2015.08 – A Release, a Star and still picking up more speed

Release

Last week lizmat did a Rakudo release and on Saturday moritz did a Rakudo Star release (grab it on rakudo.org or get hoelzro/rakudo-star off the docker registry). Since the release happened on Thursday, a few of the changes mentioned in this blogpost are already part of the latest release.

Speed Improvements

This week I did a little contribution to performance as well! I made Bool.pick() (and Bool.roll()) 2x as fast and stumbled upon a problem in the compiler’s inlining decision-making that I’ve been chasing down over the last few evenings… But lizmat did a lot more than me, just like last week: Str.trans with single letter strings is now 2x as fast and Str.subst(Str, Str, :global) is 12x faster! There’s an additional gain of between 10% and 30% if you use Str.trans for replacing a number of characters with a single character. There’s also a tiny startup time improvement, but I didn’t measure it yet.

NativeCall improvements

FROGGS landed a branch that adds a “nativesizeof” op that will give you the size of … well, things 🙂

Later this week we’ll probably see support for unions (finally!) and a proper Pointer[…] role that’ll allow control over inlined vs non-inlined structs and unions in other structs.

Another branch that’s in the works, but will not be ready for merge this week, is “cpp”, which allows you to bind C++ classes. Currently only the name mangling scheme of gcc is supported, but it probably works with clang, too. Later on, more support will probably land.

Documentation changes

Many people have – rightfully – complained that documentation is still kind of weak for Perl 6. Thankfully, ptc and moritz have been busy (and not just this week)! Check out the latest state of the documentation or look at the recent changes. If there’s anything wrong or missing, feel free to drop by on IRC and report, or open an issue on github.

Miscellaneous fixes and changes

brrt fixed a bug where MoarVM’s file copy routine would stop copying data after 2gb.

Cool stuff in the ecosystem

There’s been a module called “Inline::Perl5” for a while now. It allows you to import and use modules written in perl5 in your Perl 6 program. There’s also “Inline::Python” which is basically the same thing but with Python instead of perl5. Both also allow you to derive Perl 6 classes from classes in the inlined language and then derive from Perl 6 classes in the inlined language.

Now there’s also “Inline::Perl6” – though I’m not sure if it allows the same subclassing thing I’ve described in the previous paragraph.

Those three modules were made by nine, but now there’s also “Inline::Lua” by raydiak.

It seems like Perl 6 is becoming quite useful as a glue language between many other languages. I wonder what Inline::$lang will be next! I heard rumors of Inline::AWK 🙂

There’s also a new interesting Slang out there now. It’s called Slang::Piersing and allows identifiers (like method names) to end in ! or ? (Technically that was the week before, but I neglected to cover it back then).

Miscellaneous

moritz added a new command to our lovely irc eval bot camelia that automatically uploads a profile of the snippet to the web. Here’s moritz’ blog post about this feature.

Ovid is praising subset types and gradual typing as found in Perl 6 in his blog post titled “Avoid a Common Software Bug By Using Perl 6“.

David Golden shares his “Thoughts on getting Perl 6 for Christmas” on his blog. Both positive and negative. He’s got a few good points as well as worries. I have a few notes on that post:

  • We are aware of the up-to-dateness problem of documentation – that it’s hard to see whether or not something is still relevant or correct. The “Perl 5 to Perl 6” guide on moritz’ website (as linked to in the first paragraph) does have old dates in it, but it has been checked for correctness as recently as last September.
  • The “composable concurrency” talk is still relevant, though things have changed names (“Supply” instead of “Observable”, “start” instead of “async”, “vow” instead of “keeper”, …)
  • A brief survey of the Perl 6 IRC channel shows that nobody seems to know what “Synchronization” was even meant to refer to in the feature matrix. Given that we’ve got Locks and Semaphores and stuff implemented, I’m also not sure why it has a +/- entry.

All right, that’s it from me for this week. Have a pleasant Last Week Of February, everyone!

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