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Learn more Perl 5 now or wait for 6*

by ybiC (Prior)
on May 07, 2002 at 16:36 UTC ( #164704=perlmeditation: print w/replies, xml ) Need Help??

I think that I've a reasonable grasp of Perl 5 fundamentals and maybe a bit more.   Countless hours with nose buried in O'Reilly/Manning/Addison-Wesley books, eyes glued to a CRT osmosing the monqular (monachal**) wisdom, or glomming unending xterms of perldoc, with fingers flying over my trusty trackpoint have all brought me to this point.

Of course, the more I learn, it's increasingly obvious how much I *don't* know.   Which raises a question - as a non-programmer intermediate perler, am I better off continuing to delve deeper into the Perl 5 idiom, or waiting for Perl 6 to release?   If I wait for 6, that should make for less old stuff to unlearn.   On the other hand, not even Larry knows how long that might be - 3 month, 2 years... ?   FWIW, threads like Translating Perl5 to Perl6. and Perl 6 will primarily be: and Exegesis 4 and Perl 6 are significantly enlightening, but my question still remains.

Perhaps a bit of context will help frame this broad topic:
I've recently begun writing perl modules, and expect that learning use of hashrefs and writing OO would fit right in.   If Perl 6 weren't coming down the pike somewhere in the near future, I'd dig right in to begin learning of such.   I may anyway, but would like to hear others' opinions first.

So... what do the wise (breth|sist)ren think?   Keep in mind that some of us ride the short bus to the Monastery, and must conserve our mental faculties lest we suffer this dire fate.
    striving toward Perl Adept <br '>    (it's pronounced "why-bick")

*props to cjf for da title and nodalic inspiration
** and to mdillon for most excellent vocabularity

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Re: Learn more Perl5 now or wait for Perl6
by Joost (Canon) on May 07, 2002 at 16:51 UTC
    Learn more.

    The concepts (OO, Hashrefs etc etc etc) will still be there, even if the syntax will change a bit. The challenging part of learning to code is not learning syntax, but learning the concepts - and when (not) to use them.

    The changes when porting from perl 5 to perl 6 will be superficial. The real new stuff will just be new - you won't have to 'unlearn' it, just learn it when it comes.

    -- Joost downtime n. The period during which a system is error-free and immune from user input.
Re: Learn more Perl5 now or wait for Perl6
by VSarkiss (Monsignor) on May 07, 2002 at 16:54 UTC

    I think there'll be more overlap than you think. Your Perl 5 knowledge will serve you well when you pick up Perl 6. I think knowing more Perl 5 will make the transition easier, not harder.

    For instance, the syntax of hash refs may change from $h->{foo} to $h.{foo} (I think ;-) but not the fundamental notions behind hash refs. Similarly, becoming better at Perl 5 OO programming should directly improve your Perl 6 OO programming. The fundamental concepts won't change, only the details.

    That said, it's also true that some areas will change more than others. If you haven't picked up formats, for instance, you may want to wait until the appropriate apocalypse. XSUB programming is another area whose changes are unclear. But overall, I'd recommend to dive right in, and plan for the transition only when you feel the need.

Re: Learn more Perl5 now or wait for Perl6
by jwest (Friar) on May 07, 2002 at 16:55 UTC
    Personally, I'm going to focus my efforts on bettering my programming in general, with little regard to the tool I use to express myself.

    And I'll start learning Perl 6 as soon as it's released.

    Ducking the question,

    -><- -><- -><- -><- -><-
    All things are Perfect
        To every last Flaw
        And bound in accord
             With Eris's Law
     - HBT; The Book of Advice, 1:7
Re: Learn more Perl 5 now or wait for 6*
by pdcawley (Hermit) on May 08, 2002 at 09:18 UTC
    Learn more about perl 5 now and wait for perl 6. While you're about about it try learning more about C, scheme, lisp, Smalltalk, Java, Python, Ruby, Prolog, The shell, kernel architecture, zen and the art of motorcycle maintainance, data structures and algorithms, the music of Bob Dylan, and anything (or everything) else that interests you.

    You're not going to regret it.

    Slightly less flippantly, anything you do to learn about your craft is worth doing; you can pick up really useful and important stuff in the weirdest of places. Admittedly, Dylan's not going to do much for your Perl programming, but maybe he'll do something for your understanding of human nature and the rest of the world around you. Which is no bad thing. Or maybe he won't. Ah well, at least the journey was interesting.

Re: Learn more Perl 5 now or wait for 6*
by cjf (Parson) on May 08, 2002 at 12:51 UTC

    Perl 6 sounds like it's still a fair way off, and 5 will be around for a long time after 6 arrives, so continuing to learn Perl 5 is definately not a lost cause. That said, I don't know of anyone who doesn't have additional things to learn as well.

    Using myself as an example, I feel I have a decent grasp of Perl 5 basics. I still don't know 94 ways to use unpack, and don't intend to spend time learning them anytime soon. This isn't to say that I wouldn't value that knowledge, only that there are other areas I'd rather learn more about first.

    I can quickly look up most parts of Perl 5 that I don't understand very well as I need them. As for broader concepts such as programming theory, I believe learning other languages contributes more to my understanding than learning Perl in greater detail would.

    So, as I see it, my current level of Perl knowledge is good enough that learning Perl 5 isn't my highest priority anymore. This may be different for you depending on how extensively you use Perl, how well you know it, and what other areas you're interested in learning more about.

Re: Learn more Perl 5 now or wait for 6*
by krujos (Curate) on May 08, 2002 at 14:36 UTC
    The more you learn now about perl, and more importantly programming in genral the easier it will be for you to learn perl 6. The time it will take you to pick up perl 6 will also be significantly less if you continue to improve your skills.

    -- my $0.02

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