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Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Been away for a while

I've been quite absent from all things Parrot in recent weeks. Work and other engagements have been keeping me occupied, and the advent of spring has motivated my family and myself to spend more time outdoors. My son, who has started teething, has the same threshold for deciding to put things into his mouth as the Perl 6 language designers have for putting features into their language: "Doesn't matter what it is, jam it in there!". But I jest.

A lot has happened in Parrot-land since I fell off the edge of the world. Parrot 2.3 was released to much fanfare, as always. Allison fixed TT #389, though her strategy was different from what chromatic and I thought was necessary. So long as it works and there are no more bugs, I'm happy to see it closed by any means. TT #389 is one of our older bugs, stemming all the way back to the first Parrot Developer Summit in 2008. It has certainly been a large pain to Rakudo developers in particular.

Bacek and chromatic also put together an implementation of immutable strings, and following the 2.3 release merged it into trunk. Immutable strings have some performance advantages, but also as was quickly found, some performance drawbacks. Specifically, string append operations can be a little bit more expensive because a new buffer needs to be allocated instead of resizing one of the argument buffers in place. A strategy to get around that, which many of our developers have been pursuing is to reduce the number of append operations.

The issue of version control software has been bubbling up to the surface again, and a long thread appeared on the mailing list yesterday after some lengthy chats on IRC. If I can continue clawing my way out of my little isolation hole and make another post this week, I would like to discuss that topic a little bit more.

GSoC students also got selected this week. I'll have plenty to post about that in the coming days and week.

I'm the release manager for 2.4 coming out on May 18th.  Hopefully it's going to be a good one!

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