Erlang/OTP R17 release candidate 1 was dropped on the world Monday with two major changes that will make life easier for anyone who’s working with it and OTP.

For a completely detailed report, read what Joe Armstrong has to say about the changes on his blog. I’ll sum it up here, however: maps and cleaner recursive function definitions.

The first change is fairly self-explanatory if you’re a Java or C++ developer. Maps are basically the same there. Erlang now understands key-value pairs in a much more formal way, rather than the previous pseudo-hack, which was to use records, evidently.

The second change allows a function to be defined in the same line in which it is referenced. It makes for cleaner code and easier development in that distinctly functional mindset that is Erlang.

The new version can be taken for a test drive at GitHub.