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Mon, 16 Feb 2009

Perl 6 Tidings from February 2009


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A lot of things has happened since the last tidings post: lots of spec cleanup, Rakudo left the nest, there's an easy-to-install version of elf, and lots of small improvements.

Specification

Mark Lentczner worked on updating his "Periodic Table of the [Perl 6] Operators" and asked many questions about operator parsing, meta operators, associativity and related subjects. It appears that some of these questions triggered Larry's dislike for the current situation, which in turn led to many improvements.

The most user visible effect is certainly that the cross-meta operator which used to be XopX is now just Xop, and there's a new prefix-metaoperator for infix operators that reverses the order of arguments. So sorting with reversed string comparison now can be written as @array.sort(&infix<Rleg>).

Jerry "particle" Gay continued his steady improvements of the S19 draft, and eliminated some Perl5isms. I submitted my notes about built-in testing to p6l, which started a lively and interesting discussion. I'm still digesting its results in the background.

Implementations

Rakudo

Rakudo left the nest and now lives on github. Since Patrick Michaud was occupied with real-life worries right after the move we had some time with uncertainty about the current state; but the community recovered quickly, and although we still see traces of the fallout here and there, most things work again, and development has continued.

Most notably Jonathan Worthington made two days worth of bugfixes to decimate the perl6 queue, which Carl Mäsak had tirelessly populated to over 250 open bug reports. Also Chris Dolan implemented the make builtin, which sets the scalar portion of a Match object.

This Tuesday we will see the release of Parrot 0.9.1, the first release that doesn't come with Rakudo bundled. After that Rakudo will have its own release schedule, although the details aren't out yet.

Elf

Mitchell Charity developed a branch of his elf compiler that's very easy to get to run: just change to its directory and type make.

Smop

Daniel Ruoso sent a very verbose update to his TPF grant manager; I haven't yet seen it published. But if you follow the TPF blog you'll probably see it appear very soon, and it'll be loads better than anything I could try to write about smop.

Documentation

Carl Mäsak bemoaned the non-existence of user level documentation for Perl 6, and decided to start the Userdocs for Christmas (u4x) project. It's still mostly in the planning phase, although there are some glossary entries in there.

Packaging

This past month we've run into the situation were we wanted to move libraries out of the projects in which they were developed, in order to share them among other projects. Since CPAN.pm can't handle Perl 6 code, dependencies and appropriate directory structures, and no other solution was in sight. So it was again Carl who lost his patience (and remember, impatience is one of the three virtues of the Perl programmer) and wrote proto, a simple script that downloads and installs Parrot, Rakudo, and various Perl 6 libraries.

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