Whatever happened to Elm, anyway?

Whatever happened to Elm, anyway?.
I see this question pop up quite frequently in lots of different arenas - folks are curious as to what happened to Elm. As a former community member of Elm, I thought I’d act as a historian here and provide a write up covering the big pieces I see. Everything in this post is public already, I’m just putting it together in one place - and will not touch on anything personal to anyone involved. The interesting parts are not about personal matters - but about the natural to and fro of a niche technology.

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It seems that Elm has been at 0.19.1 version for quite sometime now. Was it hard to learn and use for some developers, that’s why it didn’t take off as expected?

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It’s just my opinion, but the value proposition for any language/platform has to be more than pure joy. Adoption rarely has anything to with a language just being good. Devs are introduced to javascript first and once they learn to build with it convincing companies and devs to use a different language over anything that has the most momentum is a hard sell unless you can walk in to your managers office and show them real metrics on the money saved by using a language that is less error prone.

That being said. The better languages like elm/purescript must exist to bring good ideas back to mainstream languages. React and Rescript was build with that principle. React was built in SML originally and ported to javascript. Rescript used to be Reason that was basically Ocaml but changed to a more javascript syntax (typescript could be another example). Generally, speaking devs will use what is just there. And if it is too different… it will remain a niche language.

But still, Elm has inspired people to keep innovating in ML family languages which I’m glad about. In my opinion ML family syntax is easy to read with minimal noise. But that’s just my opinion (and I program in bracket languages all day).


Correct me if I am wrong, but the MVU pattern is one of the great concepts from Elm, that other frameworks has adopted.


Yup. I mean technically early derivatives existed before elm, but the pattern implemented in elm seem to inspire so many other libs/frameworks.

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