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Re^2: Critique of Where Perl 6 is Heading on Freshmeat.net

by shlomif (Beadle)
on Oct 16, 2004 at 20:08 UTC ( #399806=note: print w/ replies, xml ) Need Help??


in reply to Re: Critique of Where Perl 6 is Heading on Freshmeat.net
in thread Critique of Where Perl 6 is Heading on Freshmeat.net

Well, I only criticized the Perl documentation as part of my analysis of the usability of the Perl online world to newcomers, which was pertinent at the point. I never criticized the Perl 5 development efforts. Rindolf was meant as an anti-thesis to Perl 6, but I stopped thinking about it after I realized Perl 5 was pretty much OK for me. The article in question is based in part on a the Philosophy section of the Rindolf spec.

Other than that, I like Perl a lot and am highly appreciative of the people who contributed to it so far. I also contributed some of my own things to Perl or otherwise, so I need not be dismissed as a free eater.

Feel free to take what I write with a grain of salt (it's probably a good idea to apply it to everything I read.) But don't dismiss it just because I wrote it.


Comment on Re^2: Critique of Where Perl 6 is Heading on Freshmeat.net
Re^3: Critique of Where Perl 6 is Heading on Freshmeat.net
by steves (Curate) on Oct 16, 2004 at 21:01 UTC

    I'm curious why you don't seem to see Ponie as that Perl5/Perl6 bridge you seem to allude to. Or is it just that you fear that Perl6 will stop things from progressing down the Perl5 path? I am a 5 year Perl programmer and also have some concerns about total abandonment of Perl5, since we have a significant Perl5 code base. But the reality I see is a bit different (perhaps tainted by similar large rewrite experiences in other software areas). I see Perl6 as having to start anew to offer the big changes seen as necessary by the Perl community. I don't see it being widely used for a while, which would mean that the community would do what we'd expect and provide suitable bridges and migration paths. I also see that the move on all fronts towards VM run-time environments means that as we move towards Perl6, another change is taking place that makes the actual languages you use and mix in a given environment start to become less important. In the end, I'm not sure the migration scenario ends up all that different from what you lay out, except for the fact that it starts with two distinct entities, rather than starting with the idea of building on one. There are previous models for this sort of approach that prove it can work and migration can be less painful than it seems when that first divide is presented.

    I'd be interested to hear you elaborate on your thoughts here. At the rate offshoring is going I might be lucky to be programming in any language in 2-3 years. ;-)

Re^3: Critique of Where Perl 6 is Heading on Freshmeat.net
by hbo (Monk) on Oct 17, 2004 at 02:15 UTC
    But don't dismiss it just because I wrote it.
    I'm more likely to dismiss it because I lived through the Perl 4 to Perl 5 transition. There were a lot of the same fears expressed then about the continuity of Perl, and the "unnecessary" new features and broken syntax in the new version.

    The leap from Perl 4 to Perl 5 was a long one, in time, space and imagination. I was at the LISA conference where Tom and Larry gave a series of talks on the upcoming Perl 5 language. Without having the need to actually write code with the new syntax, I found it difficult to comprehend what the heck they were talking about in those seminars. I came away feeling fairly uneasy about the direction that Perl, one of the primary tools in my sysadmin kit, was taking.

    It turns out, in hindsight, that I had little to worry about. Perl 4 didn't vanish when Perl 5 hit the streets. My "pink camel" kept getting more and more frayed, while my "blue camel" stayed fairly pristine. Gradually, I cracked the latter to look up this or that new concept, in my spare time. Finally, I took the plunge on an object oriented module or two. By that time, Perl 5 code was really taking off with CPAN, and I just couldn't ignore the wealth of code in my day-to-day work. So I finished the transition from Perl 4 to Perl 5. I can't say that it was painless, but at least I wasn't forced through it on someone else's schedule. And when I finally made the jump, it was so I could get something in return: use of all that free code.

    In your article, you acknowledge the similarity in the two transitions. You attempt to differentiate the two by stating that the redesign of Perl 4 was justified because it ".. would make Perl more up-to-par with the powerful languages of then and now .." This is correct, but you draw the wrong conclusion with respect to Perl today. Computer language theory and practise have come a long way in the 10 or so years since Perl 5 was released. The radical nature of the changes Larry is proposing for Perl 6 reflects this progress. At the time Perl 5 was discussed at LISA, I had no clue what OO programming was for, so I couldn't understand, let alone see the benefit of object oriented extensions to Perl. By the time I took up OO Perl 5, I had learned Java, which gave me more of a clue in that regard. Most of us are in the same boat with respect to the many new features of Perl 6. Though I can't be certain, I suspect I will feel the same way about some of those features, once I've learned them, as I did about Perl 5 objects. The point is, I can't predict which of those unfamiliar features will fit the bill in the future. Neither could I do so with the then unfamilar features of Perl 5.

    You also say that ".. the Perl "market" of programmers that can learn it is much more saturated today than it was when Perl 4 started." To the extent that this argument isn't irrelevant, it tends to support the idea that the Perl 5 to Perl 6 transition will be smooth and slow. The more source code written in Perl 5, the longer that language will live on. In other words, relax. Perl 5 isn't going anywhere.

    "Even if you are on the right track, you'll get run over if you just sit there." - Will Rogers

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