What is Erlang?

Some of Erlang’s uses are in telecoms, banking, e-commerce, computer telephony and instant messaging. Erlang’s runtime system has built-in support for concurrency, distribution and fault tolerance. OTP is set of Erlang libraries and design principles providing middle-ware to develop these systems.

Some hints that may get you started faster

The Erlang language is described in the Erlang Reference Manual. An Erlang tutorial can be found in Getting Started With Erlang.

In addition to the documentation here Erlang is described in several recent books like:

These books are highly recommended as a start for learning Erlang.
Erlang/OTP is divided into a number of OTP applications. An application normally contains Erlang modules. Some OTP applications, such as the C interface erl_interface, are written in other languages and have no Erlang modules.

On a Unix system you can view the manual pages from the command line using

% erl -man <module>

You can of course use any editor you like to write Erlang programs, but if you use Emacs there exists editing support such as indentation, syntax highlighting, electric commands, module name verification, comment support including paragraph filling, skeletons, tags support and more. See the Tools application for details. There are also Erlang plugins for other code editors Vim (vim-erlang) , Atom , Eclipse (ErlIDE) and IntelliJ IDEA.