Parrot has comprehensive support for I/O, threads, and events. These three systems are interrelated, so we’ll treat them together. The systems we talk about in this section are less mature than other parts of the engine, so they may change by the time we roll out the final design and implementation.
Parrot’s base I/O system is fully asynchronous I/O with callbacks and per-request private data. Since this is massive overkill in many cases, we have a plain vanilla synchronous I/O layer that your programs can use if they don’t need the extra power.
Asynchronous I/O is conceptually pretty simple. Your program makes an I/O request. The system takes that request and returns control to your program, which keeps running. Meanwhile the system works on satisfying the I/O request. When the request is satisfied, the system notifies your program in some way. Since there can be multiple requests outstanding, and you can’t be sure exactly what your program will be doing when a request is satisfied, programs that make use of asynchronous I/O can be complex.
Synchronous I/O is even simpler. Your program makes a request to the system and then waits until that request is done. There can be only one request in process at a time, and you always know what you’re doing (waiting) while the request is being processed. It makes your program much simpler, since you don’t have to do any sort of coordination or synchronization.
The big benefit of asynchronous I/O systems is ...