Wednesday, July 26, 2006

OSCON: Day One

Adam and I missed our plane last night and had to catch a later one, so we didn't get in until around 11. We met Thai at the redline and traveled to our hotels. Adam and I were staying at the Doubletree, but Thai was staying elsewhere so we split up at the platform. David had already arrived with his family earlier in the week, and Nick was supposed to have flown in earlier in the day. We were all here as representatives of Shopzilla, who is a sponsor of the event.

After a good night's sleep Adam and I got up and walked through town to the convention center. After a brief stop for registration and a cursory visit to the Shopzilla booth, I hustled off to my first talk, which was a presentation on Parrot grammar and rules given by Patrick Michaud. Parrot is a virtual-machine designed for powering dynamic languages. It was originally (and still is) created for Perl6.

I was surprised and impressed at how easy it is to write parsers using PGC, the Parser Grammar Compiler. I have heard many conflicting repors of Parrot's health, but this talk was quite encouraging. Patrick showed us an implementation of the BC grammar in PGC, and I found it to be very easy to understand. It's nice to know the next generation of Perl technology won't be beyond me. I was also excited to see that there's a Ruby/Parrot implementation coming along as well. He even showed us a bit of the fledgling Perl6 grammar.

Overall this was a highly encouraging talk. I had been following Perl6/Parrot development a bit, but I think I will have to download a copy of the Parrot source and muck around a bit. Plus Patrick will be discussing the Perl6 compiler tomorrow. Don't want to miss that.

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