Andrew Whitworth -- the fastest blogger in the East! -- has already blogged about our September 18 meeting in Fairless Hills, PA. He has received several responses to that post, as well as a more complete response from chromatic -- the fastest blogger in the West! whiteknight has responded in turn. Enjoy!
I'll let whiteknight, chromatic and others debate the question of Parrot's maturity -- or whether 'maturity' even makes sense in this context. Let me mention some ideas that came up during my conversation with Andrew last Saturday which he didn't dwell on in his blog post.
Whether or not Parrot is mature, I think most Parrot developers will agree that its design is incomplete. Our design is kept in Parrot Design Documents which appear in our repository in docs/pdds and docs/pdds/draft. 11 of our PDDs are sufficiently incomplete that they have never made it out of draft stage.
pdd01_overview.pod pdd10_embedding.pod pdd29_compiler_tools.pod pdd05_opfunc.pod pdd11_extending.pod pdd31_hll.pod pdd06_pasm.pod pdd14_numbers.pod pdd31_hll_interop.pod pdd08_keys.pod pdd16_native_call.pod
19 PDDs are official -- for some definition of 'official':
docs/pdds/pdd00_pdd.pod docs/pdds/pdd21_namespaces.pod docs/pdds/pdd03_calling_conventions.pod docs/pdds/pdd22_io.pod docs/pdds/pdd07_codingstd.pod docs/pdds/pdd23_exceptions.pod docs/pdds/pdd09_gc.pod docs/pdds/pdd24_events.pod docs/pdds/pdd13_bytecode.pod docs/pdds/pdd25_concurrency.pod docs/pdds/pdd15_objects.pod docs/pdds/pdd26_ast.pod docs/pdds/pdd17_pmc.pod docs/pdds/pdd27_multiple_dispatch.pod docs/pdds/pdd18_security.pod docs/pdds/pdd28_strings.pod docs/pdds/pdd19_pir.pod docs/pdds/pdd30_install.pod docs/pdds/pdd20_lexical_vars.pod
But Andrew suggested that quite a few of the 'official' PDDs are actually out-of-date and/or incomplete. They no longer reflect the current Parrot implementation. Andrew suggested that this poses problems both for Parrot developers -- they don't provide a guide for implementing as yet unimplemented Parrot subsystems -- and for Parrot users -- they don't provide a stable, mature API on which outside developers can build projects.
Andrew went on to wonder, Are the PDDs capable of being forward-facing documents which drive the implementation rather than reflecting (inadequately) what we have already done? Are the PDDs worth the time and effort needed to maintain them?
Neither Andrew nor I pretend to have answers to these questions. But these questions forced me to realize: I have never read all the PDDs. And I'm willing to bet that you, the reader of this post, haven't read them either!
So, I know that I'm going to have to start reading the PDDs and coming to my own judgment about their adequacy. I know I'll be discussing them with project architect Allison Randal. And before long I will probably be suggesting that we have a design committee to conduct a thorough study of our PDDs and to overhaul them where needed.