Most Perl 6 will look like Perl 5

Matt Johnson mwj at
Fri Jan 25 13:20:40 GMT 2008

On Fri, 25 Jan 2008, Ovid wrote:

> Because experienced Perl programmers don't notice it, but it's one of
> the biggest sources of confusion for programmers learning the language.
> Randal's commented about how they restructured Stonehenge training
> classes to work around student confusion regarding the sigil (this has
> shown up in the llama book).  It's a shame that such a core feature of
> the language has confused so many people, so Perl 6 attempts to get
> around one of our biggest stumbling blocks.

I can understand that it might well trip up coders in other scripting 
languages. But, in my (admittedly limited) experience of running 
beginner's Perl short courses (we're talking 2nd year undergrads here), 
there's certainly a bit of head-scratching for about 15 minutes when 
we say "to get a single element out of @array we use the syntax 
$array[0]", but once they've seen a few examples and played with it they 
seem entirely happy.

It may not be unreasonable to suggest that our student constituency is 
"non-average" as far as Perl learners are concerned though. :-)

I agree it probably does enhance code readability overall. But, for 
long-term/expert programmers, I still this is just going to act 
as one fairly ginormous deterrent -- lots of "learned behaviour" to 
unlearn. That said...

> I suspect that going on would be akin to trying to
> explain to Republicans why they should have liked Bill Clinton (he had
> a record any Republic would have envied).

I suspect you're probably right there ;-)


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