Monday, July 03, 2006

Cross Langauge Cage Cleaners for Cardinal and Parrot

Andy Lester is one of those Perl hackers I admire and keep an eye on (you just never know when a great idea is going to come careening our of him). He and I have crossed paths a number of times because of our shared interest in libraries (the book lending kind) and library software. Even though we hang out in different language camps these days, I flatter myself to think of us as friends.

Yesterday, he posted an article about his new project — cleaning the cage for the parrot project (Andy always seems to come up with great metaphors for his projects). He's looking for people to join him, you don't need to be a Perl 6 or a Parrot wizard. All you really need are some basics:

  • know how to build software packages
  • basic software testing skills
  • an eye for detail (especially on the corners
  • an ability to read code

The idea is to build Parrot on a variety of systems, enforce coding standards, ensure code coverage, create tools to help with these, and to work on documentation.

Parrot's a Perl project, so you're probably wondering 'How does this fit into Ruby?'. Well, I think there are two ways: first, the Cardinal Project (and Kevin Tew's Ruby on Parrot project) both rely on Parrot, so this will help both of them; second, Ruby's starting to heat up on a number of VM fronts (NekoVM, HLVM, JVM, .NET, and maybe more) so the experience and ideas that come out of the Parrot Cage Cleaners should be both transferrable and useful for other VMs as well.

I think I'll go check out Andy's new project — even if it's just as an observer. I hope others in the Ruby and Ruby on (name your favorite VM(s) here) communities will too. Hopefully Perl and Ruby will both benefit.

Update: Andy sent me an email to say: I didn't even come up with a name for the project: Chip Salzenberg just mentioned it as a joke and I said "That's absolutely perfect!" It's . . . a testament to the power of getting people together in one place..."

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