Weeks 32 and 33:

Last week I got distracted by an ear infection and productivity plummeted, and when I recovered near the end of the week I didn’t want to write the blog post for monday and ignore everything that happened since, nor did I want to write a blog post on friday and have almost nothing to write about the next monday!

So now I’ll give you a blog post covering two weeks instead of just one. Here we go!

  • Mouq has started implementing the ** (called the HyperWhatever), which is like the Whatever Star, except for lists of values rather than individual values (the regular Whatever Star works like this: @names.map: *.uc)
  • Mouq, with input from TimToady, has also started working on making Lists of Lists work to spec, which is an especially nice thing to have in array slices. It means you can have a two-dimensional array and get the second entry of each inner array like @twodim[*;1].
  • Last monday was the “soft pencils down” date for the GSoC. At that day, the moar-jit branch got merged into master, as it’s rather stable now and Configure.pl will build a jit-less MoarVM by default still (use –enable-jit to get a jit-enabled build instead).
  • A whole bunch more ops have been implemented for jitting. Mostly by brrt and Jnthn, but I added a few myself, too. I don’t recall when exactly it happened, but On-Stack-Replacement interacts properly with the JIT now and the JIT can handle extops, too. Handlers, which used to trip up spesh, are functional with spesh and JIT, as well, but I think that has already been the case ~2 weeks ago.
  • The most obvious thing still missing from the jit is support for a bunch of different “param” accessor ops. brrt is still looking for the most efficient way to jit them. After those are done, I expect a tremendous amount of frames that are currently bailing out will be jitted (either “further” or “to completion”).
  • Jnthn implemented asynchronous process spawning and communicating to stdin/stdout/stderr on MoarVM, which is a feature he’ll be giving a talk on during the YAPC::EU in Sofia at the end of this week.
  • Froggs has continued pushing Slang support in Perl 6 further and further. His port of v5 from being NQP code to being pure Perl 6 code is progressing nicely and has just reached the point where the Perl 6 version passes a third of the tests the NQP version used to pass.
  • lizmat nuked eval_dies_ok and eval_lives_ok from the specs, as they are likely to be used incorrectly (local subs and variables are not always available in the eval’d code, as the optimizer is free to turn lexicals into locals and thus hide them from eval). She’s now busy replacing all the uses with direct uses of EVAL in the spectests. A few spectests have already turned out to have been relying on some eval’d code dying, but the code was dying for the wrong reason, thus giving a false positive test result.
  • Jnthn changed both the annotation API and the children node API of the QAST objects, causing fewer allocations (no childrens array for leaf nodes, no annotation hash for annotation-less nodes).
  • Also, Jnthn threw out a “middle man” datastructure that was created and shortly thereafter thrown away and turned into a different datastructure on every single successful match or sub-match. An equivalent change is still needed in rakudo, but having the change in NQP already makes build times better.
  • On top of that, more kinds of things are now lazily deserialized in MoarVM, making start-up faster and cheaper on RAM yet again.
  • sergot posted a nice nearly-end-of-GSoC post on his HTTP::UserAgent and friends project, which includes a bunch of documentation (to be found in the actual HTTP::UserAgent repository itself).
  • I re-ordered code in the library loader that used to cause a whole bunch of stat calls on locations in the libpath for libraries that were already cached! Now the cache is looked at before the filesystem is searched through.
  • japhb has been improving perl6-bench for better windows compatibility and made the history comparison less prone to exaggerated scores from some of the microbenchmarks – the JVM implementation makes really, really short work of empty loops!
  • hoelzro is continuously working on improving the ability to attach documentation to objects like classes, roles, attributes, … in the S26-WHY branch.
  • pmurias is working on a refactor/rewrite of the nqp-js code emitter which leads to better code output, support for “source maps” and other nice things.
  • nwc10 has been a tremendous help for regularly running the newest MoarVM and JIT changes through ASAN (address sanitization) and valgrind for us.
  • lichtkind has resurfaced and worked on the tablets again.
  • TimToady gave pushing a list into another a big speed boost for bigger lists by un-lazying the list that is to be pushed.
  • Another change TimToady did was to give dynamic variables a little cache so that lookups would happen quite a bit quicker and be cheaper in general.
  • donaldh found out what made one of the later stages in Rakudo-JVM’s (and nqp-jvm’s) compilation processes so terribly slow and fixed it. In rakudo’s core setting compilation, stage jast used to take as long as stage parse, now it’s down to about a tenth of that. This impacts every single run of rakudo and nqp, not just the initial build.
  • psch improved some error messages in regexes. Also, some improvements to m:g// and s:g/// are in the pipeline for a later date.
  • PerlJam fixed some problems with floating point numbers and scientific notation in sprintf.

So that’s pretty much it. A whole bunch of nice changes, I must say.

A release is coming up this week, on Thursday if I remember correctly. Unfortunately last month’s Rakudo Star release isn’t finished yet; we’ll see if it will be released later or if the work that has gone into preparing last month’s Star release will just be ported over to the upcoming version directly.


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