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       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:


To do during 5.6.x

       Support for I/O disciplines

       "perlio" provides this, but the interface could be a lot
       more straightforward.

       Autoload bytes.pm

       When the lexer sees, for instance, "bytes::length", it
       should automatically load the "bytes" pragma.

       Make "\u{XXXX}" et al work

       Danger, Will Robinson! Discussing the semantics of
       "\x{F00}", "\xF00" and "\U{F00}" on P5P will lead to a
       long and boring flamewar.

       Create a char *sv_pvprintify(sv, STRLEN *lenp, UV flags)

       For displaying PVs with control characters, embedded
       nulls, and Unicode.  This would be useful for printing
       warnings, or data and regex dumping, not_a_number(), and
       so on.

       Requirements: should handle both byte and UTF-8 strings.
       isPRINT() characters printed as-is, character less than
       256 as \xHH, Unicode characters as \x{HHH}.  Don't assume
       ASCII-like, either, get somebody on EBCDIC to test the

       Possible options, controlled by the flags: - whitespace
       (other than ' ' of isPRINT()) printed as-is - use
       isPRINT_LC() instead of isPRINT() - print control charac­
       ters like this: "\cA" - print control characters like
       this: "^A" - non-PRINTables printed as '.' instead of \xHH
       - use \OOO instead of \xHH - use the C/Perl-metacharacters
       like \n, \t - have a maximum length for the produced
       string (read it from *lenp) - append a "..." to the pro­
       duced string if the maximum length is exceeded - really
       fancy: print unicode characters as \N{...}

       ·   Allow for long form of the General Category Proper­
           ties, e.g "\p{IsOpenPunctuation}", not just the abbre­
           viated form, e.g.  "\p{IsPs}".

       ·   Allow for the metaproperties: "XID Start", "XID Con­
           tinue", "NF*_NO", "NF*_MAYBE" (require the Derived­
           CoreProperties and DerviceNormalizationProperties

           There are also multiple value properties still unim­
           plemented: "Numeric Type", "East Asian Width".

               Case Mappings? http://www.unicode.org/unicode/reports/tr21/

           Mostly implemented (all of 1:1, 1:N, N:1), only the
           "final sigma" and locale-specific rules of SpecCase
           are not implemented.

       ·   UTF-8 identifier names should probably be canonical­
           ized: NFC?

       ·   UTF-8 in package names and sub names?  The first is
           problematic because of the mapping to pathnames, ditto
           for the second one if one does autosplitting, for
           example.  Some of this works already in 5.8.0, but
           essentially it is unsupported.  Constructs to con­
           sider, at the very least:

                   use utf8;
                   package UnicodePackage;
                   sub new { bless {}, shift };
                   sub UnicodeMethod1 { ... $_[0]->UnicodeMethod2(...) ... }
                   sub UnicodeMethod2 { ... } # in here caller(0) should contain Unicode
                   package main;
                   my $x = UnicodePackage->new;
                   print ref $x, "\n";  # should be Unicode
                   my $y = UnicodeMethod3 UnicodePackage ...;

           In the above all UnicodeXxx contain (identifier-wor­
           thy) characters beyond the code point 255, for example
           256.  Wherever package/class or subroutine names can
           be returned needs to be checked for Unicodeness.

       code for what's there and what's missing.  Almost all of
       Levels 2 and 3 is missing, and as of 5.8.0 not even all of
       Level 1 is there.  They have some tricks Perl doesn't yet
       implement, such as character class subtraction.

       Wait up to 10 seconds.

           use threads wait_for => -1;

       Wait for ever.


       Better support for nonpreemptive threading systems like
       GNU pth

       To better support nonpreemptive threading systems, perhaps
       some of the blocking functions internally in Perl should
       do a yield() before a blocking call.  (Now certain threads
       tests ({basic,list,thread.t}) simply do a yield() before
       they sleep() to give nonpreemptive thread implementations
       a chance).

       In some cases, like the GNU pth, which has replacement
       functions that are nonblocking (pth_select instead of
       select), maybe Perl should be using them instead when
       built for threading.

       Typed lexicals for compiler

       Compiler workarounds for Win32

       AUTOLOADing in the compiler

       Fixing comppadlist when compiling

       Cleaning up exported namespace

       Complete signal handling

       Add "PERL_ASYNC_CHECK" to opcodes which loop; replace
       "sigsetjmp" with "sigjmp"; check "wait" for signal safety.

       Out-of-source builds

       This was done for 5.6.0, but needs reworking for 5.7.x

       POSIX realtime support

       POSIX 1003.1 1996 Edition support--realtime stuff: POSIX
       There are non-core modules, such as "Socket6", but these
       will need integrating when IPv6 actually starts to really
       happen.  See RFC 2292 and RFC 2553.

       Long double conversion

       Floating point formatting is still causing some weird test


       Locales and Unicode interact with each other in unpleasant
       ways.  One possible solution would be to adopt/support


       Arithmetic on non-Arabic numerals

       "[1234567890]" aren't the only numerals any more.

       POSIX Unicode character classes

       ("[=a=]" for equivalence classes, "[.ch.]" for collation.)
       These are dependent on Unicode normalization and colla­

       Factoring out common suffices/prefices in regexps (trie

       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.

       Security audit shipped utilities

       All the code we ship with Perl needs to be sensible about
       temporary file handling, locking, input validation, and so

       Sort out the uid-setting mess

       Currently there are several problems with the setting of
       uids ($<, $> for the real and effective uids).  Firstly,
       what exactly setuid() call gets invoked in which platform
       is simply a big mess that needs to be untangled.  Sec­
       ondly, the effects are apparently not standard across
       platforms, (if you first set $< and then $>, or vice
       versa, being uid == euid == zero, or just euid == zero, or
       as a normal user, what are the results?).  The test suite
       not (usually) being run as root means that these things do
       not get much testing.  Thirdly, there's quite often a

       DLL Versioning

       Windows needs a way to know what version of an XS or
       "libperl" DLL it's loading.

       Introduce @( and @)

       $( may return "foo bar baz". Unfortunately, since groups
       can theoretically have spaces in their names, this could
       be one, two or three groups.

       Floating point handling

       "NaN" and "inf" support is particularly troublesome.
       (fp_classify(), fp_class(), fp_class_d(), class(),
       isinf(), isfinite(), finite(), isnormal(), unordered(),
       <ieeefp.h>, <fp_class.h> (there are metaconfig units for
       all these) (I think), fp_setmask(), fp_getmask(),
       fp_setround(), fp_getround() (no metaconfig units yet for
       these).  Don't forget finitel(), fp_classl(),
       fp_class_l(), (yes, both do, unfortunately, exist), and

       As of Perl 5.6.1, there is a Perl macro, Perl_isnan().

       IV/UV preservation

       Nicholas Clark has done a lot of work on this, but work is
       continuing.  "+", "-" and "*" work, but guards need to be
       in place for "%", "/", "&", "oct", "hex" and "pack".

       Replace pod2html with something using Pod::Parser

       The CPAN module "Marek::Pod::Html" may be a more suitable
       basis for a "pod2html" converter; the current one dupli­
       cates the functionality abstracted in "Pod::Parser", which
       makes updating the POD language difficult.

       Automate module testing on CPAN

       When a new Perl is being beta tested, porters have to man­
       ually grab their favourite CPAN modules and test them -
       this should be done automatically.

       sendmsg and recvmsg

       We have all the other BSD socket functions but these.
       There are metaconfig units for these functions which can
       be added. To avoid these being new opcodes, a solution
       similar to the way "sockatmark" was added would be prefer­
       able. (Autoload the "IO::whatever" module.)
       Check new modules

       Make roffitall find pods and libs itself

       Simon Cozens has done some work on this but it needs a

To do at some point

       These are ideas that have been regularly tossed around,
       that most people believe should be done maybe during 5.8.x

       Remove regular expression recursion

       Because the regular expression engine is recursive, badly
       designed expressions can lead to lots of recursion filling
       up the stack. Ilya claims that it is easy to convert the
       engine to being iterative, but this has still not yet been
       done. There may be a regular expression engine hit squad
       meeting at TPC5.

       Memory leaks after failed eval

       Perl will leak memory if you "eval "hlagh hlagh hlagh
       hlagh"". This is partially because it attempts to build up
       an op tree for that code and doesn't properly free it. The
       same goes for non-syntactically-correct regular expres­
       sions. Hugo looked into this, but decided it needed a
       mark-and-sweep GC implementation.

       Alan notes that: The basic idea was to extend the parser
       token stack ("YYSTYPE") to include a type field so we knew
       what sort of thing each element of the stack was.  The
       perly.c code would then have to be postprocessed to record
       the type of each entry on the stack as it was created, and
       the parser patched so that it could unroll the stack prop­
       erly on error.

       This is possible to do, but would be pretty messy to
       implement, as it would rely on even more sed hackery in

       bitfields in pack

       Cross compilation

       Make Perl buildable with a cross-compiler. This will play
       havoc with Configure, which needs to know how the target
       system will respond to its tests; maybe "microperl" will
       be a good starting point here.  (Indeed, Bart Schuller
       reports that he compiled up "microperl" for the Agenda PDA
       Source filters help with this, but do not get us all the
       way. For instance, it should be possible to implement the
       "??" operator somehow; source filters don't (quite) cut

       Perl lexer in Perl

       Damian Conway is planning to work on this, but it hasn't
       happened yet.

       Using POSIX calls internally

       When faced with a BSD vs. SysV -style interface to some
       library or system function, perl's roots show in that it
       typically prefers the BSD interface (but falls back to the
       SysV one).  One example is getpgrp().  Other examples
       include "memcpy" vs. "bcopy".  There are others, mostly in

       Mostly, this item is a suggestion for which way to start a
       journey into an "#ifdef" forest.  It is not primarily a
       suggestion to eliminate any of the "#ifdef" forests.

       POSIX calls are perhaps more likely to be portable to
       unexpected architectures. They are also perhaps more
       likely to be actively maintained by a current vendor.
       They are also perhaps more likely to be available in
       thread-safe versions, if appropriate.

       -i rename file when changed

       It's only necessary to rename a file when inplace editing
       when the file has changed. Detecting a change is perhaps
       the difficult bit.

       All ARGV input should act like <>

       eg "read(ARGV, ...)" doesn't currently read across multi­
       ple files.

       Support for rerunning debugger

       There should be a way of restarting the debugger on

       Test Suite for the Debugger

       The debugger is a complex piece of software and fixing
       something here may inadvertently break something else over
       there.  To tame this chaotic behaviour, a test suite is

       Rewrite regexp parser

       There has been talk recently of rewriting the regular
       expression parser to produce an optree instead of a chain
       of opcodes; it's unclear whether or not this would be a

       Cache recently used regexps

       This is to speed up

           for my $re (@regexps) {
               $matched++ if /$re/

       "qr//" already gives us a way of saving compiled regexps,
       but it should be done automatically.

       Cross-compilation support

       Bart Schuller reports that using "microperl" and a
       cross-compiler, he got Perl working on the Agenda PDA.
       However, one cannot build a full Perl because Configure
       needs to get the results for the target platform, for the

       Bit-shifting bitvectors


           vec($v, 1000, 1) = 1;

       One should be able to do

           $v <<= 1;

       and have the 999'th bit set.

       Currently if you try with shift bitvectors you shift the
       NV/UV, instead of the bits in the PV.  Not very logical.

       debugger pragma

       The debugger is implemented in Perl in perl5db.pl; turning
       it into a pragma should be easy, but making it work lexi­
       cally might be more difficult. Fiddling with $^P would be

       use less pragma

       Identify areas where speed/memory tradeoffs can be made
       and have a hint to switch between them.
       Shrink opcode tables

       Optimize away @_

       Look at the "reification" code in "av.c"

       Prototypes versus indirect objects

       Currently, indirect object syntax bypasses prototype

       Install HTML

       HTML versions of the documentation need to be installed by
       default; a call to "installhtml" from "installperl" may be
       all that's necessary.

       Prototype method calls

       Return context prototype declarations


       Garbage collection

       There have been persistent mumblings about putting a mark-
       and-sweep garbage detector into Perl; Alan Burlison has
       some ideas about this.

       IO tutorial

       Mark-Jason Dominus has the beginnings of one of these.

       Rewrite perldoc

       There are a few suggestions for what to do with "perldoc":
       maybe a full-text search, an index function, locating
       pages on a particular high-level subject, and so on.

       Install .3p manpages

       This is a bone of contention; we can create ".3p" manpages
       for each built-in function, but should we install them by
       default? Tcl does this, and it clutters up "apropos".

       Unicode tutorial

       Simon Cozens promises to do this before he gets old.
       Make "POSIX.pm" behave as POSIXly as possible everywhere,
       meaning we have to implement POSIX equivalents for some
       functions if necessary.

       Rename Win32 headers

       Finish off lvalue functions

       They don't work in the debugger, and they don't work for
       list or hash slices.

       Update sprintf documentation

       Hugo van der Sanden plans to look at this.

       Use fchown/fchmod internally

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

       Make v-strings overloaded objects

       Instead of having to guess whether a string is a v-string
       and thus needs to be displayed with %vd, make v-strings
       (readonly) objects (class "vstring"?) with a stringify

       Allow restricted hash assignment

       Currently you're not allowed to assign to a restricted
       hash at all, even with the same keys.

           %restricted = (foo => 42);  # error

       This should be allowed if the new keyset is a subset of
       the old keyset.  May require more extra code than we'd
       like in pp_aassign.

       Should overload be inheritable?

       Should overload be 'contagious' through @ISA so that
       derived classes would inherit their base classes' overload
       definitions?  What to do in case of overload conflicts?

       Taint rethink

       Should taint be stopped from affecting control flow, if
       ($tainted)?  Should tainted symbolic method calls and sub­
       ref calls be stopped?  (Look at Ruby's $SAFE levels for

       It's unclear what this should do or how to do it without
       breaking old code.

       Make tr/// return histogram of characters in list context

       There is a patch for this, but it may require Unicodifica­

       Compile to real threaded code

       Structured types

       Modifiable $1 et al.

           ($x = "elephant") =~ /e(ph)/;
           $1 = "g"; # $x = "elegant"

       What happens if there are multiple (nested?) brackets?
       What if the string changes between the match and the

       Procedural interfaces for IO::*, etc.

       Some core modules have been accused of being overly-OO.
       Adding procedural interfaces could demystify them.

       RPC modules

       Attach/detach debugger from running program

       With "gdb", you can attach the debugger to a running pro­
       gram 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.


       A non-core module that would use "native" GUI to create
       graphical applications.

       foreach(reverse ...)


           foreach (reverse @_) { ... }

       puts @_ on the stack, reverses it putting the reversed
       version on the stack, then iterates forwards. Instead, it
       Update guts documentation

       Simon Cozens tries to do this when possible, and contribu­
       tions to the "perlapi" documentation is welcome.

       Add more tests

       Michael Schwern will donate $500 to Yet Another Society
       when all core modules have tests.

       Update auxiliary tools

       The code we ship with Perl should look like good Perl 5.

       Create debugging macros

       Debugging macros (like printsv, dump) can make debugging
       perl inside a C debugger much easier.  A good set for gdb
       comes with mod_perl.  Something similar should be dis­
       tributed with perl.

       The proper way to do this is to use and extend
       Devel::DebugInit.  Devel::DebugInit also needs to be
       extended to support threads.

       See p5p archives for late May/early June 2001 for a recent
       discussion on this topic.

       truncate to the people

       One can emulate ftruncate() using F_FREESP and F_CHSIZ
       fcntls (see the UNIX FAQ for details).  This needs to go
       somewhere near pp_sys.c:pp_truncate().

       One can emulate truncate() easily if one has ftruncate().
       This emulation should also go near pp_sys.pp_truncate().

       Unicode in Filenames

       chdir, chmod, chown, chroot, exec, glob, link, lstat,
       mkdir, open, opendir, qx, readdir, readlink, rename,
       rmdir, stat, symlink, sysopen, system, truncate, unlink,
       utime.  All these could potentially accept Unicode file­
       names 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,
       These are things which have been on the todo lists in pre­
       vious releases but have recently been completed.

       Alternative RE syntax module

       The "Regexp::English" module, available from the CPAN,
       provides this:

           my $re = Regexp::English
           -> start_of_line
           -> literal('Flippers')
           -> literal(':')
           -> optional
               -> whitespace_char
           -> end
           -> remember
               -> multiple
                   -> digit;


       Safe signal handling

       A new signal model went into 5.7.1 without much fanfare.
       Operations and "malloc"s are no longer interrupted by sig­
       nals, which are handled between opcodes. This means that
       "PERL_ASYNC_CHECK" now actually does something. However,
       there are still a few things that need to be done.

       Tie Modules

       Modules which implement arrays in terms of strings, sub­
       strings or files can be found on the CPAN.


       "Time::HiRes" has been integrated into the core.

       setitimer and getimiter

       Adding "Time::HiRes" got us this too.

       Testing __DIE__ hook

       Tests have been added.

       CPP equivalent in Perl

       A C Yardley will probably have done this by the time you
       can read this.  This allows for a generalization of the C
       constant detection used in building "Errno.pm".

       Nick Ing-Simmons has made UTF-EBCDIC (UTR13) work with

           EBCDIC?        http://www.unicode.org/unicode/reports/tr16/

       UTF Regexes

       Although there are probably some small bugs to be rooted
       out, Jarkko Hietaniemi has made regular expressions poly­
       morphic between bytes and characters.

       perlcc to produce executable

       "perlcc" was recently rewritten, and can now produce stan­
       dalone executables.

       END blocks saved in compiled output

       Secure temporary file module

       Tim Jenness' "File::Temp" is now in core.

       Integrate Time::HiRes

       This module is now part of core.

       Turn Cwd into XS

       Benjamin Sugars has done this.

       Mmap for input

       Nick Ing-Simmons' "perlio" supports an "mmap" IO method.

       Byte to/from UTF-8 and UTF-8 to/from local conversion

       "Encode" provides this.

       Add sockatmark support

       Added in 5.7.1

       Mailing list archives

       http://lists.perl.org/ , http://archive.develooper.com/

       Bug tracking

       Since 5.8.0 perl uses the RT bug tracking system from
       Jesse Vincent, implemented by Robert Spier at
       "perlretut", provided by Mark Kvale.

       Debugging Tutorial

       "perldebtut", written by Richard Foley.

       Integrate new modules

       Jarkko has been integrating madly into 5.7.x

       Integrate profiler

       "Devel::DProf" is now a core module.

       Y2K error detection

       There's a configure option to detect unsafe concatenation
       with "19", and a CPAN module. ("D'oh::Year")

       Regular expression debugger

       While not part of core, Mark-Jason Dominus has written
       "Rx" and has also come up with a generalised strategy for
       regular expression debugging.

       POD checker

       That's, uh, podchecker

       "Dynamic" lexicals

       Cache precompiled modules

Deprecated Wishes

       These are items which used to be in the todo file, but
       have been deprecated for some reason.

       Loop control on do{}

       This would break old code; use "do{{ }}" instead.

       Lexically scoped typeglobs

       Not needed now we have lexical IO handles.

       format BOTTOM

       report HANDLE

       The "File::Glob" module has been used to replace the
       "glob" function.

       Regression tests for suidperl

       "suidperl" is deprecated in favour of common sense.

       Cached hash values

       We have shared hash keys, which perform the same job.

       Add compression modules

       The compression modules are a little heavy; meanwhile,
       Nick Clark is working on experimental pragmata to do
       transparent decompression on input.

       Reorganise documentation into tutorials/references

       Could not get consensus on P5P about this.

       Remove distinction between functions and operators

       Caution: highly flammable.

       Make XS easier to use

       Use "Inline" instead, or SWIG.

       Make embedding easier to use

       Use "Inline::CPR".

       man for perl

       See the Perl Power Tools. ( http://language.perl.com/ppt/

       my $Package::variable

       Use "our" instead.

       "or" tests defined, not truth

       Suggesting this on P5P will cause a boring and inter­
       minable flamewar.

       "class"-based lexicals

       Use flyweight objects, secure hashes or, dare I say it,
       pseudo-hashes instead.  (Or whatever will replace pseudo­
       hashes in 5.10.)
       this after all: "sub foo {START: ... goto START;" is bet­

       Make "use utf8" the default

       Because of backward compatibility this is difficult:
       scripts could not contain any legacy eight-bit data (like
       Latin-1) anymore, even in string literals or pod.  Also
       would introduce a measurable slowdown of at least few per­
       centages since all regular expression operations would be
       done in full UTF-8.  But if you want to try this, add
       -DUSE_UTF8_SCRIPTS to your compilation flags.

       Unicode collation and normalization

       The Unicode::Collate and Unicode::Normalize modules by
       SADAHIRO Tomoyuki have been included since 5.8.0.

           Collation?     http://www.unicode.org/unicode/reports/tr10/
           Normalization? http://www.unicode.org/unicode/reports/tr15/

       pack/unpack tutorial

       Wolfgang Laun finished what Simon Cozens started.

perl v5.8.1                 2003-09-02                PERLTODO(1)
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