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Is it too early to get started using Perl 6?

by flexo (Sexton)
on Dec 21, 2007 at 17:16 UTC ( #658483=perlquestion: print w/replies, xml ) Need Help??
flexo has asked for the wisdom of the Perl Monks concerning the following question:

I've been meaning to get started plinking around with Perl 6, but there's a few points I was hoping to get some feedback on first:

  • Has the design phase of the language settled down enough for casual users to get started using it (without being too confused later by major changes)?
  • The main Perl 6 website still prominently lists the "Apocalypses" and "Exegeses", but from what I can tell, we're supposed to just ignore those at this point and just go by the synopses. Are the synopses up-to-date and unchanging enough at this point for an average user to use them to learn Perl 6?
  • Is building and installing Parrot on a GNU/Linux system pretty simple at this point? Maybe just a "./configure; make; make test; make install"? (Or else maybe something like Perl 5's build procedure.) Or are there a lots of hoops to jump through to get a working Perl 6 / Parrot system running?

Also, I notice there's quite a few acronyms associated with Parrot (PDD, PCT, NQP, IMCC, PIR, PIRC, PGE, NCI, PMC). Is there a glossary somewhere telling what all these things are in plain english?

  • Comment on Is it too early to get started using Perl 6?

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Re: Is it too early to get started using Perl 6?
by particle (Vicar) on Dec 21, 2007 at 18:43 UTC

    it's never too early to start learning perl 6.

    yes, the design phase of perl 6 has settled down quite a bit. as larry likes to say, "we're done with the first 80%, and well into the second 80%." at this point, language design changes usually occur in response to issues encountered when implementing the language; for example earlier this year some revisions were made to regexes (S05) which vastly simplified implementation by removing a number of special cases, and removing the need for the 'return' statetment in the regex engine.

    the synopses are living documents, whereas apocalypses and exegeses are historical. the synopses are canonical; we base our tests and implementations on these documents, so they're a good resource for learning perl 6. there are other resources too, including tutorials, articles, wiki pages, and documentation, and i'll try to get some links for you soon.

    building parrot is simple. releases are available on cpan, but we recommend getting the latest code from subversion since the pace of development is rapid. it's as easy as 'perl && make all test'. we don't recommend installing parrot at this time, but would appreciate any help we can get in making that process work better. building perl6 on parrot is just as easy: 'cd languages/perl6 && make all test'.

    parrot has a glossary for many of these terms ('docs/glossary.pod',) but it's not up-to-date to include all those you mentioned.

    ~Particle *accelerates*

      we don't recommend installing parrot at this time

      Why don't you recommend installing Parrot after building it? Do Parrot developers run it right from the build directory or something?

      Can users build then just install into their own ~/opt?

        yes, parrot developers run it from the build directory. as far as i know, parrot install works okay, but when installing a new parrot release on top of an old one, it may run into trouble with previous library files lying around. i program on windows, and out of the build dir, so i'm not very familiar with the problem. there are (or were) rpms and we're getting the debian package back up to date.

        but as i said earlier, development pace is rapid. in the past two days, i've added named, optional, and slurpy parameter passing to nqp (not quite perl--a subset of perl 6), the language perl6 uses to transform its parse tree into an abstract syntax tree. in another day or so (holidays excluded) i should have that working in perl6, too.

        ~Particle *accelerates*

Re: Is it too early to get started using Perl 6?
by Ovid (Cardinal) on Dec 23, 2007 at 10:32 UTC

    The design has mostly settled down and thus Perl 6 is relatively stable (design-wise, though there are still exceptions). Whether or not it's too early depends on what you want to do with it. If it's just playing around, you might get a bit frustrated at times, but that depends on your tolerance level :) If you'd like to contribute, you'd be welcomed with open arms. For the most part, Perl 6 development looks like it's continuing at a good pace and I'm quite happy with how it's going.


    New address of my CGI Course.

      If it's just playing around, you might get a bit frustrated at times, but that depends on your tolerance level :)

      Ok. That answers my question. At some point, it will be quite easy to download, build, and install Parrot + Perl 6 into my home directory somewhere; and then run simple Perl 6 programs while learning the language. But it sounds like that point has not been reached yet. That's fine -- I realize that development on Parrot is happening very quickly now, and that there are many smart folks who are working their tails off to make it happen sooner than later.

      If you'd like to contribute, you'd be welcomed with open arms.

      Thank you. Unfortunately, I haven't used C in quite a while, and so probably wouldn't be able to contribute in that area with any effectiveness. Also, as I don't yet know Perl 6, I don't think I'd be qualified to write any tests either.

      Let's make your upbeat news clear and make sure nobody gets confused.

      As a toy, yes. Not only now is not too early, it is actually too late.

      Most of the people only care to use it as a serious language for serious project. In that sense, your upbeat news is useless.

Re: Is it too early to get started using Perl 6?
by flexo (Sexton) on Dec 22, 2007 at 23:26 UTC

    The response to this node seems telling to me. It was up-modded nicely, yet no one but particle really replied. Unless my post was somehow erroneously interpreted as trollish, I get the distinct impression that users are at least somewhat interested in learning about trying out Perl 6, but that most in-the-know monks are perhaps not really fans of Perl 6, and are simply happy to continue along with Perl 5 while helping out Perl 5 users.

      I don't know if you can generalize about anything from something posted the Friday before a long holiday weekend. particle's answer was what I would have written, so I didn't say anything. Perhaps others felt the same way.

        What difference does it make whether you have said something?

        You are one of the biggest troller on this site, if the definition of troller is "some one cheats on innocent people who are just trying to learn programming".

        On the other hand, you are probably not intentionally cheating, but just being stupid and close minded.

      I felt really sad for you that you had to first claim that you were not trolling.

      I praise your courage, although you actually were timid, because I know how much it took you to do what you did, on this site.

Re: Is it too early to get started using Perl 6?
by Cop on Dec 21, 2007 at 20:12 UTC

    Read about it but don't download anything or use anything, unless you have too much time to waste.

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