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