The Perl Foundation has released Perl 5.10, the first new version in five years of a programming language with an emphasis on rough-and-ready practicality over syntactical formality.
The new version has some features designed to make programming a notch easier, according to the announcement last week. Among those features is a "say" command that eases some text-output chores, a "switch" operator to send a program in various directions depending on different situations, and improvements to the all-important "regular expression" methods for handling text. The Perl interpreter, which runs Perl programs, also is faster and requires less memory, the foundation said.
The official list of changes is available at the Comprehensive Perl Archive Network.
"Perl 5 and Perl 6 will stay in dual development. Perl 5 has such a huge installed base, it won't be going away any time soon after Perl," he said.
Perl founder Larry Wall initially announced Perl 6 in 2000, and development is still under way. For somewhat technical discussion of the differences between Perl 5 and 6, try reading this O'Reilly Media piece.
"I suspect that one implementation will win out as 'the' implementation," Lester said.
Perl 6 today is "still sort of a big research project," Lester said, but some of its elements, including the "say" command and the regular-expression features were retrofitted to 5.10.