Perl6 has left me cold. In fact at first I thought someone had been taken in by this old chestnut
The comparisons are scary, perhaps they were meant to be.
Like most of Perl programmers I know, I'm a pragmatist.
A conceptual model is not going to help me finish todays work.
I guess I'm more lazy than most, the length of the Apocalypses, left me cold.
So I've sat in ignorance and worried about the future of Perl for some time.
I've increased the amount of Python, Java and Ruby I can put on my CV,
for a time when Perl is marginalised as I percieve Sed and Awk to be now.
So like most at Conway Hall last night, there to listen to Damian Conway describe Perl6,
I was sceptical.
As Damian predicted, one by one the lights would flick on in people's eyes
as a new concept appealed to them.
The number of excited whispers in the audience increased as concepts hit home and people grasped the implications and applications.
The pervading theme of the talk, that lasted three and a half hours was this: less syntactic sugar, more syntactic vitamins.
There are more features to make you say "this is really cool", despite the fact that the way they're called may be slightly more verbose.
The power has increased, so keywords may be longer but the program needs fewer for the same functionality.
Bad news is there are less sigils to freak out Java coders, but this means we can assimilate them.
A lot of the work is removing niggles and adding stuff that people have wanted in Perl, indented heredocs, case statements, exceptions.
Then add to list of enhancements that are entirely new to any language:
dedicated applications of functions by making a parameter constant,
some un-earthly use of lists as parameters
and it's hard to dislike the plans for Perl6.
Not all the news was good, or rather immediately palatable.
But it's worth remembering that Perl has come a long way from munging text.
It's been stretched out to cover a wide range.
It's prudent to let it evolve to cope with it's new demands as gracefully as it does at it's initial application.
The talk has renewed my faith in Perl and made me consider reading the Apocalypse.
Thanks to Damian, London.pm and the Perl Foundation for an excellent thought provoking evening.
The title refers to Damian's conclusion to each glimpse into the toy-store that will be Perl6.
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