July 29, 2004

"Perl 6 and Parrot Essentials": An Inside Glimpse at a Work in Progress

Sebastopol, CA--There's a certain fascination in watching a work in progress. When you observe a building under construction, for instance, you may be able to visualize the form that it will eventually take, but there are likely to be some surprises along the way. There may be unexpected features, or a few pleasing touches here and there. Whether the end result ultimately does justice to the development process is something that will have to be determined, but studying the construction itself is an intellectual and creative exercise that lends an added element of interest to whatever emerges. The creation of a programming language is much the same, and fascinated viewers have watched the making of Perl 6 unfold with great interest. In Perl 6 and Parrot Essentials (O'Reilly, US $29.95) by Allison Randal, Dan Sugalski, and Leopold Totsch, Perl programmers and others are offered an unparalleled sneak-preview of the development of Perl 6.

Perl 6 and Parrot Essentials is an introduction to the latest in-progress technology of Perl 6, including an insider's look by authors who are members of the core development team. The preview goes beyond the Perl 6 syntax to include succinct but thorough coverage of groundbreaking new developments in Parrot, the language-independent virtual machine created as part of Perl 6. Parrot can be used to interpret other dynamic languages such as Python, Tcl, Ruby, and even Java.

The book offers an explanation of the various stages of the project with reference material for programmers who are interested in the planned changes or who want to contribute to the project. As the authors explain, "Perl 6 isn't far enough along to support a book on the level of Programming Perl. However, as development goes on, we've found that the accumulated lore of the past few years is quite an entry barrier for new people. This book is a snapshot of the current status, designed to ease that first step. It covers the project through Apocalypse 12 and 0.1.0 release of Parrot."

As stated, Perl 6 and Parrot Essentials reveals the most revolutionary change in the language itself: Apocalypse 12 on objects. The Apocalypse design documents explain significant changes in the new Perl 6 features, numbered according to the chapters in O'Reilly's Programming Perl, or Camel book. Apocalypse 12 is the result of cutting-edge research in object-oriented languages and is guaranteed to grab the attention of any serious Perl programmer. The book also includes expanded coverage of Apocalypse 5 (regular expressions) and Apocalypse 6 (subroutines).

The earlier edition of this book, Perl 6 Essentials, was the first book to offer a peek into the next version of the Perl language. This new edition goes even further into the exciting code and new language features that are the future of Perl. Perl 6 and Parrot Essentials will both whet and satisfy the curiosity of interested observers of the project, showing how changes in the language will make Perl more powerful and easier to use.

Additional Resources:

Perl 6 and Parrot Essentials
Allison Randal, Dan Sugalski, and Leopold Totsch
ISBN 0-596-00737-X, 279 pages, $29.95 US, $43.95 CA
1-800-998-9938; 1-707-827-7000

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