Using Perl 6 official documentation
Documenting a large language like Perl 6 has to balance several contradictory goals, such as being brief whilst being comprehensive, catering to professional developers with wide experience whilst also being accessible to newcomers to the language.
For a quick hands-on introduction, there is a short
annotated programming example.
For programmers with experience in other languages, there are a number of Migration guides that compare and contrast the features of Perl 6 with other languages.
A number of Tutorials cover several areas in which Perl 6 is particularly innovative. The section headers should help navigate the remaining documents.
There are a number of
useful resources listed elsewhere on the perl6.org site. These include articles, books, slide presentations, and videos.
It has been found that newcomers to Perl 6 often ask questions that indicate assumptions carried over from other programming paradigms. It is suggested that the following sections in the
Fundamental topics section should be reviewed first.
Signatures- each routine, which includes subroutines and methods, has a signature. Understanding the information given in the signature of a
methodprovides a quick way to grasp the operation and effect of the routine.
Containers- variables, which are like the nouns of a computer language, are containers in which information is stored. The first letter in the formal name of a container, such as the '$' of $my-variable, or '@' of @an-array-of-things, or '%' of %the-scores-in-the-competition, conveys information about the container. However, Perl 6 is more abstract than other languages about what can be stored in a container. So, for example, a $scalar container can contain an object that is in fact an array.
Classes and Roles- Perl 6 is fundamentally based on objects, which are described in terms of classes and roles. Perl 6, unlike some languages, does not impose object-oriented programming practices, and useful programs can be written as if Perl 6 was purely procedural in nature. However, complex software, such as the Rakudo compiler of Perl 6, is made much simpler by writing in object-oriented idioms, which is why the Perl 6 documentation is more easily understood by reviewing what a class is and what a role is. Without understanding about classes and roles, it would be difficult to understand types, to which a whole section of the documentation is devoted.
Traps to Avoid- Several common assumptions lead to code that does not work as the programmer intended. This section identifies some of them. It is worth reviewing when something doesn't quite work out.