Thursday, July 23, 2015

Perl 6 Due This Year

Larry Wall (via Hacker News, Slashdot):

So natural language is very flexible this way because you have a very intelligent listener – or at least, compared with a computer – who you can rely on to figure out what you must have meant, in case of ambiguity. Of course, in a computer language you have to manage the ambiguity much more closely.

Arguably in Perl 1 through to 5 we didn’t manage it quite adequately enough. Sometimes the computer was confused when it really shouldn’t be. With Perl 6, we discovered some ways to make the computer more sure about what the user is talking about, even if the user is confused about whether something is really a string or a number. The computer knows the exact type of it. We figured out ways of having stronger typing internally but still have the allomorphic “you can use this as that” idea.


Part of the reason the Perl 6 has taken so long is that we have around 50 different principles we try to stick to, and in language design you’re end up juggling everything and saying “what’s really the most important principle here”? There has been a lot of discussion about a lot of different things. Sometimes we commit to a decision, work with it for a while, and then realise it wasn’t quite the right decision.

We didn’t design or specify pretty much anything about concurrent programming until someone came along who was smart enough about it and knew what the different trade-offs were, and that’s Jonathan Worthington. He has blended together ideas from other languages like Go and C#, with concurrent primitives that compose well. Composability is important in the rest of the language.

1 Comment RSS · Twitter

Leave a Comment