ThoughtStorms Wiki

Context : ProgrammingLanguages

HyperPerl is Perl embedded in a wiki

Perl 6 seems to have been renamed RakuLanguage

Finally! It was crazy to simultaneously have a committee trying to design a new version of Perl without any clear goals. And then justify it by claiming it was a new and entirely different language. At least calling it something else signals that it is a significant break. (Like RacketLanguage does with SchemeLanguage)

(Mind you, isn't Raku a bit too close to Racket as a name?)


Quora Answer : Why is Perl 6 considered to be a disaster?

Apr 15, 2015

Firstly it didn't exist in any usable form for too many years. (Is it actually a viable language now?)

Secondly it's not clear it ever had a niche in the ecosystem that was evolving. No one knows what they'd want it for, and its solution was to try to be too many different things with no-one understanding any of them.

Perl's strength was it was a light-weight scripting language that was enough like C that C programmers could learn it trivially, but had great built-in string and regex processing for munging documents and creating reports etc.

Great niche. Great product. Great fit.

Once machines got fast enough to do serious work with scripting languages though, a whole bunch of other scripting languages popped up that were "better". Python and Ruby were as easy as Perl, but more concise, and more obviously suited for the kind of OO application building that people had previously been doing in C++ and Java.

PHP was all the strengths of Perl, but with the extra convenience of being baked into your web server and being embeddable in HTML. (And available by default from every cheap hosting provider you could imagine.)

Suddenly talk was of Perl6 providing sophisticated new language features. But we already had a bunch of functional programming languages that had been doing these "advanced" things for years. And in a more principled way. Now that computers were fast people could be writing server-side applications in Lisp and Erlang and Haskell. Whatever exciting new language features Perl6 is adding it's hard to believe that it will be more elegant and powerful than Erlang or Haskell or Racket or Clojure.

Meanwhile, Javascript is now rampant in the scripting language space : challenging even previous successes like Python and Ruby. Today, Javascript is everything that the average Perl programmer ever wanted : a C-like language that's trivially easy to use, and has built-in regexes. And garbage collects. And it now runs fine on the command-line. And has a tonne of libraries. Javascript just IS the "better Perl" that some people were looking for. It has that niche completely sewn up.

Whatever Perl6 adds that goes beyond Javascript is NOT the stuff that 99% of Perl programmers really cared about. I adapted myself fine to Perl's sigils and Scalar and Array contexts etc. But since I swapped Perl for Python in 2002 I can't say I've missed them once.

tl;dr : It seems like Perl6 was written because various people in the Perl community felt that they ought to be evolving / rewriting the language somehow but without any definite goal of where they wanted to go or why. Embarking on a huge project (including a total rewrite) without any end goal is usually a recipe for disaster.