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Re: Announcing Perl 7

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Craig A. Berry
June 25, 2020 23:38
Re: Announcing Perl 7
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Wow.  I haven't been paying as much attention lately as I would have
liked but it seems the biggest thing I missed wasn't actually
discussed publicly.  There have been a lot of good points in this
thread already.

I agree with Karen that the earliest that a change of this magnitude
should be considered for release is at the time of the next annual
release, i.e., 7.0.0 comes right after 5.33.11 and we spend a year
talking about why it's 7.0.0 instead of 5.34.0 and testing everything
to see if it can actually work.  (I suppose one could consider 6.9.x
for the development releases this year just to shake out version
number problems, but that's fodder for another discussion).

I agree with Dave that it would be a bad idea to simply enable umpteen
years' worth of feature pragmas in one fell swoop with a year or less
of warning.  Dave has another good point that long support windows are
a distinguishing feature of Perl that few packages provide these days
(don't get me started on Polymer).

I do think it's reasonable to say that version-specific feature
bundles become the default in some well-defined (lengthy) time window.
So for example, the equivalent of "use v7;" becomes available
immediately in 7.0.0 via the pragma but on by default in Perl 10.0.0
or 12.0.0, or something.  As far as enablement, it's a sort of
anti-deprecation cycle.  But it should be defined in terms of
deprecation as well, where appropriate, such that things that get
turned on by default in, for example, 12.0.0, dictate that the older
alternatives are removed entirely from the language in 17.0.0 (or
something -- the right number of years is, again, a separate
discussion).  Finding ways to get rid of stuff that never really
worked quite right and has given everyone a headache who tried to fix
it should be an explicit goal of such a feature cycle.

Basically, my position is that if we change our minds about how people
should use Perl we should give them a long, clear window in which to
sort out what they need to do differently.

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