A blog on software engineering by Trevor Brown

Elixir Language

I have been doing Erlang and Elixir programming for the last ten months and I would love to share what I have been learning. It has been quite a change moving from Ruby to a functional language like Erlang. Most of the projects I am working on at work are written Erlang, but I have also been studying Elixir, which is a new language that is built on top the Erlang VM. Since it uses the Erlang VM, it inherits all the strengths of Erlang - concurrency, scalability, and fault tolerance. Elixir is a new language (first major release expected sometime in the next month) with a Ruby-like syntax. It focuses on providing better tooling and allows for much greater productivity than Erlang. If you are interested in building concurrent applications or want to learn functional programming I highly recommend you check it out -

I will also be giving a talk on Elixir at the Tampa Ruby Brigade on Oct. 16. It will be an introduction to Elixir followed by some demos. If you interested in learning more Elixir RSVP on -

I am very excited about Elixir. I think it has very bright future. I believe it very elegantly solves some scalability issues while also providing tooling (and ease of use) that is comparable to Ruby.

If you have any questions or comments I would love to hear from you. 

Inserting Code Samples Into PowerPoint

Displaying code in PowerPoint seems to be a pain. I came up with a simple way to get syntax highlighting in powerpoints using GitHub Gist. There may be better ways of doing this, but I found this way to be the most convenient for me on a Mac:

  1. Copy code from terminal (or whatever application you are viewing it in) and paste it into a GitHub Gist.
  2. Save gist and copy code out of the gist and into TextEdit (make sure TextEdit is in rich text mode before you paste in your code).
  3. Copy from TextEdit into your powerpoint and choose “keep formatting” from the paste icon that appears.

I found that creating a new text box before pasting in the code is a good idea as it allows you to control the font size of the code separate from everything else on the slide. It also allows you to set a background color for the code sample.

I know there are other ways of doing this out there, but I thought I would post my method as it’s very simple and uses GitHub’s syntax highlighting. If you have a better way of doing this I would love to hear about it!