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Perl 6 Now: The Core Ideas Illustrated with Perl 5

© December 2004 Tony Lawrence

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Perl 6 scares me. It probably wouldn't have shaken me up so much if I hadn't read Larry Wall's State of the Onion 2003. I'm sure Larry didn't intend to frighten anyone, but he is so intense and often so obscure. He can be fun to read, too, but his expositions on Perl 6 really made me a bit nervous. I'm not alone, at least with regard to fearing Perl 6: https://perlmonks.thepen.com/350254.html.

But after reading Scott Walter's much more gentle overview, I am actually looking forward to Perl 6 - eagerly anticipating rather than dreading its arrival. That's because Scott very carefully shows how a lot of what I'm used to doing in Perl 5 will be unchanged in Perl 6, and he introduces the changes in a way that makes their value obvious (and without the clever double-intendres and insider jokes that sometimes cloud Larry's writings). I felt like I was being held by the hand and led through a familiar forest, with Scott noting "And here is where we'll be building the Conservatory; only that very small tree over there needs to come down. See how the morning Sun will illuminate the portal? Won't that be nice?".

Although I'm sure this was mentioned, I had previously missed that Parrot will be able to interpret Perl 5 scripts (this is PONIE: Perl on New Internals Engine). That's reassuring.

I had also not previously grasped that some of the features that will be added to Perl 6 are actually available in the most current versions of Perl 5 or from available modules. This lets you move even more gently toward the promised land, trying these things out before they become necessary (though with PONIE, I suppose nothing really is ever necessary).

There will be more Perl 6 books, of course. The Camel Book will be re-written, and as the final versions appear, more books and articles will follow. This is a nice way to get a little ahead of the game, to test the water. It's not nearly as cold as I thought it would be.

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