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The right time to start a project?

by IOrdy (Friar)
on Aug 01, 2003 at 06:14 UTC ( #279862=perlmeditation: print w/ replies, xml ) Need Help??

The Story
As part of my new contact I am able to release projects I write for work under an open license so I was thinking finally I would be able to release something large back to the community that has given me so much (if the community would want my stuff is another story).

The Question
With the impending release of perl 6 drawing ever closer (the truth is I haven't even seen a plan of when it's due) I have to ask, is this the best time to start a project that may not be released for another six months or more? For the sake of the story lets assume it has the potential to gather a community of hackers who will contribute but will there be anyone left who:
a) still writes perl (1)
b) cares about maintaining or contributing to a project based on an obsolete version of the language (which may still run but it's not the latest and greatest).

I may just be fluffing about over nothing but if it's not the right time for a perl project I might as well try to contribute elsewhere (I know I haven't mentioned what my project is but there are frameworks in other languages that will work almost as well as what perl has to offer).

update: I realise perl5 is not going away any time soon I'm more interested in how many people will still be interested in developing (not maintaining) perl5 code once the newer more flashy perl6 is out.


(1) Did I over dramatize? Everybody I have spoken to lately doesn't like the direction of perl 6 at all and most of them are now preaching the benefits of other languages (I have to admit my loyalty is to the language not the name so if I dont like it I'm not going to keep using it just because it's perl). I haven't payed much attention to community feeling on perlmonks or any of the mailing lists but is this widespread? How many people are unhappy with the direction?

Comment on The right time to start a project?
Re: The right time to start a project?
by chromatic (Archbishop) on Aug 01, 2003 at 06:24 UTC

    Perl 5 Is Not Going Away.

    Perl 5.8.0 was released after the announcement of Perl 6. Perl 5.8.1 will be released shortly. Perl 5.9.0 is in development to become Perl 5.10.0 within the next year or two.

    Ponie will let you run Perl 5 code on Parrot for years to come.

    If your project is useful, by all means start it! Perl 6 won't be out within six months, and even if it were, that wouldn't make all Perl 5 code magically go away.

    Perl is not going away. The sky is not falling. Continue as normal.

      I realize it's not going away, perhaps I should have made it clear. I'm more interested in how many people will still be writing (not maintaining) code in perl5.
        People will be writing code in per5 for years, even if everyone switches to perl6 the moment the first stable version is released. Remember that the perl6 journey was started 3 years ago, and Larry hasn't even finished the language specification yet. Looking at the rate of the apocalypses, if you now start a 6 month project to write a perl5 module, you will be finished before the next apocalypse.

        Not writing a perl5 module because you want to wait for perl6 would be as silly as the Beatles having said in the '60s, "we won't record this album just yet - we'll wait for CDs to arrive".

        Abigail

Re: The right time to start a project?
by chunlou (Curate) on Aug 01, 2003 at 08:58 UTC

    Considering it seems to take almost a decade for Perl 4 to fade (though some still floating around), and Perl 6 isn't a next year thing, and there're 4000+ Perl 5 modules in CPAN, it would be a while (5 - 6 years the really really quickest?) before Perl 5 would go "obsolete." It's not of anyone's interest to retire Perl 5 too soon.

    Perhaps you could consider what direction you want to go within Perl 5 instead of across major versions.

    Best of luck.

Re: The right time to start a project?
by liz (Monsignor) on Aug 01, 2003 at 09:13 UTC
    ...Everybody I have spoken to lately doesn't like the direction of perl 6 at all...

    Perl 6 is closer to Perl 5 than many people realize. Much of Perl 5 will simply compile on Perl 6 and run. With Parrot under the hood, it will probably run that code a lot faster as well.

    Don't let the Apocalypses and the Exegesi fool you into thinking you will have to use all those nifty new features. You won't. You can if you want. "Simple things easy, complicated things possible" (or something like that ;-).

    Liz

      With Parrot under the hood, it will probably run that code a lot faster as well.

      How do you figure that?

      What Perl really needs is a better extension system and a native compiler.

        ...What Perl really needs is a better extension system and a native compiler...

        Eh... Parrot has just that or almost. If you follow the Parrot list, you would know that the first native executables have been generated from Parrot. And that work on the extension system is in high gear.

        This is what is going to make Ponie so very interesting. It's like halfway between Perl 5 (because it's going to compile Perl 5.10 source code) and it's going to run on Parrot (like Perl 6 and many, many other languages).

        Liz

        How do you figure that?

        Because the current Perl5 VM is a complex evolved mess that is very hard to maintain and optimise. All the bits of Parrot implemented so far have been faster than the Perl5 equivalents.

        What Perl really needs is a better extension system and a native compiler.

        Curiously enough, two things that Parrot enables :-)

Re: The right time to start a project?
by perrin (Chancellor) on Aug 01, 2003 at 14:10 UTC
    I don't want to burst your bubble about how quickly Perl6 is progressing, but I doubt that anyone other than a few people who like to tinker will be doing anything serious with it for a few years. You are worrying over nothing at this point.

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