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Perl Programming

Perl 6, Early, With Rakudo Star 220

Posted by timothy
from the if-you-call-that-early dept.
Perl 6 may have been "finally coming within reach" in 2004, but now it's even closer. Reader rnddim writes "The Perl 6 implementation Rakudo Star has been released today for 'early adopters.' This release of Rakudo is different from the normal monthly compiler releases in that it is bundled with a draft of a Perl 6 book, and several modules. It's not complete, and it's not as fast as it should be, but Rakudo in its current state is proving to be usable and useful. Rakudo Star releases will come monthly or as major features or bugfixes are made. It is available for download at github.com."
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Perl 6, Early, With Rakudo Star

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  • Re:Does anyone care? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by chromatic (9471) on Thursday July 29, 2010 @05:41PM (#33076558) Homepage

    More computers are available in the hands of more people today than at any other time in recorded human history. More novice programmers exist now than at any other time in recorded human history. What worry about sheep stealing from other languages (as if programmers or novices can only ever use or learn a single language at a time) when hundreds of millions of people could write useful programs?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday July 29, 2010 @05:46PM (#33076612)

    I'll save you the trip to Google/Wikipedia: Perl was an important language back in the dot-com frenzy. It is a script language which is known for making programmers produce highly effective but unreadable and thus unmaintainable code. It's success largely stemmed from an implementation of regular expressions. The Perl regex syntax has since been adopted by countless tools and languages. Perl is like 8-bit computer emulators: Important for preserving the heritage, but you wouldn't start anything new with it.

  • by betterunixthanunix (980855) on Thursday July 29, 2010 @05:58PM (#33076746)
    Perl is still a great language for processing text, and plenty of people are still writing new Perl programs. The main reason Perl is not trendy anymore is that its strength, text processing, is not as relevant to the trendy programming styles use in webdev these days. Perl's syntax is weird and lends itself to unreadable code, sure, but I have seen horrible code in a lot of other languages and programming models.

    There are still plenty of text processing tasks to be done, and Perl is still strong for those tasks.
  • by jjohnson (62583) on Thursday July 29, 2010 @06:03PM (#33076832) Homepage

    It's success largely stemmed from an implementation of regular expressions.

    And the absence of comparably useful alternatives, something that's no longer the case.

    I would be interested in seeing a competitive analysis between Perl 6, Python, Ruby, and PHP for performance and features. My suspicion is that Perl 6, even if it delivers everything it promises, will still fall behind the others, or not be significantly ahead enough to tempt large scale switching from them back to Perl.

  • Re:Does anyone care? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by rduke15 (721841) <rduke15@g m a il.com> on Thursday July 29, 2010 @06:20PM (#33077038)

    No mod points, so all I can say is that I totally agree. I suppose the people who hate Perl are the same sort of people who this quote refers to:

    many Computer Scientists have come out in opposition to the Art of Programming. In trying to make programming predictable, they've mostly succeeded in making it boring [linuxjournal.com]. And in so doing, they've lost sight of the idea that programming is a human pursuit. They've designed languages intended more to keep the computer happy than the programmer.

    For anyone who doesn't know Perl and wonders what other people like so much about it, I think the interview linked to above is worth reading.

  • New perl user (Score:2, Interesting)

    by slaxative (1867220) on Thursday July 29, 2010 @06:30PM (#33077186)
    This puts a lot of new users to perl in a bad situation. Start learning Perl 5 syntax or jump to the possibly already sinking ship, Perl 6. Hopefully my camel book will be sufficient to learn both from a basic level.
  • by phantomfive (622387) on Thursday July 29, 2010 @06:33PM (#33077206) Journal
    I don't know, there are always drawbacks. Python is too inflexible. PHP is inconsistent, opens you up to security flaws, and isn't very good for large projects. Ruby is great but only has a small community backing it and has scaleability issues. J2EE is infinitely scaleable but has a gigantic learning curve, the number of large subsections seem infinite as well. Some people are going to disagree with parts of the flamebait I just spewed, but each of those languages have that reputation, even if it's not 100% earned, and there is definitely room for improvement and innovation in the web-programming world. So it is possible that a new, interesting language and framework could come to the fore in the web programming world.

    One thing is for sure, Perl 6 is going to have a dedicated community set to building up and promoting a web framework to go along with the language. Whether the language becomes commonplace on the web or not depends on how well the framework is written, how good the language actually is, and (as you mentioned) if performance is adequate.
  • by jjohnson (62583) on Thursday July 29, 2010 @06:33PM (#33077212) Homepage

    It's not hip to bash Perl these days, it's actually a sign of old-fogeyism.

    There's a lot of pent-up irritation with Perl. It comes from the fact that a large number of us started with Perl, and watched it languish as competitors like PHP and Python and then Ruby ate its community. Then Perl 6 was announced, and Perl loyalism was given a shot in the arm--whee, Perl will evolve and take back its rightful place as king of scripting languages! Then it languished again for more than a decade while the famously squirrelly Larry Wall gave talks on religion and postmodernism in programming. Perl won't die; Perl 6 will find a community. But Perl as king of scripting languages, as the indispensable tool in your toolbox, as the mark of the geek, is a dead letter now, and to anyone who invested a lot in mastering it, that stings a bit.

  • Re:Does anyone care? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by BJ_Covert_Action (1499847) on Thursday July 29, 2010 @07:18PM (#33077660) Homepage Journal

    Perl6, OTOH, is almost a completely different language from Perl5

    So you've never known anyone to learn and work in two similar languages? Personally, perl 5 is my staple tool for developing data and text processing applications at work. However, I also do a lot of hacking in Python and sh (including heavy use of sed, awk, and grep) because, well, they are sometimes more convenient to work in for different things. Just because they are similar, but different, doesn't mean I can't or shouldn't bother learning them all.

    When it comes to perl 6, I realize that it is basically a different language than perl 5. That said, I will continue to program and maintain my work in perl 5 where it makes sense to do so. However, the driving reason that I use perl 5 as my primary language is the general philosophy displayed by the language. The overall quirkiness and linguistics-centric nature of the language make it both enjoyable and interesting to work in, for me. I am wagering that the designers of perl 6 tried to keep some of the perl 5 cultural and philosophical elements of the language when writing the new language (at least it sounds like they did based on what I've read so far). That said, I intend to start learning perl 6 slowly, and trying out some new stuff with them just like when I picked up perl 5 the first time. If I like it and find a use for it, I will keep learning both perl 5 and perl 6. If, however, I decide that it is clunky, does not get done what I need it to get done, and is an all around pain in the ass to work with, I will probably just stick with perl 5.

    So the moral of the story is: Yes, it is new and different. That doesn't mean it's bad. It might be totally awesome like Perl 5 was (for me). So Perl 5 coders may as well try it out and see what they think.

  • Re:Does anyone care? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by chromatic (9471) on Thursday July 29, 2010 @07:20PM (#33077694) Homepage

    I am wagering that the designers of perl 6 tried to keep some of the perl 5 cultural and philosophical elements of the language when writing the new language (at least it sounds like they did based on what I've read so far).

    The first time I wrote any serious code in Perl 6 (five years ago), I had to look up a few pieces of unfamiliar syntax, but the whole experience felt very comfortable. Perl 5 and Perl 6 share the same essence, the same perlishness.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday July 29, 2010 @08:22PM (#33078212)

    I like HTML::Mason, but it is very very far from the forefront of perl web development. There are many other mature, active and full-featured projects out there in just that niche. Talking about HTML::Mason shows a very obvious lack of knowledge on what is actually happening in the perl ecosystem.

    Also, do you really think that a dev community with an 80% 'sysadmin' bias would actually invest the time and effort in perl6?

  • by doug (926) on Thursday July 29, 2010 @09:26PM (#33078704)

    Most of my career has been in telecom/datacom companies, and perl is the preferred language for testing and infrastructure. The last stint I did at a true startup ended in 2003 (I got the hell out) and they used tcl for testing. Since then I've only seen perl. Perl certainly is less popular in CGI and LAMP than it used to be, but that is the only major pull back I've noticed. But it isn't new and sexy, which is fine by me, and that is what many people seem to notice.

    That said, I'm not sure if/when I'll adopt perl6. I like much of what I've seen, but I've got an install base to worry about. I either need a killer reason to switch, or a lot of dead time in my schedule. I jumped on perl4 -> perl5 back in the winter of 94/95, but that was such a huge step forward that it could not be ignored.

    - doug

  • a decade too soon (Score:4, Interesting)

    by epine (68316) on Thursday July 29, 2010 @10:43PM (#33079088)

    Perl 6 is a stillborn fetus, left lying on the ground for a decade, getting all smelly and rotten.

    That's an appropriate sentiment for a guy who choses his programming language the same way he chooses his girlfriend.

    The true test of Perl 6 is how many of the new genes baked into Perl 6 show up in Python/PHP/Ruby ten years from now. That would make Perl 6 an important language, even if it never gets laid.

    At some point I'm going to give Perl 6 a shot with an open mind, and see whether all those years paid off with a mature reflection on the nature of womanhood. Even if it's not girlfriend material.

  • Re:Does anyone care? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by cecom (698048) on Thursday July 29, 2010 @11:40PM (#33079398) Homepage Journal
    Ha - ha, come on. Last time I checked, Python 3 was released in 2008 and already has a couple of maintenance releases under its belt. Comparing that to Perl 6 is silly :-). That says nothing about the relative merits of either language or its implementation, but it is obvious to an objective observer that Perl 6 missed the boat in terms of mind share and relevance.

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