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Synopsis_03 - Perl�6 Operators


Luke Palmer <>


  Maintainer: Larry Wall <>
  Date: 8 Mar 2004
  Last Modified: 15 Feb 2008
  Number: 3
  Version: 132

Overview ^

For a summary of the changes from Perl�5, see "Changes to Perl�5 operators".

Operator precedence ^

Not counting terms and terminators, Perl�6 has 23 operator precedence levels (same as Perl�5, but differently arranged). Here we list the levels from "tightest" to "loosest", along with a few examples of each level:

    A  Level             Examples
    =  =====             ========
    N  Terms             42 3.14 "eek" qq["foo"] $x :!verbose @$array
    L  Method postfix    .meth .+ .? .* .() .[] .{} .<> .«» .:: .= .^ .:
    L  Autoincrement     ++ --
    R  Exponentiation    **
    L  Symbolic unary    ! + - ~ ? | +^ ~^ ?^ \ ^ =
    L  Multiplicative    * / % +& +< +> ~& ~< ~> ?& div mod
    L  Additive          + - +| +^ ~| ~^ ?| ?^
    N  Replication       x xx
    L  Concatenation     ~
    X  Junctive and      &
    X  Junctive or       | ^
    L  Named unary       rand sleep abs
    N  Nonchaining infix but does <=> leg cmp .. ..^ ^.. ^..^
    C  Chaining infix    != == < <= > >= eq ne lt le gt ge ~~ === eqv !eqv
    L  Tight and         &&
    L  Tight or          || ^^ // min max
    L  Conditional       ?? !! ff fff
    R  Item assignment   = := ::= => += -= **= xx= .=
    L  Loose unary       true not
    X  Comma operator    , p5=>
    X  List infix        Z minmax X X~X X*X XeqvX
    R  List prefix       : print push say die map substr ... [+] [*] any $ @
    L  Loose and         and andthen
    L  Loose or          or xor orelse
    N  Terminator        ; <==, ==>, <<==, ==>>, {...}, unless, extra ), ], }

The associativities specified above are:

        Assoc     Meaning of $a op $b op $c
        =====     =========================
    L   left      ($a op $b) op $c
    R   right     $a op ($b op $c)
    N   non       ILLEGAL
    C   chain     ($a op $b) and ($b op $c)
    X   list      op($a, $b, $c) or op($a; $b; $c)

Note that list associativity only works between identical operators. If two different list-associative operators have the same precedence, they are assumed to be left-associative with respect to each other. For example, the X cross operator and the Z zip operator both have a precedence of "list infix", but:

    @a X @b Z @c

is parsed as:

    (@a X @b) Z @c

If you don't see your favorite operator above, the following sections cover all the operators in precedence order. Basic operator descriptions are here; special topics are covered afterwards.

Term precedence

This isn't really a precedence level, but it's in here because no operator can have tighter precedence than a term. See S02 for longer descriptions of various terms.

Method postfix precedence

All method postfixes start with a dot, though the dot is optional for subscripts. Since these are the tightest standard operator, you can often think of a series of method calls as a single term that merely expresses a complicated name.

See S12 for more discussion of single dispatch method calls.

Autoincrement precedence

As in C, these operators increment or decrement the object in question either before or after the value is taken from the object, depending on whether it is put before or after. Also as in C, multiple references to a single mutating object in the same expression may result in undefined behavior unless some explicit sequencing operator is interposed. See "Sequence points".

As with all postfix operators in Perl�6, no space is allowed between a term and its postfix. See S02 for why, and for how to work around the restriction with an "unspace".

As mutating methods, all these operators dispatch to the type of the operand and return a result of the same type, but they are legal on value types only if the (immutable) value is stored in a mutable container. However, a bare undefined value (in a suitable Scalar container) is allowed to mutate itself into an Int in order to support the common idiom:

    say $x unless %seen{$x}++;

Increment of a Str (in a suitable container) works similarly to Perl�5, but is generalized slightly. A scan is made for the final alphanumeric sequence in the string that is not preceded by a '.' character. Unlike in Perl�5, this alphanumeric sequence need not be anchored to the beginning of the string, nor does it need to begin with an alphabetic character; the final sequence in the string matching <!after '.'> <rangechar>+ is incremented regardless of what comes before it.

The <rangechar> character class is defined as that subset of \w that Perl knows how to increment within a range, as defined below.

The additional matching behaviors provide two useful benefits: for its typical use of incrementing a filename, you don't have to worry about the path name or the extension:

    $file = "/tmp/pix000.jpg";
    $file++;            # /tmp/pix001.jpg, not /tmp/pix000.jph

Perhaps more to the point, if you happen to increment a string that ends with a decimal number, it's likely to do the right thing:

    $num = "123.456";
    $num++;             # 124.456, not 123.457

Character positions are incremented within their natural range for any Unicode range that is deemed to represent the digits 0..9 or that is deemed to be a complete cyclical alphabet for (one case of) a (Unicode) script. Only scripts that represent their alphabet in codepoints that form a cycle independent of other alphabets may be so used. (This specification defers to the users of such a script for determining the proper cycle of letters.) We arbitrarily define the ASCII alphabet not to intersect with other scripts that make use of characters in that range, but alphabets that intersperse ASCII letters are not allowed.

If the current character in a string position is the final character in such a range, it wraps to the first character of the range and sends a "carry" to the position left of it, and that position is then incremented in its own range. If and only if the leftmost position is exhausted in its range, an additional character of the same range is inserted to hold the carry in the same fashion as Perl�5, so incrementing '(zz99)' turns into '(aaa00)' and incrementing '(99zz)' turns into '(100aa)'.

The following Unicode ranges are some of the possible rangechar ranges. For alphabets we might have ranges like:

    A..Z        # ASCII uc
    a..z        # ASCII lc
    Α..Ω        # Greek uc
    α..ω        # Greek lc (presumably skipping U+03C2, final sigma)
    א..ת        # Hebrew
      etc.      # (XXX out of my depth here)

For digits we have ranges like:

    0..9        # ASCII
    ٠..٩        # Arabic-Indic
    ०..९        # Devangari
    ০..৯        # Bengali 
    ੦..੯        # Gurmukhi
    ૦..૯        # Gujarati
    ୦..୯        # Oriya

Other non-script 0..9 ranges may also be incremented, such as

    ⁰..⁹        # superscripts (note, cycle includes latin-1 chars)
    ₀..₉        # subscripts
    0..9      # fullwith digits

Conjecturally, any common sequence may be treated as a cycle even if it does not represent 0..9:

    Ⅰ..Ⅻ        # clock roman numerals uc
    ⅰ..ⅻ        # clock roman numerals lc
    ①..⑳        # circled digits 1..20
    ⒜..⒵        # parenthesize lc
    ⚀..⚅        # die faces 1..6
    ❶..❿        # dingbat negative circled 1..10

While it doesn't really make sense to "carry" such numbers when they reach the end of their cycle, treating such values as incrementable may be convenient for writing outlines and similar numbered bullet items. (Note that we can't just increment unrecognized characters, because we have to locate the string's final sequence of rangechars before knowing which portion of the string to increment. Note also that all character increments can be handled by lookup in a single table of successors since we've defined our ranges not to include overlapping cycles.)

Perl�6 also supports Str decrement with similar semantics, simply by running the cycles the other direction. However, leftmost characters are never removed, and the decrement fails when you reach a string like "aaa" or "000".

Increment and decrement on non-<Str> types are defined in terms of the .succ and .pred methods on the type of object in the Scalar container. More specifically,


are equivalent to


If the type does not support these methods, the corresponding increment or decrement operation will fail. (The optimizer is allowed to assume that the ordinary increment and decrement operations on integers will not be overridden.)

Increment of a Bool (in a suitable container) turns it true. Decrement turns it false regardless of how many times it was previously incremented. This is useful if your %seen array is actually a KeySet, in which case decrement actually deletes it from the KeySet.

Exponentiation precedence

Symbolic unary precedence

Multiplicative precedence

Any bit shift operator may be turned into a rotate operator with the :rotate adverb. If :rotate is specified, the concept of sign extension is meaningless, and you may not specify a :signed adverb.

Additive precedence



Junctive and (all) precedence

Junctive or (any) precedence

Named unary precedence

Nonchaining binary precedence

Chaining binary precedence

All operators on this precedence level may be chained; see "Chained comparisons".

Tight and precedence

Tight or precedence

Conditional operator precedence

Item assignment precedence

Loose unary precedence

Comma operator precedence

List infix precedence

List infixes all have list associativity, which means that identical infix operators work together in parallel rather than one after the other. Non-identical operators are considered non-associative and must be parenthesized for clarity.

Many of these operators return a list of Captures, which depending on context may or may not flatten them all out into one flat list. The default is to flatten, but see the contextualizers below.

List prefix precedence

Loose and precedence

Loose or precedence

Terminator precedence

As with terms, terminators are not really a precedence level, but looser than the loosest precedence level. They all have the effect of terminating any operator precedence parsing and returning a complete expression to the main parser. They don't care what state the operator precedence parser is in. If the parser is currently expecting a term and the final operator in the expression can't deal with a nullterm, then it's a syntax error. (Notably, the comma operator and many prefix list operators can handle a nullterm.)

Changes to Perl�5 operators ^

Several operators have been given new names to increase clarity and better Huffman-code the language, while others have changed precedence.

Junctive operators ^

|, &, and ^ are no longer bitwise operators (see "Changes to Perl�5 operators") but now serve a much higher cause: they are now the junction constructors.

A junction is a single value that is equivalent to multiple values. They thread through operations, returning another junction representing the result:

     (1|2|3) + 4;                            # 5|6|7
     (1|2) + (3&4);                          # (4|5) & (5|6)

Note how when two junctions are applied through an operator, the result is a junction representing the operator applied to each combination of values.

Junctions come with the functional variants any, all, one, and none.

This opens doors for constructions like:

     unless $roll == any(1..6) { print "Invalid roll" }

     if $roll == 1|2|3 { print "Low roll" }

Junctions work through subscripting:

    doit() if @foo[any(1,2,3)]

Junctions are specifically unordered. So if you say

    foo() | bar() | baz() == 42

it indicates to the compiler that there is no coupling between the junctional arguments. They can be evaluated in any order or in parallel. They can short-circuit as soon as any of them return 42, and not run the others at all. Or if running in parallel, the first successful thread may terminate the other threads abruptly. In general you probably want to avoid code with side effects in junctions.

Use of negative operators with syntactically recognizable junctions may produce a warning on code that works differently in English than in Perl. Instead of writing

    if $a != 1 | 2 | 3 {...}

you need to write

    if not $a == 1 | 2 | 3 {...}

However, this is only a syntactic warning, and

    if $a != $b {...}

will not complain if $b happens to contain a junction at runtime.

Junctive methods on arrays, lists, and sets work just like the corresponding list operators. However, junctive methods on a hash make a junction of only the hash's keys. Use the listop form (or an explicit .pairs) to make a junction of pairs.

Comparison semantics ^

Range semantics ^

Chained comparisons ^

Perl�6 supports the natural extension to the comparison operators, allowing multiple operands:

    if 1 < $a < 100 { say "Good, you picked a number *between* 1 and 100." }

    if 3 < $roll <= 6              { print "High roll" }

    if 1 <= $roll1 == $roll2 <= 6  { print "Doubles!" }

A chain of comparisons short-circuits if the first comparison fails:

    1 > 2 > die("this is never reached");

Each argument in the chain will evaluate at most once:

    1 > $x++ > 2    # $x increments exactly once

Note: any operator beginning with < must have whitespace in front of it, or it will be interpreted as a hash subscript instead.

Smart matching ^

Here is the table of smart matches for standard Perl�6 (that is, the dialect of Perl in effect at the start of your compilation unit). Smart matching is generally done on the current "topic", that is, on $_. In the table below, $_ represents the left side of the ~~ operator, or the argument to a given, or to any other topicalizer. X represents the pattern to be matched against on the right side of ~~, or after a when.

The first section contains privileged syntax; if a match can be done via one of those entries, it will be. These special syntaxes are dispatched by their form rather than their type. Otherwise the rest of the table is used, and the match will be dispatched according to the normal method dispatch rules. The optimizer is allowed to assume that no additional match operators are defined after compile time, so if the pattern types are evident at compile time, the jump table can be optimized. However, the syntax of this part of the table is still somewhat privileged, insofar as the ~~ operator is one of the few operators in Perl that does not use multiple dispatch. Instead, type-based smart matches singly dispatch to an underlying method belonging to the X pattern object.

In other words, smart matches are dispatched first on the basis of the pattern's form or type (the X below), and then that pattern itself decides whether and how to pay attention to the type of the topic ($_). So the second column below is really the primary column. The Any entries in the first column indicate a pattern that either doesn't care about the type of the topic, or that picks that entry as a default because the more specific types listed above it didn't match.

    $_        X         Type of Match Implied   Match if (given $_)
    ======    =====     =====================   ===================
    Any       Code:($)  item sub truth          X($_)
    Any       Code:()   simple closure truth    X() (ignoring $_)
    Any       undef     undefined               not .defined
    Any       *         block signature match   block successfully binds to |$_
    Any       .foo      method truth            ?X       i.e. ?.foo
    Any       .foo(...) method truth            ?X       i.e. ?.foo
    Any       .(...)    sub call truth          ?X       i.e. ?.(...)
    Any       .[...]    array value slice truth ?all(X)  i.e. ?all(.[...])
    Any       .{...}    hash value slice truth  ?all(X)  i.e. ?all(.{...})
    Any       .<...>    hash value slice truth  ?all(X)  i.e. ?all(.<...>)

    Any       Bool      simple truth            X
    Any       Num       numeric equality        +$_ == X
    Any       Str       string equality         ~$_ eq X

    Any       Pair      test object             .:Xkey(Xval) (e.g. filetests)

    Set       Set       identical sets          $_ === X
    Hash      Set       hash keys same set      $_.keys === X
    Any       Set       force set comparison    Set($_) === X

    Array     Array     arrays are comparable   $_ «===» X (dwims * wildcards!)
    Set       Array     array equiv to set      $_ === Set(X)
    Any       Array     lists are comparable    @$_ «===» X

    Hash      Hash      hash keys same set      $_.keys === X.keys
    Set       Hash      hash keys same set      $_ === X.keys
    Array     Hash      hash slice existence    X.contains(any @$_)
    Regex     Hash      hash key grep           any(X.keys).match($_)
    Scalar    Hash      hash entry existence    X.contains($_)
    Any       Hash      hash slice existence    X.contains(any @$_)

    Str       Regex     string pattern match    .match(X)
    Hash      Regex     hash key "boolean grep" .any.match(X)
    Array     Regex     array "boolean grep"    .any.match(X)
    Any       Regex     pattern match           .match(X)

    Num       Range     in numeric range        X.min <= $_ <= X.max (mod ^'s)
    Str       Range     in string range         X.min le $_ le X.max (mod ^'s)
    Any       Range     in generic range        [!after] X.min,$_,X.max (etc.)

    Any       Type      type membership         $_.does(X)

    Signature Signature sig compatibility       $_ is a subset of X      ???
    Code      Signature sig compatibility       $_.sig is a subset of X  ???
    Capture   Signature parameters bindable     $_ could bind to X (doesn't!)
    Any       Signature parameters bindable     |$_ could bind to X (doesn't!)

    Signature Capture   parameters bindable     X could bind to $_

    Any       Any       scalars are identical   $_ === X

The final rule is applied only if no other pattern type claims X.

All smartmatch types are "itemized"; both ~~ and given/when provide item contexts to their arguments, and autothread any junctive matches so that the eventual dispatch to .ACCEPTS never sees anything "plural". So both $_ and X above are potentially container objects that are treated as scalars. (You may hyperize ~~ explicitly, though. In this case all smartmatching is done using the type-based dispatch to .ACCEPTS, not the form-based dispatch at the front of the table.)

The exact form of the underlying type-based method dispatch is:

    X.ACCEPTS($_)      # for ~~
    X.REJECTS($_)      # for !~~

As a single dispatch call this pays attention only to the type of X initially. The ACCEPTS method interface is defined by the Pattern role. Any class composing the Pattern role may choose to provide a single ACCEPTS method to handle everything, which corresponds to those pattern types that have only one entry with an Any on the left above. Or the class may choose to provide multiple ACCEPTS multi-methods within the class, and these will then redispatch within the class based on the type of $_. The class may also define one or more REJECTS methods; if it does not, the default REJECTS method from the Pattern role defines it in terms of a negated ACCEPTS method call. This generic method may be less efficient than a custom REJECTS method would be, however.

The smartmatch table is primarily intended to reflect forms and types that are recognized at compile time. To avoid an explosion of entries, the table assumes the following types will behave similarly:

    Actual type                 Use entries for
    ===========                 ===============
    List Seq                    Array
    KeySet KeyBag KeyHash       Hash
    Class Enum Role             Type
    Subst Grammar               Regex
    Char Cat                    Str
    Int UInt etc.               Num
    Match                       Capture
    Byte                        Str or Int
    Buf                         Str or Array of Int

(Note, however, that these mappings can be overridden by explicit definition of the appropriate ACCEPTS and REJECTS methods. If the redefinition occurs at compile time prior to analysis of the smart match then the information is also available to the optimizer.)

A Buf type containing any bytes or integers outside the ASCII range may silently promote to a Str type for pattern matching if and only if its relationship to Unicode is clearly declared or typed. This type information might come from an input filehandle, or the Buf role may be a parametric type that allows you to instantiate buffers with various known encodings. In the absence of such typing information, you may still do pattern matching against the buffer, but (apart from assuming the lowest 7 bits represent ASCII) any attempt to treat the buffer as other than a sequence integers is erroneous, and warnings may be generously issued.

Matching against a Grammar object will call the TOP method defined in the grammar. The TOP method may either be a rule itself, or may call the actual top rule automatically. How the Grammar determines the top rule is up to the grammar, but normal Perl�6 grammars will default to setting top to the first rule in the original base grammar. Derived grammars then inherit this idea of the top rule. This may be overridden in either the base grammar or a derived grammar by explicitly naming a rule TOP, or defining your own TOP method to call some other rule.

Matching against a Signature does not actually bind any variables, but only tests to see if the signature could bind. To really bind to a signature, use the * pattern to delegate binding to the when statement's block instead. Matching against * is special in that it takes its truth from whether the subsequent block is bound against the topic, so you can do ordered signature matching:

    given $capture {
        when * -> Int $a, Str $b { ... }
        when * -> Str $a, Int $b { ... }
        when * -> $a, $b         { ... }
        when *                   { ... }

This can be useful when the unordered semantics of multiple dispatch are insufficient for defining the "pecking order" of code. Note that you can bind to either a bare block or a pointy block. Binding to a bare block conveniently leaves the topic in $_, so the final form above is equivalent to a default. (Placeholder parameters may also be used in the bare block form, though of course their types cannot be specified that way.)

There is no pattern matching defined for the Any pattern, so if you find yourself in the situation of wanting a reversed smartmatch test with an Any on the right, you can almost always get it by explicit call to the underlying ACCEPTS method using $_ as the pattern. For example:

    $_      X    Type of Match Wanted   What to use on the right
    ======  ===  ====================   ========================
    Code    Any  item sub truth         .ACCEPTS(X) or .(X)
    Range   Any  in range               .ACCEPTS(X)
    Type    Any  type membership        .ACCEPTS(X) or .does(X)
    Regex   Any  pattern match          .ACCEPTS(X)

Similar tricks will allow you to bend the default matching rules for composite objects as long as you start with a dotted method on $_:

    given $somethingordered {
        when .values.'[<=]'     { say "increasing" }
        when .values.'[>=]'     { say "decreasing" }

In a pinch you can define a macro to do the "reversed when":

    my macro statement_control:<ACCEPTS> () { "when .ACCEPTS: " }
    given $pattern {
        ACCEPTS $a      { ... }
        ACCEPTS $b      { ... }
        ACCEPTS $c      { ... }

Various proposed-but-deprecated smartmatch behaviors may be easily (and we hope, more readably) emulated as follows:

    $_      X      Type of Match Wanted   What to use on the right
    ======  ===    ====================   ========================
    Array   Num    array element truth    .[X]
    Array   Num    array contains number  *,X,*
    Array   Str    array contains string  *,X,*
    Array   Seq    array begins with seq  X,*
    Array   Seq    array contains seq     *,X,*
    Array   Seq    array ends with seq    *,X
    Hash    Str    hash element truth     .{X}
    Hash    Str    hash key existence     .contains(X)
    Hash    Num    hash element truth     .{X}
    Hash    Num    hash key existence     .contains(X)
    Buf     Int    buffer contains int    .match(X)
    Str     Char   string contains char   .match(X)
    Str     Str    string contains string .match(X)
    Array   Scalar array contains item    .any === X
    Str     Array  array contains string  X.any
    Num     Array  array contains number  X.any
    Scalar  Array  array contains object  X.any
    Hash    Array  hash slice exists      .contains(X.all) .contains(X.any)
    Set     Set    subset relation        .contains(X)
    Set     Hash   subset relation        .contains(X)
    Any     Set    subset relation        .Set.contains(X)
    Any     Hash   subset relation        .Set.contains(X)
    Any     Set    superset relation      X.contains($_)
    Any     Hash   superset relation      X.contains($_)
    Any     Set    sets intersect         .contains(X.any)
    Set     Array  subset relation        X,*          # (conjectured)
    Array   Regex  match array as string  .Cat.match(X)  cat(@$_).match(X)

(Note that the .cat method and the Cat type coercion both take a single object, unlike the cat function which, as a list operator, takes a syntactic list (or multilist) and flattens it. All of these return a Cat object, however.)

Boolean expressions are those known to return a boolean value, such as comparisons, or the unary ? operator. They may reference $_ explicitly or implicitly. If they don't reference $_ at all, that's okay too--in that case you're just using the switch structure as a more readable alternative to a string of elsifs. Note, however, that this means you can't write:

    given $boolean {
        when True  {...}
        when False {...}

because it will always choose the True case. Instead use something like:

    given $boolean {
        when .true {...}
        when .not  {...}

Better, just use an if statement.

Note also that regex matching does not return a Bool, but merely a Match object that can be used as a boolean value. Use an explicit ? or true to force a Bool value if desired.

The primary use of the ~~ operator is to return a boolean value in a boolean context. However, for certain operands such as regular expressions, use of the operator within item or list context transfers the context to that operand, so that, for instance, a regular expression can return a list of matched substrings, as in Perl�5. This is done by returning an object that can return a list in list context, or that can return a boolean in a boolean context. In the case regex matching the Match object is a kind of Capture, which has these capabilities.

For the purpose of smartmatching, all Set and Bag values are considered to be of type KeyHash, that is, Hash containers where the keys represent the unique objects and the values represent the replication count of those unique keys. (Obviously, a Set can have only 0 or 1 replication because of the guarantee of uniqueness).

The Cat type allows you to have an infinitely extensible string. You can match an array or iterator by feeding it to a Cat, which is essentially a Str interface over an iterator of some sort. Then a Regex can be used against it as if it were an ordinary string. The Regex engine can ask the string if it has more characters, and the string will extend itself if possible from its underlying interator. (Note that such strings have an indefinite number of characters, so if you use .* in your pattern, or if you ask the string how many characters it has in it, or if you even print the whole string, it may be feel compelled to slurp in the rest of the string, which may or may not be expeditious.)

The cat operator takes a (potentially lazy) list and returns a Cat object. In string context this coerces each of its elements to strings lazily, and behaves as a string of indeterminate length. You can search a gather like this:

    my $lazystr := cat gather for @foo { take .bar }

    $lazystr ~~ /pattern/;

The Cat interface allows the regex to match element boundaries with the <,> assertion, and the StrPos objects returned by the match can be broken down into elements index and position within that list element. If the underlying data structure is a mutable array, changes to the array (such as by shift or pop) are tracked by the Cat so that the element numbers remain correct. Strings, arrays, lists, sequences, captures, and tree nodes can all be pattern matched by regexes or by signatures more or less interchangably. However, the structure searched is not guaranteed to maintain a .pos unless you are searching a Str or Cat.

Invocant marker ^

An appended : marks the invocant when using the indirect-object syntax for Perl�6 method calls. The following two statements are equivalent:

    $hacker.feed('Pizza and cola');
    feed $hacker: 'Pizza and cola';

A colon may also be used on an ordinary method call to indicate that it should be parsed as a list operator:

    $hacker.feed: 'Pizza and cola';

This colon is a separate token. A colon prefixing an adverb is not a separate token. Therefore, under the longest-token rule,

    $hacker.feed:xxx('Pizza and cola');

is tokenized as an adverb applying to the method as its "preceding operator":

    $hacker.feed :xxx('Pizza and cola');

not as an xxx sub in the argument list of .feed:

    $hacker.feed: xxx('Pizza and cola');  # wrong

If you want both meanings of colon in order to supply both an adverb and some positional arguments, you have to put the colon twice:

    $hacker.feed: :xxx('Pizza and cola'), 1,2,3;

(For similar reasons it's required to put whitespace after the colon of a label.)

Feed operators ^

The new operators ==> and <== are akin to UNIX pipes, but work with functions or statements that accept and return lists. Since these lists are composed of discrete objects and not liquids, we call these feed operators rather than pipes. For example,

     @result = map { floor($^x / 2) },
                 grep { /^ \d+ $/ },

can also now be written with rightward feeds as:

     @data ==> grep { /^ \d+ $/ }
           ==> map { floor($^x / 2) }
           ==> @result;

or with leftward feeds as:

     @result <== map { floor($^x / 2) }
             <== grep { /^ \d+ $/ }
             <== @data;

Either form more clearly indicates the flow of data. See S06 for more of the (less-than-obvious) details on these two operators.

Meta operators ^

Perl�6's operators have been greatly regularized, for instance, by consistently prefixing numeric, stringwise, and boolean operators with +, ~ and ? respectively to indicate whether the bitwise operation is done on a number, a string, or a single bit. But that's just a naming convention, and if you wanted to add a new bitwise ¬ operator, you'd have to add the , , and operators yourself. Similarly, the carets that exclude the endpoints on ranges are there by convention only.

In contrast to that, Perl�6 has five standard metaoperators for turning a given existing operator into a related operator that is more powerful (or at least differently powerful). These differ from a mere naming convention in that Perl automatically generates these new metaoperators from user-defined operators as well as from builtins. In fact, you're not generally supposed to define the individual metaoperations--their semantics are supposed to be self-evident by the transformation of the base operator.

Note: Spaces are never allowed between any metaoperator and the operator it's modifying, because all operators including modified ones have to be recognized by the Longest-Token Rule, which disallows spaces within a token.

Assignment metaoperators

These are already familiar to C and Perl programmers. (Though the .= operator now means to call a mutating method on the object on the left, and ~= is string concatenation.) Most non-relational infix operators may be turned into their corresponding assignment operator by suffixing with =. The limitation is actually based on whether the left side can function both as an rvalue and an lvalue by the usual correspondence:

    A op= B;
    A = A op B;

Existing forms ending in = may not be modified with this metaoperator.

Regardless of the precedence of the base operator, the precedence of any assignment metaoperators is forced to be the same as that of ordinary assignment. If the base operator is tighter than comma, the expression is parsed as item assignment. If the base operator is the same or looser than comma, the expression is parsed as a list assignment:

    $a += 1, $b += 2    # two separate item assignments
    @foo ,= 1,2,3       # same as push(@foo,1,2,3)
    @foo Z= 1,2,3       # same as @foo = @foo Z 1,2,3

Note that metaassignment to a list does not automatically distribute the right argument over the assigned list unless the base operator does (as in the Z case above). Hence if you want to say:

    ($a,$b,$c) += 1;    # ILLEGAL

you must instead use a hyperoperator (see below):

    ($a,$b,$c) »+=» 1;  # add one to each of three variables

Negated relational operators

Any infix relational operator may be transformed into its negative by prefixing with !. A couple of these have traditional shortcuts:

    Full form   Shortcut
    ---------   --------
    !==         !=
    !eq         ne

but most of them do not:


To avoid visual confusion with the !! operator, you may not modify any operator already beginning with !.

The precedence of any negated operator is the same as the base operator.

Hyper operators

The Unicode characters » (\x[BB]) and « (\x[AB]) and their ASCII digraphs >> and << are used to denote a "list operation" that operates on each element of its list (or array) argument (or arguments) and returns a single list (or array) of the results. In other words, a hyper operator evaluates its arguments in item context but then distributes the operator over them as lists.

When writing a hyper operator, spaces are not allowed on the inside, that is, between any "hyper" marker and the operator it's modifying. On the outside the spacing policy is the same as the base operator. Likewise the precedence of any hyperoperator is the same as its base operator. This means that you must parenthesize your comma lists for most operators. For example:

     -« (1,2,3);                   # (-1, -2, -3)
     (1,1,2,3,5) »+« (1,2,3,5,8);  # (2,3,5,8,13)

A unary hyper operator (either prefix or postfix) has only one hyper marker, located on its argument side, while an infix operator always has one on each side to indicate there are two arguments. Unary operators always produce a list or array of exactly the same shape as their single argument. When infix operators are presented with two lists or arrays of identical shape, a result of that same shape is produced. Otherwise the result depends on how you write the hyper markers.

For an infix operator, if either argument is insufficiently dimensioned, Perl "upgrades" it, but only if you point the "sharp" end of the hypermarker at it.

     (3,8,2,9,3,8) >>->> 1;          # (2,7,1,8,2,7)
     @array »+=» 42;                 # add 42 to each element

In fact, an upgraded scalar is the only thing that will work for an unordered type such as a Bag:

     Bag(3,8,2,9,3,8) >>->> 1;       # Bag(2,7,1,8,2,7) === Bag(1,2,2,7,7,8)

In other words, pointing the small end at an argument tells the hyperoperator to "dwim" on that side. If you don't know whether one side or the other will be underdimensioned, you can dwim on both sides:

    $left «*» $right

[Note: if you are worried about Perl getting confused by something like this:

    foo «*»

then you shouldn't worry about it, because unlike previous versions, Perl�6 never guesses whether the next thing is a term or operator. In this case it is always expecting a term unless foo is predeclared to be a 0-ary sub.]

The upgrade never happens on the "blunt" end of a hyper. If you write

    $bigger «*« $smaller
    $smaller »*» $bigger

an exception is thrown, and if you write

    $foo »*« $bar

you are requiring the shapes to be identical, or an exception will be thrown. By default this dwimmery only upgrades whole dimensions, not short lists. However, any list ending with * can also be arbitrarily extended as if the last element of the list were arbitrarily replicated * times. But this happens only on the "dwimmy" side.

On the non-dwimmy side, any scalar value that does not know how to do List will be treated as a list of one element, and for infix operators must be matched by an equivalent one-element list on the other side. That is, a hyper operator is guaranteed to degenerate to the corresponding scalar operation when all its arguments are non-list arguments.

When using a unary operator, you always aim the blunt end at the single operand, because no dwimmery ever happens:

     @negatives = -« @positives;

     @positions»++;            # Increment all positions

     @positions.»++;           # Same thing, dot form
     @positions».++;           # Same thing, dot form
     @positions.».++;          # Same thing, dot form
     @positions\  .»\  .++;    # Same thing, unspace form

     ("f","oo","bar").>>.chars;   # (1,2,3)

Note that method calls are really postfix operators, not infix, so you shouldn't put a « after the dot.

Hyper operators are defined recursively on shaped arrays, so:

    -« [[1, 2], 3]               #    [-«[1, 2], -«3]
                                 # == [[-1, -2], -3]

Likewise the dwimminess of dwimmy infixes propagates:

    [[1, 2], 3] «+» [4, [5, 6]]  #    [[1,2] «+» 4, 3 «+» [5, 6]]
                                 # == [[5, 6], [8, 9]]

More generally, a dwimmy hyper operator works recursively for any object matching the Each role even if the object itself doesn't support the operator in question:

    Bag(3,8,[2,Seq(9,3)],8) >>->> 1;         # Bag(2,7,[1,Seq(8,2)],7)
    Seq(3,8,[2,Seq(9,3)],8) >>->> (1,1,2,1); # Seq(2,7,[0,Seq(7,1)],7)

In particular, tree node types with Each semantics enable visitation:

    $tree.».foo;        # short for $, $tree.each: { .».foo }

If not all nodes support the operation, you need a form of it that specifies the call is optional:

    $tree.».?foo;       # short for $tree.?foo, $tree.each: { .».?foo }
    $tree.».*foo;       # short for $tree.*foo, $tree.each: { .».*foo }

You are not allowed to define your own hyper operators, because they are supposed to have consistent semantics derivable entirely from the modified scalar operator. If you're looking for a mathematical vector product, this isn't where you'll find it. A hyperoperator is one of the ways that you can promise to the optimizer that your code is parallelizable. (The tree visitation above is allowed to have side effects, but it is erroneous for the meaning of those side effects to depend on the order of visitation in any way. Hyper tree visitation is not required to follow DAG semantics, at least by default.)

Even in the absence of hardware that can do parallel processing, hyperoperators may be faster than the corresponding scalar operators if they can factor out looping overhead to lower-level code, or can apply loop-unrolling optimizations, or can factor out some or all of the MMD dispatch overhead, based on the known types of the operands (and also based on the fact that hyper operators promise no interaction among the "iterations", whereas the corresponding scalar operator in a loop cannot make the same promise unless all the operations within the loop are known to be side-effect free.)

In particular, infix hyperops on two int or num arrays need only do a single MMD dispatch to find the correct function to call for all pairs, and can further bypass any type-checking or type-coercion entry points to such functions when there are known to be low-level entry points of the appropriate type. (And similarly for unary int or num ops.)

Application-wide analysis of finalizable object types may also enable such optimizations to be applied to Int, Num, and such. In the absence of that, run-time analysis of partial MMD dispatch may save some MMD searching overhead. Or particular object arrays might even keep track of their own run-time type purity and cache partial MMD dispatch tables when they know they're likely to be used in hyperops.

Beyond all that, "array of scalar" types are known at compile time not to need recursive hypers, so the operations can be vectorized aggressively.

Hypers may be applied to hashes as well as to lists. In this case "dwimminess" says whether to ignore keys that do not exist in the other hash, while "non-dwimminess" says to use all keys that are in either hash. That is,

    %foo «+» %bar;

gives you the intersection of the keys, while

    %foo »+« %bar;

gives you the union of the keys. Asymmetrical hypers are also useful; for instance, if you say:

    %outer »+» %inner;

only the %inner keys that already exist in %outer will occur in the result. Note, however, that you want

    %outer »+=« %inner;

in order to pass accumulated statistics up a tree, assuming you want %outer to have the union of keys.

Unary hash hypers and binary hypers that have only one hash operand will apply the hyper operator to just the values but return a new hash value with the same set of keys as the original hash.

Reduction operators

The fourth metaoperator in Perl�6 is the reduction operator. Any infix operator (except for non-associating operators) can be surrounded by square brackets in term position to create a list operator that reduces using that operation:

    [+] 1, 2, 3;      # 1 + 2 + 3 = 6
    my @a = (5,6);
    [*] @a;           # 5 * 6 = 30

As with all the metaoperators, space is not allowed inside. The whole thing parses as a single token.

A reduction operator has the same precedence as a list operator. In fact, a reduction operator really is a list operator, and is invoked as one. Hence, you can implement a reduction operator in one of two ways. Either you can write an explicit list operator:

    proto prefix:<[+]> (*@args) {
        my $accum = 0;
        while (@args) {
            $accum += @args.shift();
        return $accum;

or you can let the system autogenerate one for you based on the corresponding infix operator, probably by currying:

    # (examples, actual system may define prefix:[**] instead)
    &prefix:<[*]> ::= &reduce.assuming(&infix:<*>, 1);
    &prefix:<[**]> ::= &reducerev.assuming(&infix:<**>);

As a special form of name, the non-prefix notation, as in

    proto [foo] (*@args) {


    &[foo] ::= ...

defines both the [foo] reduce operator and the foo infix operator. Where appropriate, use of the infix form may be optimized like this:

    # Original          # Optimized
    $a foo $b           # [foo] $a, $b
    $a foo $b foo $c    # [foo] $a, $b, $c

(Note that any infix generated with ::= will default to the precedence of +. When that is not desired you must use is equiv. See S06.)

If the reduction operator is defined separately from the infix operator, it must associate the same way as the operator used:

    [-] 4, 3, 2;      # 4-3-2 = (4-3)-2 = -1
    [**] 4, 3, 2;     # 4**3**2 = 4**(3**2) = 262144

For list-associating operators (like <), all arguments are taken together, just as if you had written it out explicitly:

    [<] 1, 3, 5;      # 1 < 3 < 5

If fewer than two arguments are given, a dispatch is still attempted with whatever arguments are given, and it is up to the receiver of that dispatch to deal with fewer than two arguments. Note that the proto list operator definition is the most general, so you are allowed to define different ways to handle the one argument case depending on type:

    multi prefix:<[foo]> (Int $x) { 42 }
    multi prefix:<[foo]> (Str $x) { fail "Can't foo a single Str" }

However, the zero argument case cannot be defined this way, since there is no type information to dispatch on. Operators that wish to specify an identity value should do so by specifying a multi variant that takes zero arguments:

    multi prefix:<[foo]> () { 0 }

Among the builtin operators, [+]() returns 0 and [*]() returns 1, for instance.

By default, if there is one argument, the built-in reduce operators return that one argument. However, this default doesn't make sense for operators like < that don't return the same type as they take, so these kinds of operators overload the single-argument case to return something more meaningful. All the comparison operators return a boolean for either 1 or 0 arguments. Negated operators return Bool::False, and all the rest return Bool::True.

You can also make a reduce operator of the comma operator. This is just the list operator form of the circumfix:<[ ]> anonymous array composer:

    [1,2,3]     # make new Array: 1,2,3
    [,] 1,2,3   # same thing

You may also reduce using the semicolon second-dimension separator:

    [[;] 1,2,3]   # equivalent to [1;2;3]

Builtin reduce operators return the following identity values:

    [**]()      # 1     (arguably nonsensical)
    [*]()       # 1
    [/]()       # fail  (reduce is nonsensical)
    [%]()       # fail  (reduce is nonsensical)
    [x]()       # fail  (reduce is nonsensical)
    [xx]()      # fail  (reduce is nonsensical)
    [+&]()      # -1    (from +^0, the 2's complement in arbitrary precision)
    [+<]()      # fail  (reduce is nonsensical)
    [+>]()      # fail  (reduce is nonsensical)
    [~&]()      # fail  (sensical but 1's length indeterminate)
    [~<]()      # fail  (reduce is nonsensical)
    [~>]()      # fail  (reduce is nonsensical)
    [+]()       # 0
    [-]()       # 0
    [~]()       # ''
    [+|]()      # 0
    [+^]()      # 0
    [~|]()      # ''    (length indeterminate but 0's default)
    [~^]()      # ''    (length indeterminate but 0's default)
    [&]()       # all()
    [|]()       # any()
    [^]()       # one()
    [!==]()     # Bool::False   (also for 1 arg)
    [==]()      # Bool::True    (also for 1 arg)
    [before]()  # Bool::True    (also for 1 arg)
    [after]()   # Bool::True    (also for 1 arg)
    [<]()       # Bool::True    (also for 1 arg)
    [<=]()      # Bool::True    (also for 1 arg)
    [>]()       # Bool::True    (also for 1 arg)
    [>=]()      # Bool::True    (also for 1 arg)
    [~~]()      # Bool::True    (also for 1 arg)
    [!~~]()     # Bool::False   (also for 1 arg)
    [eq]()      # Bool::True    (also for 1 arg)
    [!eq]()     # Bool::False   (also for 1 arg)
    [lt]()      # Bool::True    (also for 1 arg)
    [le]()      # Bool::True    (also for 1 arg)
    [gt]()      # Bool::True    (also for 1 arg)
    [ge]()      # Bool::True    (also for 1 arg)
    [=:=]()     # Bool::True    (also for 1 arg)
    [!=:=]()    # Bool::False   (also for 1 arg)
    [===]()     # Bool::True    (also for 1 arg)
    [!===]()    # Bool::False   (also for 1 arg)
    [eqv]()     # Bool::True    (also for 1 arg)
    [!eqv]()    # Bool::False   (also for 1 arg)
    [&&]()      # Bool::True
    [||]()      # Bool::False
    [^^]()      # Bool::False
    [//]()      # undef
    [min]()     # +Inf
    [max]()     # -Inf
    [=]()       # undef    (same for all assignment operators)
    [,]()       # []
    [Z]()       # []

User-defined operators may define their own identity values, but there is no explicit identity property. The value is implicit in the behavior of the 0-arg reduce, so mathematical code wishing to find the identity value for an operation can call prefix:{"[$opname]"}() to discover it.

To call some other non-infix function as a reduce operator, you may define an alias in infix form. The infix form will parse the right argument as an item even if the aliased function would have parsed it as a list:

    &infix:<dehash> ::= postcircumfix:<{ }>;
    $x = [dehash] $a,'foo','bar';  # $a<foo><bar>, not $a<foo bar>

Alternately, just define your own prefix:<[dehash]> routine.

Note that, because a reduce is a list operator, the argument list is evaluated in list context. Therefore the following would be incorrect:

    $x = [dehash] %a,'foo','bar';

You'd instead have to say one of:

    $x = [dehash] \%a,'foo','bar';
    $x = [dehash] %a<foo>,'bar';

On the plus side, this works without a star:

    @args = (\%a,'foo','bar');
    $x = [dehash] @args;

Likewise, from the fact that list context flattens inner arrays and lists, it follows that a reduced assignment does no special syntactic dwimmery, and hence only scalar assignments are supported. Therefore

    [=] $x, @y, $z, 0
    [+=] $x, @y, $z, 1

are equivalent to

    $x = @y[0] = @y[1] = @y[2] ... @y[*-1] = $z = 0
    $x += @y[0] += @y[1] += @y[2] ... @y[*-1] += $z += 1

rather than

    $x = @y = $z = 0;
    $x += @y += $z += 1;

(And, in fact, the latter are already easy to express anyway, and more obviously nonsensical.)

Most reduce operators return a simple scalar value, and hence do not care whether they are evaluated in item or list context. However, as with other list operators and functions, a reduce operator may return a list that will automatically be interpolated into list context, so you may use it on infix operators that operate over lists as well as scalars:

    my ($min, $max) = [minmax] @minmaxpairs;

A variant of the reduction metaoperator is pretty much guaranteed to produce a list; to lazily generate all intermediate results along with the final result, you can backslash the operator:

    say [\+] 1..*  #  (1, 3, 6, 10, 15, ...)

The visual picture of a triangle is not accidental. To produce a triangular list of lists, you can use a "triangular comma":

    [\,] 1..5

If there is ambiguity between a triangular reduce and an infix operator beginning with backslash, the infix operator is chosen, and an extra backslash indicates the corresponding triangular reduce. As a consequence, defining an infix operator beginning with backslash, infix:<\x> say, will make it impossible to write certain triangular reduction operators, since [\x] would mean the normal reduction of infix:<\x> operator, not the triangular reduction of infix:<x>. This is deemed to be an insignificant problem.

Cross operators

The final metaoperator is the cross metaoperator. It is formed syntactically by placing an infix operator between two X characters. It applies the modified operator across all groupings of its list arguments as returned by the ordinary infix:<X> operator. All cross operators are of list infix precedence, and are list associative.

The string concatenating form is:

    <a b> X~X <1 2>           #  'a1', 'a2', 'b1', 'b2'

The X~X operator desugars to something like:

    [~]«( <a b> X,X <1 2> )  #  'a1', 'a2', 'b1', 'b2'

The list concatenating form, X,X, when used like this:

    <a b> X,X 1,2 X,X <x y>


    ('a', 1, 'x'),
    ('a', 1, 'y'),
    ('a', 2, 'x'),
    ('a', 2, 'y'),
    ('b', 1, 'x'),
    ('b', 1, 'y'),
    ('b', 2, 'x'),
    ('b', 2, 'y')

The list form is common enough to have a shortcut, the ordinary infix X operator described earlier.

For the general form, any existing, non-mutating infix operator may be used.

    1,2 X*X 3,4               # 3,4,6,8

(Note that <== and ==> are considered mutating, as well as all assignment operators.)

If the underlying operator is non-associating, so is the metaoperator:

    @a XcmpX @b XcmpX @c       # ILLEGAL
    @a XeqX @b XeqX @c         # ok

In fact, though the X operators are all list associative syntactically, the underlying operator is always applied with its own associativity, just as the corresponding reduce operator would do.

Note that only the first term of an X operator may reasonably be an infinite list.

Multidimensional lists should be handled properly.

Nesting of metaoperators

In order to match operators by the longest-token rule, the compiler pregenerates various metaforms based on existing operators. Unfortunately, with nesting metaoperators there are an infinite number of metaforms, so we arbitrarily say that no metacircumfix form is pregenerated that uses the same grammatical category more than once. Therefore forms like [+=] and »!===« and X*X= are generated, but not forms like »X*X« or X«*»X or <<+=>>=. You do get [X*X], though, because reduction is prefix_circumfix_meta_operator while cross operators are infix_circumfix_meta_operator.

This use-each-category-once limitation is not a great hardship since you can define your own infix operators. Suppose you say

    &infix:<xp> ::= &infix:<X*X>;

After this you can use XxpX, [xp], and [«xp»=]« as if xp were a built-in. Not that any of those necessarily make sense...

The compiler is not actually required to pregenerate the metaform tokens as long as it can guarantee the same semantics, that is, that it follows the longest-token rule across all syntax categories active at that spot in the parse. This could be achieved by use of a DFA parser (or exhaustive NFA matcher) to guarantee longest match of the generatable forms, for instance, followed by a check to make sure it is not trumped by an even longer "hardwired" token. Suppose the user were to define, say, infix:<XxX!#@$> or statement_modifier:<XxXfor>; those hardwired forms must take precedence over the XxX operator even if the metaform DFA only knows how to recognize the XxX part.

Note that the maximum possible token length is bounded by the sum of the maximum lengths of each metacategory, so an enumerated solution is always possible, though perhaps not practical. It's also the case that no metaform is allowed to contain whitespace, so a solution that starts at the length of the current "word" and works down is also possible.

Declarators ^

The list of variable declarators has expanded from my and our to include:

    my $foo             # ordinary lexically scoped variable
    our $foo            # lexically scoped alias to package variable
    has $foo            # object attribute
    state $foo          # persistent lexical (cloned with closures)
    constant $foo       # lexically scoped compile-time constant

Variable declarators such as my now take a signature as their argument. (The syntax of function signatures is described more fully in S06.)

The parentheses around the signature may be omitted for a simple declaration that declares a single variable, along with its associated type, traits and the initializer:

    constant Dog $foo is woof = 123;    # okay: initializes $foo to 123
    constant (Dog $foo is woof = 123);  # same thing (with explicit parens)
    constant :(Dog $foo is woof = 123); # same thing (full Signature form)
    constant (Dog $foo is woof) = 123;  # wrong: constants cannot be assigned to

Each declarator can take an initializer following an equals sign (which should not be confused with a normal assignment, because the timing of the initialization depends on the natural lifetime of the container, which in turn depends on which declarator you use).

    my $foo = 1;         # happens at the same time as normal assignment
    our $foo = 1;        # happens at INIT time
    has $foo = 1;        # happens at BUILD time
    state $foo = 1;      # happens at START time
    constant $foo = 1;   # happens at BEGIN time

(Note that the semantics of our are different from Perl�5, where the initialization happens at the same time as a my. To get the same effect in Perl�6 you'd have to say "c<(our $foo) = 1;>" instead.)

If you do not initialize a container, it starts out undefined at the beginning of its natural lifetime. (In other words, you can't use the old Perl�5 trick of "my $foo if 0" to get a static variable, because a my variable starts out uninitialized every time through in Perl�6 rather than retaining its previous value.) Native integer containers that do not support the concept of undefined should be initialized to 0 instead. (Native floating-point containers are by default initialized to NaN.) Typed object containers start out containing an undefined protoobject of the correct type.

List-context pseudo-assignment is supported for simple declarations but not for signature defaults:

    constant @foo = 1,2,3;      # okay: initializes @foo to (1,2,3)
    constant (@foo = 1,2,3);    # wrong: 2 and 3 are not variable names

When parentheses are omitted, you may use any infix assignment operator instead of = as the initializer. In that case, the left hand side of the infix operator will be the variable's prototype object:

    constant Dog $fido .= new;      # okay: a constant Dog object
    constant Dog $fido =;   # same thing
    constant Dog $fido = $; # wrong: invalid self-reference
    constant (Dog $fido .= new);    # wrong: cannot use .= with parens

Note that very few mutating operators make sense on a protoobject, however, since protoobjects are a kind of undefined object.

Parentheses must always be used when declaring multiple parameters:

    my $a;                  # okay
    my ($b, $c);            # okay
    my ($b = 1, $c = 2);    # okay - "my" intializers assign at runtime
    my $b, $c;              # wrong: "Use of undeclared variable: $c"

Types occurring between the declarator and the signature are distributed into each variable:

    my Dog ($b, $c);
    my (Dog $b, Dog $c);    # same thing

[XXX the following probably belongs in S06.] The syntax for constructing a Signature object when the parser isn't already expecting one is:

    :(Dog $a, *@c)

This might be used like this:

    my $sig = :(Dog $a, *@c);

Signatures are expected after declarators such as my, sub, method, rule, etc. In such declarators the colon may be omitted. But it's also legal to use it:

    my :($b, $c);               # okay
    sub foo :($a,$b) {...}      # okay

The -> "pointy block" token also introduces a signature, but in this case you must omit both the colon and the parens. For instance, if you're defining the "loop variable" of a loop block:

    for @dogpound -> Dog $fido { ... }

If a signature is assigned to (whether declared or colon form), the signature is converted to a list of lvalue variables and the ordinary rules of assignment apply, except that the evaluation of the right side and the assignment happens at time determined by the declarator. (With my this is always when an ordinary assignment would happen.) If the signature is too complicated to convert to an assignment, a compile-time error occurs. Assignment to a signature makes the same item/list distinction as ordinary assignment, so

    my $a = foo();      # foo in item context
    my ($a) = foo();    # foo in list context

If a signature is bound to an argument list, then the binding of the arguments proceeds as if the signature were the formal parameters for a function, except that, unlike in a function call, the parameters are bound rw by default rather than readonly. See Binding above.

Note that temp and let are not variable declarators, because their effects only take place at runtime. Therefore, they take an ordinary lvalue object as their argument. See S04 for more details.

There are a number of other declarators that are not variable declarators. These include both type declarators:

    package Foo
    module Foo
    class Foo
    role Foo
    subset Foo

and code declarators:

    sub foo
    method foo
    submethod foo
    multi foo
    proto foo
    macro foo
    quote qX
    regex foo
    rule foo
    token foo

These all have their uses and are explained in subsequent Synopses.

Argument List Interpolating ^

Perl�5 forced interpolation of a function's argument list by use of the & prefix. That option is no longer available in Perl�6, so instead the | prefix operator serves as an interpolator, by casting its operand to a Capture object and inserting the capture's parts into the current argument list. This operator can be used to interpolate an Array or Hash into the current call, as positional and named arguments respectively.

Note that the resulting arguments still must comply with the subroutine's signature, but the presence of | defers that test until run time for that argument (and for any subsequent arguments):

    my @args := [item @foo, @bar];
    push |@args;

is equivalent to:

    push @foo: @bar;

which is just another way to write:


Unlike [,], | does not flatten its argument, but instead directly converts its argument into a Capture:

    my @args = \$x, 1, 2, 3;
    say [,] @args;  # say($x: 1, 2, 3);
    say |@args;     # say(\$x, 1, 2, 3);

Because of this, |%args always produces named arguments, and |@args always produces positional arguments.

In list context, a Scalar holding an Array object does not flatten. Hence

    $bar = @bar;

merely pushes a single Array object onto @foo. You can explicitly flatten it in one of these ways:


Those three forms work because the slurpy array in push's signature flattens the Array object into a list argument.

Note that the first two forms also allow you to specify list context on assignment:

    @$bar = 1,2,3;
    $bar[] = 1,2,3;

For long expressions that need to be cast to an array lvalue, the second form can keep the "arrayness" of the lvalue close to the assignment operator:

    $[] = 1,2,3;

Otherwise you'd have to write:

    @($ = 1,2,3;

and remember the @ at the front until you get to the =.

The empty [] and .[] postfix operators are interpreted as a zero-dimensional slice returning the entire array, not as a one-dimensional null slice returning no elements. Likewise for {} and .{} on hashes, as well as the <>, .<>, «», and .«» constant and interpolating slice subscripting forms.

The | operator interpolates lazily for Array and Range objects. To get an immediate interpolation like Perl�5 does, add the eager list operator:

    func(|(1..Inf));       # works fine
    func(|eager 1..Inf);   # never terminates (well, actually...)

To interpolate a function's return value, you can say:

    push |func();

Within such an argument list, function return values are automatically exploded into their various parts, as if you'd said:

    my $capture = \(func());
    push $$capture: @$capture, %$capture;

or some such. The | then handles the various zones appropriately depending on the context. An invocant only makes sense as the first argument to the outer function call. An invocant inserted anywhere else just becomes a positional argument at the front of its list, as if its colon changed back to a comma.

If you already have a capture variable, you can interpolate all of its bits at once using the prefix:<|> operator:

    my (|$capture) := func();
    push |$capture;

Traversing arrays in parallel ^

In order to support parallel iteration over multiple arrays, Perl�6 has a zip function that builds a list of Seq objects from the elements of two or more arrays. In ordinary list context this behaves as a list of Captures and automatically flattens.

    for zip(@names; @codes) -> $name, $zip {
        print "Name: $name;   Zip code: $zip\n";

zip has an infix synonym, the Z operator.

In an explicitly multidimensional list context, however, the sequences turn into subarrays, and each element would then have to be unpacked by the signature:

    for @@(zip(@names; @codes)) -> [$name, $zip] {
        print "Name: $name;   Zip code: $zip\n";

By default the zip function reads to the end of the shortest list, but a short list may always be extended arbitrarily by putting * after the final value, which replicates the final value as many times as necessary. If instead of supplying a default value for short lists, you just wish to skip missing entries, use roundrobin instead:

    for roundrobin(@queue1; @queue2; @queue3) -> $next {

To read arrays serially rather than in parallel, use list(@x;@y). This wins a "useless use of list award" in this case since you could always just write (@x,@y) to mean the same thing. But sometimes it's nice to be explicit about that:

    @foo := [[1,2,3],[4,5,6]]; say list([;] @foo); # 1,2,3,4,5,6

Minimal whitespace DWIMmery ^

Whitespace is no longer allowed before the opening bracket of an array or hash subscript, or the opening parenthesis of an argument list. That is:

    @deadbeef[$x]         # okay
    @a       [$b]         # WRONG
    %monsters{'cookie'}   # okay
    %people  {'john'}     # WRONG
    saymewant('cookie')   # okay
    mewant   ('cookie')   # WRONG

One of the several useful side-effects of this restriction is that parentheses are no longer required around the condition of control constructs:

    if $value eq $target {
        print "Bullseye!";
    while $i < 10 { $i++ }

It is, however, still possible to align subscripts and other postfix operators by explicitly using the unspace syntax (see S02):

     %monsters.{'cookie'} =;
     %beatles\.{'ringo'}  =;
     %people\ .{'john'}   =;
     %cats\   .{'fluffy'} =;

Whitespace is in general required between any keyword and any opening bracket that is not introducing a subscript or function arguments. Any keyword followed directly by parentheses will be taken as a function call instead.

    if $a == 1 { say "yes" }            # preferred syntax
    if ($a == 1) { say "yes" }          # P5-ish if construct
    if($a,$b,$c)                        # if function call

It is possible for if() to also invoke a macro call, but if so, it's a prefix:<if> macro rather than a statement_control:<if> macro.

Sequence points ^

Certain operators are guaranteed to provide sequence points. Sequence points are guaranteed whenever some thunk (a lazy chunk of code) is conditionally evaluated based on the result of some other evaluation, so the short-circuit and conditional operators all provide sequence points.

Certain other operators guarantee the absence of sequence points, including junctional operators, hyperoperators, and feed operators. These operators promise the compiler that you consider the bits of code not to be dependent on each other so that they can operate in parallel if they like.

A large number of operators (such as +) are stuck in the middle, and may exhibit sequential behavior today, but might not tomorrow. A program that relies on either sequential or parallel behavior for one of these operators is erroneous. As we get more feedback from people writing parallelizing optimizers, we reserve the right to classify various of the unclassified operators into one of the two specified sets. (We need to give these three sets of operators good names.)

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