Java to Erlang and Elixir. The app serves over 20 millions of users in total. Elixir enabled Bet 365 to build a hugely scalable platform in which new features can be added without losing the pace.
In April 2019, Financial Times, a respected news reporter with history exceeding a century (established in 1888), announced that it had signed up 1 million of paying readers. To manage such a big count of subscribers, Financial Times uses GrapQL API based on Elixir. GraphQL is a query language and a runtime for fulfilling these queries with existing data.
The Elixir-based GraphQL supersedes the previously used micro-service REST APIs that had to be called in order to fulfill the queries earlier on.
According to now former senior software developer at Financial Times, Ellis Pritchard, the devs 'picked up the basics of Elixir very rapidly' and the learning curve for the language seemed low.
A popular font library for designers, offering access to its ever-growing font base for a monthly subscription fee, Fontstore is yet another company using Elixir.
The web API of the firm's website is built with Elixir/Phoenix. They also make Fontstore capable of handling the WebSocket connection for desktop applications, which is well-supported by the Phoenix framework and is characterized by much better performance than mechanisms such as ActionCable bundled with Ruby on Rails (itself heavily inspired by Phoenix Channels).
Earlier on we mentioned how Bleacher Report managed to reduce its number of servers 30-fold with Elixir while still growing its user base. Inverse, the news website on technology, science and culture for millennials was launched by BR's co-founder Dave Nemetz.
After BR's successful experience with Elixir, Inverse adopted the language in 2015. In 2016, everything except the front end (made in html and run as a state- and database-less node app) was coded in the language created by José Valim.
With Elixir in production, the company says to perform well during traffic spikes without 'breaking a sweat', as one of the engineers once put it.
One of the world's most popular travel websites serving millions of unique visitors per month needed a modern back end.
One of the microservices that contributed to the general overhaul of Lonely Planet was written in Elixir and Phoenix. The solution serves lodgings coming from Booking.com and Hostel World using a stateless, replicable API serving data from the data store.
The second Elixir-written microservice serves the inventory of content from a custom e-commerce system backed by Microsoft SQL Server.
All in all, developers responsible for the Lonely Planet's partial switch to Elixir/Phoenix have claimed that 'Elixir proved to be a solid performer with low memory requirements' even despite its relative immaturity.
everydayhero is a popular peer-to-peer fundraising platform that helps people and organizations around the globe to run campaigns. everydayhero provides an easy-to-use content management system, making it possible to publish fully branded fundraising campaigns within minutes. People with no programming skills can easily control their campaign websites themselves.
everydayhero's GitHub account features several Elixir/Phoenix projects, such as exq, a job processing library compatible with Resque/Sidekiq, or PhoenixSwagger for Swagger integration to the Phoenix framework.
The list of websites built with Elixir is long still growing, however in most cases the details of its usage remain undisclosed. This is why I didn't mention Netflix, Slack or Adobe, who are said to use Elixir but do not share further details. But even without them, there is a decent record of firms switching to the language.
According to the new survey by Stack Overflow, Elixir is the 8th most loved programming language in the world with 68.2% of its users willing to continue coding in it..
With Elixir developers on board, we have enough experience to help you make decision if your project needs to switch to this more and more popular technology.
Have questions? Drop us a line, we'll be happy to help you!
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Photo by Louis Reed on Unsplash.com