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Postings from May 2007
Re: Is Perl 6 too late?
From: Thomas Wittek
May 13, 2007 15:42
Re: Is Perl 6 too late?
Message ID: email@example.com
> On Thursday 03 May 2007 03:06:43 Andrew Shitov wrote:
>> What is nedded is a very simple step:
And to attract contributors, you have to have a convincing vision.
I'm not sure, if the (current) Perl6 specs are convincing enough to
attract the developers out there.
Sure there are a lot of great ideas. But imho Perl6 still has quite some
deficiencies, that are criticized very often for Perl5.
I'm only a distant observer of the Perl6 design process, so I might not
be in the position to criticize Perl6.
On the other hand, a distant view might be insightful.
This is not intended to be a provocation.
But I also think that there is a great opportunity to make _big_ changes
to Perl to be even more competitive.
But maybe Perl6 is probably too far defined to encounter big changes in
some critical aspects.
As Ruby and Python are getting more and more attraction  I think
they do something right, that Perl doesn't.
What I think where both (especially Python) do better is in readable code.
What makes Perl hard to read is the excessive use of special characters
In my opinion, reducing the use of those characters would make Perl a
lot easier to read and also easier to write.
Global variables with cryptic names, that no beginner can make any sense
of by reading it. And after not working with "$<" for some months I
can't remember it either, although I've got quite some Perl experience.
Additionally I'm not a friend of sigils: Typing them is relatively
painful, for reading there is no advantage if you use an editor with
decent syntax highlighting and the code looks more cryptic. The answer
in Perl6 are twigils, great... One step backwards in my optinion.
Most programming languages
/C(++|#)?|Java(Script)?|Python|Ruby|Groovy/... don't need them. The only
obvious advantage of using sigils is variable interpolation in strings.
But that could easily be done only in strings without the need to put a
$ in front of each and every variable name in the rest of the code.
I would also like semicolons to be optional. There are far more cases of
single line statements than multiline statements. So you would save
quite some characters, when the semicolon would be optional and you
could concatenate multiline statements with e.g. a backslash.
Some say that there are too much operators in Perl(6). I partially
agree. I don't like the implicit type casting forced by the operators
(== int / eq string). That's harder to learn and remember. Harder to
I really like the Python way of doing it: Set the variables type on the
assignment and remember it. The (fewer) operators now work according to
the type of the operands. No implicit (and error prone) type casting.
That way seems to be the best compromise of easiness and type safety.
I could continue on that, but I've already written too much...
People not only want code that _is_ sexy, but they also want it to