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The Perl 6 Summary for the week ending 2004-07-10

Another week down, another summer summary. On a Monday no less. Last week I even managed to get the summary to the mailing lists before the Perl 5 Porters summary. I may have been even more surprised that Rafael by that. Let's see if I can do it again.

We'll kick off with perl6-internals as usual (though it was actually the quieter list this week).

The Pie-thon charge

A good deal of this week's work was Pie-thon related, what with the looming deadline and all. The effort hasn't been exactly helped by Dan's problems with unreliable laptops. However, it's apparent that the effort is helping to flush all sorts of issues out.[] -- Dan thinks about generic new PMCs[] -- Dan on parrot/python opcodes -- Getting Python::Bytecode to work -- Leo's summary of Pie-thon activities -- a new Python::Bytecode

Changing the Perl 6 Guard

The Perl Foundation is looking for a good person to take on the responsibility of getting the Perl 6 compiler working. Parrot's reached the point where it can probably support all of Perl 6 (or can be made to support it), and the Perl 6 design is (while not complete) good enough to start implementing. The catch is Dan's not got the time to work on Parrot and implementing Perl 6 as well. So, we need a volunteer.

Read Dan's job spec and if you think you've got the skills (especially the people skills) then Allison Randal and the rest of the Perl 6 Cabal will be very happy to hear from you. Austin Hastings attempted to volunteer Luke Palmer, but Luke's keeping schtum. Personally I think he'd be a cracking candidate for the post, but he's the only person who can decide to volunteer.[] -- The job ad

Parrot m4

Bernhard Schmalhofer posted a patch to get the parrot implementation of m4 working again.

native_pbc fixes

Jarkko Hietaniemi posted a bunch of changes to get the native_pbc tests working on 64 bit platforms. Thanks Jarkko, it's good to see another Perl 5 Porter working on Parrot.

Meanwhile, in perl6-language

Just like the old days

Matija Papec wondered if it would be possible to continue to use simple unquoted hash keys (a la $hash{MYKEY}) instead of the new %hash\xABMYKEY\xBB syntax. "Of course!" replied Luke Palmer, posting a macro to fix things up. The thread moved on to discussing the sorts of macros/operators that it'd be possible to implement. It got scary when Luke and Larry talked about writing a macro to declare new grammatical categories that could be used to declare subsequent macros/operators.

Predeclaration of subs

Noting that it was now possible to write

    $obj.meth "foo" 

where, in Perl 5, one would have to write $obj->meth("foo"), Luke Palmer wondered whether there would still be a requirement to predeclare foo in order to be able to say

    foo "bar", "baz";

He went on to wonder how the new rules affected

    method evil($x is rw)

Larry gave one of his thinking aloud answers. Essentially, there's context trickiness to be worked out, but he thinks that requiring method calls to evaluate their arguments in a list context and requiring predeclaration of functions that force scalar contexts on their arguments should be good enough to avoid ambiguity.

Graphemes and codepoints and bytes, oh my!

The discussion of Perl 6's Unicode handling continued for another week.

Scalar subscripting

Guatam Gopalakrishnan wondered about the meaning of $a[0] now that array subscripting was done using @a[0]. He proposed that it could be used for 'peeking into scalars', particularly strings.

Luke Palmer pointed out that $a[0] actually expands to $a.[0] which, when $a is an array, is an array subscript as per usual. He pointed out that this had also come up in the ongoing "Graphemes and codepoints and bytes" thread, where such things as $str.bytes[0] had been discussed.

C style commas

Michele Dondi is another person who doesn't like the thought of losing the ability to say

   print, next if /stgh/;

or something very like it, so he induced deja vu in your Summarizer by suggesting something involving then. Larry pointed out that Perl 6's comma would still work perfectly well in this case.

The thread expanded into a discussion of various issues to do with statement modifiers, in particular do {...} while ..., which continues to be illegal in core Perl 6.

Announcements, Apologies, Acknowledgements

Quote of the week comes from Larry Wall: "I'm also trying to learn perl6 after using perl5 for some time." I think it probably applies to all of us.

If you find these summaries useful or enjoyable, please consider contributing to the Perl Foundation to help support the development of Perl. You might also like to send me feedback at mailto:[email protected]

You could also wish me luck on Tuesday 12th of July when I'll be interviewing for a place to train as a maths teacher. (You only have to read these summaries to realise why I'm not after training as an English teacher). -- The Perl Foundation -- Perl 6 Development site