July 9, 2003
New Book Offers Sneak Preview of the Perl 6 Project: O'Reilly Releases "Perl 6 Essentials"
Sebastopol, CA--Perl programmers anticipate the release of Perl 6 with
both excitement and dread. Excitement, because it will infuse their
well loved but aging language with a new life, and dread because much
of what they've learned will have to be relearned. In spite of Perl's
many strengths, certain elements of its original hacking-community
nature have hindered its evolution, creating a high barrier of entry
for newcomers who might want to contribute and making it difficult for
sweeping changes in the language to take place. Moreover, the basic
core module no longer reflects how most users expect to use Perl out of
the box, lacking support for databases, HTML, XML, and other basic
features that many new users would expect to find. So, change is due.
And, while the anything-goes creative philosophy and good-humored fun
of Perl are sure to remain, everything else in the language is being
re-examined, picked apart, and recreated.
Perl 6 Essentials by Allison Randal, Dan Sugalski, and Leopold Totsch
(O'Reilly, US $24.95) offers a sneak preview of Perl 6, covering the
development of Perl 6 syntax as well as Parrot, the
language-independent virtual machine developed as part of the Perl 6
design strategy. Written by members of the Perl 6 core development
team, the book looks at each 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. The book will satisfy
their curiousity and show how the changes in the language will make
Perl more powerful and easier to use.
"We're about midway through the Perl 6 project right now," says
coauthor Randal. "There's a lot of interest in the subject, but no
usable product. People want to know what the language will be like, so
they can prepare for the changes. They want to know the inner workings
of the project so they can make meaningful contributions. 'Perl 6
Essentials' explains what's knowable about Perl 6 right now."
"Perl 6 Essentials" begins with a high-level overview of the Perl 6
project, along with some history of why and how the project was
started. Then, it goes on to provide more detail on the life cycles in
the project, with information on how programmers can get involved
themselves. Other topics include:
the principles behind Perl 6 design work
an introduction to Perl 6 syntax
a look at the overall architecture of Parrot
an introduction to Parrot assembly language
an introduction to Parrot's Intermediate Code Compiler
"Perl 6 Essentials" is the only book to provide an in-depth look at the
development of the new Perl language while it's still in flux. This
book is essential reading for anyone committed to the Perl community.
Perl 6 Essentials
Allison Randal, Dan Sugalski, and Leopold Totsch
ISBN 0-596-00499-0, 195 pages, $24.95 US, $38.95 CA, 17.50 UK
O'Reilly Media spreads the knowledge of innovators through its books, online services, magazines, and conferences. Since 1978, O'Reilly Media has been a chronicler and catalyst of cutting-edge development, homing in on the technology trends that really matter and spurring their adoption by amplifying "faint signals" from the alpha geeks who are creating the future. An active participant in the technology community, the company has a long history of advocacy, meme-making, and evangelism.
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