Cooking with Lisp

Another blog about Lisp, the world's greatest programming language.

Monday, April 11, 2005

Perl 6 Now

Perl 6 Now - The Core Ideas Illustrated with Perl 5 is the second book that will be of interest to Lispers who need to use Perl. It talks about the features in the upcoming Perl 6 and shows how to use the various CPAN modules that implement most of those features today in Perl 5.

The last 4 chapters are particularly interesting, as they cover the new set operators (any and all), lexical closures, continuations, and coroutines.

One thing that I learned from this book that I wasn't aware of is that every {} block, no matter the context, will be a full, first-class closure. It's nice that Perl 6 will be supporting such a nice, lightweight syntax for that. Perl 6 is going to be a very interesting language, and Lispers and other functional programmers (like Haskellers and O'Camlers) will be well positioned to take advantage of these features.

I really appreciate that the Perl community is embracing the powerful ideas found in Lisp and Haskell, unlike the recent news from the Python community about starting to consider removing some of the "redundant" functional features.

11 Comments:

At 4:03 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Glenn!

I'm also in Phoenix (well, Fountain Hills, technically). I saw this URL hitting http://perl6now.com and went to check it out. I'm actually trying to get my affairs in order to step out of the voffice for a few hours and attend Phoenix
Perl Mongers. Lispers are more than welcome -- and Ruby programmers,
and Pike programmers... Python programmers we'll gladly tolerate, but PHP kiddies should only show up with a profound sense of shame that compels them to silence. http://phoenix.pm.org is fud right now, but http://pm.org links to the mailing list, and that's where the announcements go. There's also a list archive
linked off of http://pm.org. If you'd like to do "Lisp for Perl Programmers" presentation, I can schedule it -- just email me. I think a lot of people would be
interested to know what's still missing from Perl 5 and how these features
are used in the real world, as well as perhaps a more basic introduction (this is a loop; this is a conditional).
Or perhaps you have something else in mind.

Perl as a language is heavily influenced by a wide assortment of things, but the Perl camp is remarkably xenophobic of anything not already in the language (and quite a few things that are -- your average Perl programmer will run screaming
from "formats"). When Perl 5 came out, it took ages before Perl programmers gave any
consideration to objects, and then they mostly only used them to make CPAN modules out of one monolithic "god object". Perl 6's primary influence is functional rogramming, and the xenophobia is raging.
The "we don't have that therefore we don't need it" sentiments are almost as strong as in the PHP camp. Sigh.

Pugs came out and rocked my (and every other Perl user's) world, but I was
toying with the idea of another B::Generate hack to replace function calls with the contents of the function and re-invoke the optimizer, for specially marked functions, to make a sort of poor
man's Lisp style macros. But now I have to learn Haskell so I can hack on Pugs. I'm thinking of making a Perl 5 VM backend for Pugs/Perl 6, kind of operating with the theory that the portability of maturity of the Perl 5 interpreter will continue to
hold value for a long time to come. It also creates interesting possibilities for bootstrapping...

So, as you can see, dabling with functional programming without actually learning a functional language is pastime for me. Seriously, the Perl camp has a lot
more to learn about programming than what I wrote in P6N or MJD wrote in HOP... but the market couldn't bare SICP translated to use Perl.

I haven't read enough of your blog to understand the nature of your interest in Perl, but I thought I should leave a comment before it completely slipped my mind. Anyway, thanks for blogging about Perl 6 Now, and thanks in general for your
interest in us Perl'ers =)

Best regards,
-scott

 
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