Thursday, December 10, 2009


pmichaud and I and a few others are trying out the latest parrot compiler tools to see if we can create up with a version of partcl that is more maintainable, and will benefit more directly from toolchain improvements that target rakudo (Perl 6 on parrot) and other languages.

The base tool for this is NQP-rx; it's a small compiler for a subset of Perl 6 that targets PIR; It provides a much improved syntax over PIR, even when calling PIR itself - it provides a lot more sugar.

This means that nearly all of the handrolled PIR that was created is no longer needed. There are few cases where it is, and that is pushing development of NPQ-rx so that we can eliminate that PIR and rewrite it NQP.

Currently, there are currently two NQP-rx grammars, one for the language itself, and one for the tcl-specific regular expression language (ARE).

While the ARE is a work in progress (bits are added as needed to pass tests), adding this at all would have been very painful in old partcl (which currently relies on the perl5-like expression engine available via PGE in parrot.) We'll be adding more grammars for globbing, and probably the [format] and [binary] mini-languages as well.

The builtins (that are done) are now all written in NQP - and not having to write them in assembly (even macro'd assembly) makes them much shorter, easier to understand and maintain.

Big Goals:
  1. pass all the tcl based tests written for partcl (Already running 12 of the original all-tcl tests)
  2. start running the spec tests again.
  3. pass almost as many spec tests as partcl...
At which point this new version will become the primary version.

If you're interested in Tcl, parrot, or Perl 6, check us out. There are plenty of small bits of NQP that can be written, and I'd be happy for the help. If you know Tcl but not Perl 6, or Perl 6, but not Tcl, doesn't matter, you can contribute. ^_^

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