Perl 6 is coming soon: What it will bring

After a long wait, the next version of the Perl programming language will undergo a few betas, followed by a general release this year

Perl 6 is coming soon: What it will bring

Perl 6, a long-awaited upgrade to the well-known scripting language, has gone into beta, with the general release planned for Christmastime.

The upgrade went to beta late last month, Perl designer Larry Wall told InfoWorld on Wednesday, and the October monthly release will feature the first of two beta releases of the Rakudo Perl 6 compiler. There been having monthly compiler releases for years, but the language definition has now stabilized. Wall added, “At this point we're optimizing, fixing bugs, and documenting, and I feel comfortable saying we can take a snapshot of whatever we have in December and call it the first production release.”

Highlights of Perl 6 include object-oriented programming with generics, roles, parallelism, concurrency, multicore support, and optional and gradual typing. Also slated for the release are definable grammars for pattern-matching and generalized string processing. “Many new features greatly advance our tradition of expressive and feature-rich programming,” the Perl 6 website states. Wall has cited other improvements, including “world-class” Unicode support and generational garbage collection.

In an interview with InfoWorld in February, Wall described Perl 6 as a “rethought,” completely different version of the language while remaining Perl philosophically. “In a nutshell, it's what people like about Perl minus lots of what people don't like about Perl, with additional cleanups and powerups that Perl 5 could not do with its original design,” he said at the time.

In recent years, Perl has not had as high a profile of other scripting languages such as PHP or JavaScript. But it still is ranked ninth in this month’s Tiobe index of language popularity, which measures languages based on inquiries in search engines. It was ranked ninth this time last year as well. It is ranked 15th in this month’s PyPL index, which gauges language popularity based on searches on language tutorials in Google.

Copyright © 2015 IDG Communications, Inc.

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