Perl 6 Unveiled
Written by Alex Armstrong   
Thursday, 08 October 2015

After more than a decade in preparation, Perl 6 is near to being launched. Its new features were unveiled by Perl creator Larry Wall at an event in San Fransisco on October 6.

Acknowledging how long Perl 6 has been in develop Wall told the audience:

"As the old joke goes, Perl 6 is coming out this Christmas." 

There is every likelihood that this could be true this time and the first development release is now available for download.

According to the Perl 6 website. its new features, listed below "greatly advance" Perl's "tradition of expressive and feature-rich programming": 

  • Object-oriented programming including generics, roles and multiple dispatch
  • Functional programming primitives, lazy and eager list evaluation, junctions, autothreading and hyperoperators (vector operators)
  • Parallelism, concurrency, and asynchrony including multi-core support
  • Definable grammars for pattern matching and generalized string processing
  • Optional and gradual typing

El Destino who attended the event reports on "exotic and new features" in the Pigdog Journal:

perl6feat

The account continues: 

One of the most impressive things Larry demonstrated was the sequence operator, and Perl 6's ability to intuit sequences.

   say 1, 2, 4 ... 2**32

This correctly produced a nice tidy list of just 32 values -- rather than the 4,294,967,296 you might expect. 

Larry Wall also drew attention to Perl 6's ability to calling methods on integers telling the audience:

"Everything is an object. But only if you want it to be..."

   say Int.^methods

   say Array.HOW.^name

According to El Destino:

With a nod to Douglas Adams, Larry said "42 is a very important number," then showed the audience what would happen if you called integer methods on the number 42.

   say 42.WHAT

   say 42.^methods

 

After a long period of development Wall hopes that Perl 6 will stand the test of time, saying:

"We don't expect to be the language of the week. We don't want to play that game. We want it to keep being there... We don't want their language to run out of steam. It might be a 30- or 40-year language. I think it's good enough."

perl6sq

Commenting on the Perl 6 butterfly logo he explained that its:

"specifically designed, among other things, to appeal to 7-year-old girls. 

Whether perl will be able to compete with Python and Processing to take over the hearts and minds of young and newbie coders remains to be seen, but judging from the response of those who were at the event it is likely to have an enthusiastic following.

 

More Information

Perl 6 website

Larry Wall Unveils Perl 6.0.0

Related Articles

Perl 6 Preview Release

Perl not suitable for beginners? 

Where is Perl Heading?

Perl 6 and Parrot 

 

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Last Updated ( Thursday, 08 October 2015 )