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Ask HN: Is Perl 6 / Raku worth learning?
10 points by electricant 20 days ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 12 comments
I have an old script updating some DNS record of mine which is buggy and starting to show its age. I have two options:

1) Fix it

2) Rewrite it and learn a new language

My choice was leaning towards 2). What do you think about Perl 6 / Raku?




Raku would be an excellent choice for that, because programming in Raku can be fun, see e.g.: https://medium.com/linux-plus-plus/linux-may-10-2020-c095b66...

Don't expect to be able find a full-time job in Raku just yet. But more experienced developers will always be better paid than developers that haven't looked beyond their side of the hill.


Thanks for the reference. I'm not looking for a job, it's just for scratching my own itch.


Definitely it's worth a shot.

You'll love the language.

It's very expressive and flexible. The community is super friendly.

If you're into more serious things, there are some projects you might like.

For example cro - framework to develop web APIs.

As for production readiness - I have used the language at my devops @job for a couple of years.

Best.

Aleksei


Interesting and +1 to the question, what do you guys think?

I'm still planning to look into Perl 6. What I like about Perl 5.x is its high out-of-the box availability (ie: no need to ask sysadmin to allow/install Ruby, Node etc..), so I find ideal for some basic automation scripts.

However, I have never really managed to get used to its (Perl 5's) syntax. I can create, initialize and iterate through a map/'hash table' in C++ without looking up the docs. Perl... is different, I have a hard time making its idioms stick. I am curious as to whether Perl 6 brings big changes syntax-wise and whether I can expect it to be overall more intuitive (not in general, but for this one programmer that is.)


    my %hash-table = (
      abc => 1,
      def => 2,
    );

    for %hash-table {
      say .key, ' => ', .value;
    }
You can also use sub-signature deparsing.

    for %hash-table -> $ (:$key, :$value) {
      say "$key => $value"
    }
That may take a while to get used to.

You don't have to use it, but it is a very powerful feature so it is definitely worth learning.

---

Really the most difficult thing seems to be that people aren't expecting Raku to be as consistent as it is. I think that is because most languages aren't.

For example you may expect this to work

    for @array -> $element {
      say $element
    }
but you wouldn't necessarily expect this to work

    if $var.method() -> $result {
      say $result
    }
In fact all keywords of the form `KEYWORD CONDITION {BLOCK}` will work with a pointy block.

You can also create a lambda using the same exact pointy block syntax.

    my &multiply = -> $a, $b { $a * $b }

    say multiply 4, 5; # 20
---

Also the signature part of a pointy block is exactly the same as a subroutine signature, and a method signature.

You can even create an anonymous signature object.

    :( $foo, $bar )
(There aren't a lot of uses for it though.)

---

I still get surprised sometimes with how consistent Raku is.


This is a really good explanation, thank you.

Too late to look into Perl 6 :-) It has been renamed to Raku (https://raku.org using the #rakulang tag on social media).


I stand updated! ;-)


Raku is cool if you want to learn some new paradigms that other languages might copy too. Perl would be a more suitable choice if you were looking for a language that might be used for job search right now.


My strategy for deciding whether a language is worth learning is to ask yourself what problems is the language solving. My understanding is that Perl 6 has no major advantages over the other general-purpose languages and is fairly niche and I expect it to remain so.

From a profitability standpoint, your time is better invested into getting better at whatever language you'er currently using or learn a new language that will give you more career opportunities. Learning a niche language that has no major selling points over the major existing languages is a pure waste of time that will never pay off.


> Perl 6 has no major advantages

- proper support for Unicode graphemes for example, a CRLF is a single grapheme in Raku

- lots of syntax for handling parallelisation and concurrency promises, start blocks, react whenever, supplies

- improved regular expressions and grammars whitespace insignificant, grammars are subclassable modules

- improved maintainability in production envirionments multiple versions of a library can be installed at the same time and can be addressed from code separately, since all imports are always lexical

To name but a few features that most other languages do not have.


I fully expect that Raku will be as influential a language as Perl was before it.

---

JavaScript has a `"use strict"` mode, that was copied from Perl5.

PowerShell has a `$_` variable that was copied from Perl.

Every language that has a regular expression engine that it comes with has Perl to thank/blame.

---

Raku has a fair few neat ideas that it would be a shame if no one copied them into other languages.




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