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NAME    [Toc]    [Back]

       perltodo - Perl TO-DO List

DESCRIPTION    [Toc]    [Back]

       This is a list of wishes for Perl.  Send updates to
       perl5-porters@perl.org.  If you want to work on any of
       these projects, be sure to check the perl5-porters
       archives for past ideas, flames, and propaganda.  This
       will save you time and also prevent you from implementing
       something that Larry has already vetoed.  One set of
       archives may be found at:


       Clean up and finish support for assertions. See assertions.

       Sarathy and Arthur have a proposal for an improved Copy On
       Write which specifically will be able to COW new ithreads.
       If this can be implemented it would be a good thing.

(?{...}) closures in regexps
       Fix (or rewrite) the implementation of the "/(?{...})/"

A re-entrant regexp engine    [Toc]    [Back]

       This will allow the use of a regex from inside (?{ }),
       (??{ }) and (?(?{ })|) constructs.

       lexical pragmas

       Reimplement the mechanism of lexical pragmas to be more
       extensible. Fix current pragmas that don't work well (or
       at all) with lexical scopes or in run-time eval(STRING)
       ("sort", "re", "encoding" for example). MJD has a preliminary
 patch that implements this.

       use less 'memory'

       Investigate trade offs to switch out perl's choices on
       memory usage.  Particularly perl should be able to give
       memory back.

prototypes and functions
       _ prototype character

       Study the possibility of adding a new prototype character,
       "_", meaning "this argument defaults to $_".
       inlining autoloaded constants

       Currently the optimiser can inline constants when
       expressed as subroutines with prototype ($) that return a
       constant. Likewise, many packages wrapping C libraries
       export lots of constants as subroutines which are
       AUTOLOADed on demand. However, these have no prototypes,
       so can't be seen as constants by the optimiser. Some way
       of cheaply (low syntax, low memory overhead) to the perl
       compiler that a name is a constant would be great, so that
       it knows to call the AUTOLOAD routine at compile time, and
       then inline the constant.

       Finish off lvalue functions    [Toc]    [Back]

       The old perltodo notes "They don't work in the debugger,
       and they don't work for list or hash slices."

Unicode and UTF8    [Toc]    [Back]

       Implicit Latin 1 => Unicode translation

       Conversions from byte strings to UTF-8 currently map high
       bit characters to Unicode without translation (or, depending
 on how you look at it, by implicitly assuming that the
       byte strings are in Latin-1). As perl assumes the C locale
       by default, upgrading a string to UTF-8 may change the
       meaning of its contents regarding character classes, case
       mapping, etc.  This should probably emit a warning (at

       UTF8 caching code    [Toc]    [Back]

       The string position/offset cache is not optional. It
       should be.

       Unicode in Filenames    [Toc]    [Back]

       chdir, chmod, chown, chroot, exec, glob, link, lstat,
       mkdir, open, opendir, qx, readdir, readlink, rename,
       rmdir, stat, symlink, sysopen, system, truncate, unlink,
       utime, -X.  All these could potentially accept Unicode
       filenames either as input or output (and in the case of
       system and qx Unicode in general, as input or output
       to/from the shell).  Whether a filesystem - an operating
       system pair understands Unicode in filenames varies.

       Known combinations that have some level of understanding
       include Microsoft NTFS, Apple HFS+ (In Mac OS 9 and X) and
       Apple UFS (in Mac OS X), NFS v4 is rumored to be Unicode,
       and of course Plan 9.  How to create Unicode filenames,
       what forms of Unicode are accepted and used (UCS-2,
       UTF-16, UTF-8), what (if any) is the normalization form
       used, and so on, varies.  Finding the right level of
       interfacing to Perl requires some thought.  Remember that
       an OS does not implicate a filesystem.

       (The Windows -C command flag "wide API support" has been
       at least temporarily retired in 5.8.1, and the -C has been
       repurposed, see perlrun.)

       Unicode in %ENV

       Currently the %ENV entries are always byte strings.

Regexps    [Toc]    [Back]

       regexp optimiser optional

       The regexp optimiser is not optional. It should configurable
 to be, to allow its performance to be measured, and
       its bugs to be easily demonstrated.

       common suffices/prefices in regexps (trie optimization)

       Currently, the user has to optimize "foo|far" and
       "foo|goo" into "f(?:oo|ar)" and "[fg]oo" by hand; this
       could be done automatically.

POD    [Toc]    [Back]

       POD -> HTML conversion still sucks

       Which is crazy given just how simple POD purports to be,
       and how simple HTML can be.

Misc medium sized projects    [Toc]    [Back]


       Introduce a new special block, UNITCHECK, which is run at
       the end of a compilation unit (module, file, eval(STRING)
       block). This will correspond to the Perl 6 CHECK. Perl 5's
       CHECK cannot be changed or removed because the O.pm/B.pm
       backend framework depends on it.

       optional optimizer

       Make the peephole optimizer optional.

       You WANT *how* many

       Currently contexts are void, scalar and list. split has a
       special mechanism in place to pass in the number of return
       values wanted. It would be useful to have a general mechanism
 for this, backwards compatible and little speed  hit.
       This would allow proposals such as short circuiting sort
       to be implemented as a module on CPAN.
       lexical aliases

       Allow lexical aliases (maybe via the syntax "my lias =

       no 6

       Make "no 6" and "no v6" work (opposite of "use 5.005",

       IPv6    [Toc]    [Back]

       Clean this up. Check everything in core works

       entersub XS vs Perl

       At the moment pp_entersub is huge, and has code to deal
       with entering both perl and and XS subroutines. Subroutine
       implementations rarely change between perl and XS at run
       time, so investigate using 2 ops to enter subs (one for
       XS, one for perl) and swap between if a sub is  redefined.

       @INC source filter to Filter::Simple

       The second return value from a sub in @INC can be a source
       filter. This isn't documented. It should be changed to use
       Filter::Simple, tested and documented.

       bincompat functions

       There are lots of functions which are retained for binary
       compatibility.  Clean these up. Move them to mathom.c, and
       don't compile for blead?

       Use fchown/fchmod internally

       The old perltodo notes "This has been done in places, but
       needs a thorough code review. Also fchdir is available in
       some platforms."

Tests    [Toc]    [Back]

       Make Schwern poorer

       Tests for everything, At which point Schwern coughs up
       $500 to TPF.

       test B

       A test suite for the B module would be nice.

       Improve tests for Config.pm    [Toc]    [Back]

       Config.pm doesn't appear to be well tested.
       common test code for timed bailout

       Write portable self destruct code for tests to stop them
       burning CPU in infinite loops. Needs to avoid using alarm,
       as some of the tests are testing alarm/sleep or timers.

Installation    [Toc]    [Back]

       compressed man pages

       Be able to install them

       Make Config.pm cope with differences between build and    [Toc]    [Back]
       installed perl

       Relocatable perl    [Toc]    [Back]

       Make it possible to create a relocatable perl binary. Will
       need some collusion with Config.pm. We could use a syntax
       of ... for location of current binary?

       make HTML install work

       put patchlevel in -v

       Currently perl from p4/rsync ships with a patchlevel.h
       file that usually defines one local patch, of the form
       "MAINT12345" or "RC1". The output of perl -v doesn't
       report that a perl isn't an official release, and this
       information can get lost in bugs reports. Because of this,
       the minor version isn't bumped up util RC time, to minimise
 the possibility of versions of perl escaping that
       believe themselves to be newer than they actually are.

       It would be useful to find an elegant way to have the
       "this is an interim maintenance release" or "this is a
       release candidate" in the terse -v output, and have it so
       that it's easy for the pumpking to remove this just as the
       release tarball is rolled up. This way the version pulled
       out of rsync would always say "I'm a development release"
       and it would be safe to bump the reported minor version as
       soon  as a release ships, which would aid perl developers.

Incremental things    [Toc]    [Back]

       Some tasks that don't need to get done in one big hit.


       Make all autovivification consistent w.r.t LVALUE/RVALUE
       and strict/no strict;
       fix tainting bugs

       Fix the bugs revealed by running the test suite with the
       "-t" switch (via "make test.taintwarn").

       Make tainting consistent    [Toc]    [Back]

       Tainting would be easier to use if it didn't take documented
 shortcuts and allow taint to "leak" everywhere
       within an expression.

       Dual life everything    [Toc]    [Back]

       As part of the "dists" plan, anything that doesn't belong
       in the smallest perl distribution needs to be dual  lifed.
       Anything else can be too.

Vague things    [Toc]    [Back]

       Some more nebulous ideas


       Make threads more robust.

       POSIX memory footprint    [Toc]    [Back]

       Ilya observed that use POSIX; eats memory like there's no
       tomorrow, and at various times worked to cut it down.
       There is probably still fat to cut out - for example POSIX
       passes Exporter some very memory hungry data structures.

       Optimize away @_

       The old perltodo notes "Look at the "reification" code in

       switch ops

       The old perltodo notes "Although we have "Switch.pm" in
       core, Larry points to the dormant "nswitch" and "cswitch"
       ops in pp.c; using these opcodes would be much faster."

       Attach/detach debugger from running program

       The old perltodo notes "With "gdb", you can attach the
       debugger to a running program if you pass the process  ID.
       It would be good to do this with the Perl debugger on a
       running Perl program, although I'm not sure how it would
       be done."  ssh and screen do this with named pipes in tmp.
       Maybe we can too.
       A decent benchmark

       perlbench seems impervious to any recent changes made to
       the perl core. It would be useful to have a reasonable
       general benchmarking suite that roughly represented what
       current perl programs do, and measurably reported whether
       tweaks to the core improve, degrade or don't really affect
       performance, to guide people attempting to optimise the
       guts of perl.

perl v5.8.5                 2002-11-06                          7
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