Elixir Q & A


How to use Elixir for building mobile applications?

Elixir, as a functional programming language, is primarily designed for building scalable and concurrent server-side applications. While it excels in areas like web development, distributed systems, and real-time applications, it is not typically used for building native mobile applications directly. However, there are ways to leverage Elixir’s capabilities when developing mobile apps:


  1. Backend Services: Elixir can be used to build the backend services and APIs that power mobile applications. You can create robust and performant APIs using Elixir and Phoenix, which can be consumed by mobile apps built with languages like Swift for iOS or Kotlin for Android. This approach allows you to take advantage of Elixir’s concurrency model and reliability for the server-side components of your mobile app.


  1. Nerves: Nerves is an Elixir-based platform for building embedded and IoT (Internet of Things) devices, including those used in the context of mobile applications. While not for building traditional mobile apps, Nerves allows you to create custom hardware interfaces and IoT devices that can interact with mobile apps via Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, or other connectivity options.


  1. Web Views: In some cases, you can embed Elixir/Phoenix-powered web views within mobile applications using frameworks like React Native or WebView components. This approach can be useful if you want to reuse web-based components or if your mobile app requires dynamic web content.


  1. Hybrid Apps: Elixir can play a role in the development of hybrid mobile apps. Hybrid apps use web technologies (HTML, CSS, and JavaScript) but can access device features through native APIs. Elixir can power the backend for such hybrid apps, providing the necessary APIs and handling server-side logic.


While Elixir itself is not a primary choice for building native mobile applications, it can still be an integral part of your mobile app ecosystem. Elixir’s strengths shine when used to develop backend services, APIs, and real-time systems that complement and enhance the functionality of mobile applications. By adopting this approach, you can benefit from Elixir’s concurrency and scalability while delivering powerful mobile experiences to your users.


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Tech Lead in Elixir with 3 years' experience. Passionate about Elixir/Phoenix and React Native. Full Stack Engineer, Event Organizer, Systems Analyst, Mobile Developer.