How to fix this error – Elixir Phoenix: ** (DBConnection.ConnectionError) tcp connect (localhost:5432): connection refused – :econnrefused


Has been rather a while since I last blogged.  And this update is rather technical so if you’re not into databases or Elixir programming, look away.

Largely documenting a solution to a rather cryptic error I encountered setting up a PostgreSQL database on Elixir Phoenix. Hope it helps someone!

Continue reading



If you’re a fan of the Phoenix web framework, written in Elixir, you’ll know I blog a little about it.

Here is the long overdue second installment in my Elixir/Phoenix Mix Tips series.

As previously covered, you can use the following command to update an Elixir package hosted on package manager Hex:

mix deps.unlock out_of_date_dependency

And you can also use the handy mix deps.outdated to find out which packages require updating.

But what if you would like to clean out your mix.lock file?

Continue reading

Learning Elixir at Manchester Lambda Lounge


Here are the slides from my recent Learn Elixir talk at Manchester Lambda Lounge, the monthly meet up for fan of functional programming languages in Manchester. This is my second talk there, the first, back in October 2016, was a show-and-tell on Assenty, the real-time Q&A web service I’ve been building at

Continue reading

Build Your Own Real-Time Web Service with Elixir/Phoenix: Assenty Show and Tell


Here are the slides from my recent talk at Manchester Lambda Lounge.

Aimed at a largely non-Erlang/Elixir audience, the talk was about the soft real-time aspects of Elixir/Phoenix and its WebSocket implementation (aka Phoenix channels) – the main inspiration behind the real-time Q&A web service at

Manchester Lambda Lounge, in their own words,

“meets monthly to talk about and popularise new ways of thinking about computation. Frequent topics include functional programming, type systems, programming language design and aspects of computer science.”

As Elixir is still relatively new, and case study materials on the Phoenix web framework thin on the ground, I focused on explaining the core components of the web framework with an emphasis on Phoenix channels and, the rationale behind Phoenix and Elixir.

The presentation concluded with a live demo of Assenty. Here is the resultant question board which includes questions asked and answered live by the audience.

I’ve embedded the question that won Gold Question Award below!

It was a good opportunity to meet active members of Manchester’s growing functional programming community to talk code and I look forward to attending another event.

Meet Assenty, the Elixir Phoenix-powered social Question Board service


I started learning Elixir nearly two years ago and love the concurrency, fault-tolerance and scalability paradigms its Erlang heritage brings to the table. I discovered Phoenix in early spring 2015 when I was looking for Chicago Boss with an easier learning curve 🙂 For the non-developers reading this, Chicago Boss is a web framework for the Erlang programming language. Erlang is not renowned for its learning curve but is acclaimed for its reliability. Just ask WhatsApp.

I digress…

Today, after nearly seven months of hard work in stealth mode, I’m thrilled to launch Assenty, a service I’ve built with Elixir to provide real-time Q&A support for event organisers, using Phoenix channels.
Continue reading