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Synopsis 3: Operators


    Created: 8 Mar 2004
    Last Modified: 16 Oct 2015
    Version: 288


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

Operator precedence

Perl 6 has about the same number of precedence levels as Perl 5, but they're differently arranged in spots. Here we list the levels from "tightest" to "loosest", along with a few examples of each level. (Column 'A' is for "associativity", see following table.)

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

Using two ! symbols below generically to represent any pair of operators that have the same precedence, the associativities specified above for binary operators are interpreted as follows:

        Assoc     Meaning of $a ! $b ! $c
        =====     =========================
    L   left      ($a ! $b) ! $c
    R   right     $a ! ($b ! $c)
    N   non       ILLEGAL
    C   chain     ($a ! $b) and ($b ! $c)
    X   list      infix:<!>($a; $b; $c)
    O   N/A       (not really an operator)

For unaries this is interpreted as:

        Assoc     Meaning of !$a!
        =====     =========================
    L   left      (!$a)!
    R   right     !($a!)
    N   non       ILLEGAL

(In standard Perl there are no unaries that can take advantage of associativity, since at each precedence level the standard operators are either consistently prefix or postfix.)

Note that list associativity (X) only works between identical operators. If two different list-associative operators have the same precedence, they are assumed to be non-associative with respect to each other, and parentheses must be used to disambiguate.

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 illegal and must be written as either of:

    (@a X @b) Z @c
    @a X (@b Z @c)

If the only implementation of a list-associative operator is binary, it will be treated as right associative.

The standard precedence levels attempt to be consistent in their associativity, but user-defined operators and precedence levels may mix right and left associative operators at the same precedence level. If two conflicting operators are used ambiguously in the same expression, the operators will be considered non-associative with respect to each other, and parentheses must be used to disambiguate.

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. Here are some examples.

Method postfix precedence

All method postfixes (except for i) 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 characters 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 C<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        # Devanagari
    ০..৯        # Bengali
    ੦..੯        # Gurmukhi
    ૦..૯        # Gujarati
    ୦..୯        # Oriya

Certain 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      # fullwidth digits

Ranges that are open-ended simply because Unicode has not defined codepoints for them (yet?) are counted as rangechars, but are specifically excluded from "carry" semantics, because Unicode may add those codepoints in the future. (This has already happened with the circled numbers, for instance!) For such ranges, Perl will pretend that the characters are contiguous for calculating successors and predecessors, and will fail if you run off of either end.

    Ⅰ..Ⅻ        # clock roman numerals uc
    ⅰ..ⅻ        # clock roman numerals lc
    ⓪..㊿       # circled digits/numbers 0..50
    ⒜..⒵        # parenthesized lc
    ⚀..⚅        # die faces 1..6
    ❶..❿        # dingbat negative circled 1..10

Note: for actual ranges in Perl you'll need to quote the characters above:

    '⓪'..'㊿'   # circled digits/numbers 0..50

If you want to future-proof the top end of your range against further Unicode additions, you may specify it as "whatever":

    '⓪'..*      # circled digits/numbers up to current known Unicode max

Since these non-carrying ranges fail when they run out, it is recommended that you avoid non-carrying rangechars where, for instance, you need to keep generating unique filenames. It's much better to generate longer strings via carrying rangechars in such cases.

Note that all character increments can be handled by lookup in a single table of successors since we've defined our ranges not to overlap.

Anyway, back to string increment. Only rangechars may be incremented; 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.

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 hash is actually a SetHash, in which case decrement actually deletes the key from the SetHash.

Increment/decrement of an undefined Numeric, Cool, or Any variable sets the variable to 0 and then performs the increment/decrement. Hence a postincrement returns 0 the first time:

    my $x; say $x++;    # 0, not Any

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

Operators of one argument


Note that, unlike in Perl 5, you must use the .meth forms to default to $_ in Perl 6.

There is no unary rand prefix in Perl 6, though there is a .rand method call and an argumentless rand term. There is no unary int prefix either; you must use a typecast to a type such as Int or int. (Typecasts require parentheses and may not be used as prefix operators.) In other words:

    my $i = int $x;   # ILLEGAL

is a syntax error (two terms in a row), because int is a type name now.

Nonchaining binary precedence

Chaining binary precedence

All operators on this precedence level may be chained; see "Chained comparisons". They all return a boolean value.

Tight and precedence

Tight or precedence

Conditional operator precedence


Operator adverbs are special-cased in the grammar, but give the appearance of being parsed as trailing unary operators at a pseudo-precedence level slightly tighter than item assignment. (They're not officially "postfix" operators because those require the absence of whitespace, and these allow whitespace. These adverbs insert themselves in the spot where the parser is expecting an infix operator, but the parser continues to look for an infix after parsing the adverb and applying it to the previous term.) Thus,

    $a < 1 and $b == 2 :carefully

does the == carefully, while

    $a < 1 && $b == 2 :carefully

does the && carefully because && is of tighter precedence than "comma". Use

    $a < 1 && ($b == 2 :carefully)

to apply the adverb to the == operator instead. We say that == is the "topmost" operator in the sense that it is at the top of the parse tree that the adverb could possibly apply to. (It could not apply outside the parens.) If you are unsure what the topmost operator is, just ask yourself which operator would be applied last. For instance, in

    +%hash{$key} :foo

the subscript happens first and the + operator happens last, so :foo would apply to that. Use

    +(%hash{$key} :foo)

to apply :foo to the subscripting operator instead.

Adverbs will generally attach the way you want when you say things like

    1 op $x+2 :mod($x)

The proposed internal testing syntax makes use of these precedence rules:

    $x eqv $y+2  :ok<$x is equivalent to $y+2>;

Here the adverb is considered to be modifying the eqv operator.

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 Lists or Seqs, 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)

As illustrated by the last example, when two junctions are applied through a single operator, the result is a junction representing the application of the operator to each possible combination of values.

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

This opens doors for constructions like:

     if $roll == none(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 junctions is potentially problematic if autothreaded naively. However, by defining != and ne in terms of the negation metaoperator, we automatically get the "not raising" that is expected by an English speaker. That is

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

really means

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

which the metaoperator rewrites to a higher-order function resembling something like:

    negate((* == *), $a, (1|2|3));

which ends up being equivalent to:

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

which is the semantics an English speaker expects. However, it may well be better style to write the latter form yourself.

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.

The various operators for sets and bags (intersection, union, etc.) also have junctive precedence (except for those that return Bool, which are instead classified as chaining operators).

Comparison semantics

Range and RangeIter semantics

The .. range operator has variants with ^ on either end to indicate exclusion of that endpoint from the range. It always produces a Range object. Range objects are immutable, and primarily used for matching intervals. 1..2 is the interval from 1 to 2 inclusive of the endpoints, whereas 1^..^2 excludes the endpoints but matches any real number in between.

For numeric arguments of differing type, ranges coerce to the wider type, so:

    1 .. 1.5

is taken to mean:

    1.0 .. 1.5

These coercions are defined by multi signatures. (Other types may have different coercion policies.) It is specifically illegal to use a Range as an endpoint:

    0 ..^ 10  # 0 .. 9
    0 .. ^10  # ERROR

For ranges with other non-numeric types on the right, the right argument is coerced to numeric and then used above. Hence, Array types in the second argument are assumed to be intended as numeric if the left argument is numeric:

    0 ..^ @x    # okay
    0 ..^ +@x   # same thing

Likewise for strings:

    0 .. '1.5'  # okay
    0 .. +'1.5' # same thing

Whatever types are also supported to represent -Inf/+Inf. If either endpoint is a WhateverCode, the range is primed into another WhateverCode.

For other types, ranges may be composed for any two arguments of the same type, if the type itself supports it. That is, in general, infix:<..>:(::T Any $x, T $y) is defined such that, if type T defines generic comparison (that is, by defining infix:<cmp> or equivalent), a range is constructed in that type. If T also defines .succ, then the range may be iterated. (Otherwise the range may only be used as an interval, and will return failure if asked for a RangeIter.) Note that it is not necessary to define a range multimethod in type T, since the generic routine can usually auto-generate the range for you.

Range objects support .min and .max methods representing their left and right arguments. The .bounds method returns both values as a two-element list representing the interval. Ranges are not autoreversing: 2..1 is always a null range. (The sequence operator ... can autoreverse, however. See below.)

Range objects support .excludes-min and .excludes-max methods representing the exclusion (has ^) or inclusion (no ^) of each endpoint in the Range.

    Range      | .min | .max | .excludes-min | .excludes-max
    1..10      | 1    | 10   | Bool::False   | Bool::False
    2.7..^9.3  | 2.7  | 9.3  | Bool::False   | Bool::True
    'a'^..'z'  | 'a'  | 'z'  | Bool::True    | Bool::False
    1^..^10    | 1    | 10   | Bool::True    | Bool::True

If used in a list context, a Range object returns an iterator that produces a sequence of values starting at the min and ending at the max. Either endpoint may be excluded using ^. Hence 1..2 produces (1,2) but 1^..^2 is equivalent to 2..1 and produces no values, like () does. To specify a sequence that counts down, use a reverse:

    reverse 1..2
    reverse 'a'..'z'

Alternately, for numeric sequences, you can use the sequence operator instead of the range operator:

    100,99,98 ... 0
    100, *-1 ... 0      # same thing

In other words, any Range used as a list assumes .succ semantics, never .pred semantics. No other increment is allowed; if you wish to increment a numeric sequence by some number other than 1, you must use the ... sequence operator.

    0, *+0.1 ... 100    # 0, 0.1, 0.2, 0.3 ... 100

A Range may be iterated only if the type in question supports the .succ method. If it does not, any attempt to iterate returns failure.

Smart matching against a Range object does comparisons (by coercion, if necessary) in the Real domain if either endpoint does Real. Otherwise comparison is in the Stringy domain if either argument does Stringy. Otherwise the min's type is used if it defines ordering, or if not, the max's type. If neither min nor max have an ordering, dispatch to .ACCEPTS fails. It may also fail if the ordering in question does not have any way to coerce the object being smartmatched into an appropriate type implied by the chosen domain of ordering.

In general, the domain of comparison should be a type that can represent all the values in question, if possible. Hence, since Int is not such a type, it is promoted to a Real, so fractional numbers are not truncated before comparison to integer ranges. Instead the integers are assumed to represent points on the real number line:

    1.5 ~~ 1^..^2  # true, equivalent to 1 < 1.5 < 2
    2.1 ~~ 1..2    # false, equivalent to 1 <= 2.1 <= 2

If a * (see the "Whatever" type in S02) occurs on the right side of a range, it is taken to mean "positive infinity" in whatever typespace the range is operating, as inferred from the left operand. A * on the left means "negative infinity" for types that support negative values, and the first value in the typespace otherwise as inferred from the right operand.

    0..*        # 0 .. +Inf
    'a'..*      # 'a' le $_
    *..0        # -Inf .. 0
    *..*        # -Inf .. +Inf
    v1.2.3 .. * # Any version higher than 1.2.3.
    May .. *    # May through December

An empty range cannot be iterated; it returns () instead. An empty range still has a defined .min and .max, but one of the following is true: 1. The .min is greater than the .max. 2. The .min is equal to the .max and at least one of .excludes-min or .excludes-max is true. 3. Both .excludes-min and .excludes-max are true and .min and .max are consecutive values in a discrete type that cannot create new values between those two consecutive values. For this purpose, interval representations in Real (including integers) are considered infinitely divisible even though there is a practical limit depending on the actual representation, so #3 does not apply. (Nor does it apply to strings, versions, instants, or durations. #3 does apply to enums, however, so Tue ^..^ Wed is considered empty because the enum in question does not define "Tuesday and a half".)

An empty range evaluates to False in boolean context; all other ranges evaluate to True.

Ranges that are iterated transmute into the corresponding sequence operator, using .succ semantics to find the next value, and the appropriate inequality semantics to determine an end to the sequence. For a non-discrete type with a discrete .succ (such as Real), it is possible to write a range that, when iterated, produces no values, but evaluates to true, because the .succ function skips over divisible intervals:

    say +( 0 ^..^ 1 )   # 0 elements
    say ?( 0 ^..^ 1 )   # True
    say 0.5 ~~ 0 ^..^ 1 # True; range contains non-integer values

Unary ranges

The unary ^ operator generates a range from 0 up to (but not including) its argument. So ^4 is short for 0..^4.

    for ^4 { say $_ } # 0, 1, 2, 3

Auto-priming of ranges

[This section is conjectural, and may be ignored for 6.0.]

Since use of Range objects in item context is usually non-sensical, a Range object used as an operand for scalar operators will generally attempt to distribute the operator to its endpoints and return another suitably modified Range instead, much like a junction of two items, only with proper interval semantics. (Notable exceptions to this autothreading include infix:<~~>, which does smart matching, and prefix:<+> which returns the length of the range.) Therefore if you wish to write a slice using a length instead of an endpoint, you can say

    @foo[ start() + ^$len ]

which is short for:

    @foo[ start() + (0..^$len) ]

which is equivalent to something like:

    @foo[ list do { my $tmp = start(); $tmp ..^ $tmp+$len } ]

In other words, operators of numeric and other ordered types are generally overloaded to do something sensible on Range objects.

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. (And, in fact, the ~~ operator works as a small topicalizer; that is, it binds $_ to the value of the left side for the evaluation of the right side. Use the underlying .ACCEPTS form to avoid this topicalization.)

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 $_)
    ======      =====     =====================   ===================
    Any         True      ~~ True                 (parsewarn on literal token)
    Any         False     ~~ False match          (parsewarn on literal token)
    Any         Match     ~~ Successful match     (parsewarn on literal token)
    Any         Nil       ~~ Benign failure       (parsewarn on literal token)
    Any         Failure   Failure type check      (okay, matches against type)
    Any         *         block signature match   block successfully binds to |$_
    Any         Callable:($)  item sub truth          X($_)
    Any         Callable:()   simple closure truth    X() (ignoring $_)
    Any         Bool      simple truth            X (treats Bool value as success/failure)
    Positional  List      lists are comparable    $_ »~~« X (but dwims ** wildcards!)
    Any         Match     match success           X (treats Match value as success)
    Any         Nil       benign failure          X (treats Nil value as failure)
    Any         Failure   malign failure          X (passes Failure object through)
    Any         Numeric   numeric equality        +$_ == X
    Any         Stringy   string equality         ~$_ eq X
    Any         Whatever  always matches          True
    Associative Pair      test hash mapping       $_{X.key} ~~ X.value
    Any         Pair      test object attribute   ?."{X.key}" === ?X.value (e.g. filetests)
    Set         Set       identical sets          $_ === X
    Any         Setty     force set comparison    $_.Set === X.Set
    Bag         Bag       identical bags          $_ === X
    Any         Baggy     force bag comparison    $_.Bag === X.Bag
    Mix         Mix       identical bags          $_ === X
    Any         Mixy      force mix comparison    $_.Mix === X.Mix
    Associative Array     keys/list are comparable +X == +$_ and $_{X.all}:exists
    Callable    Positional list vs predicate      so $_(X)
    Any         Positional lists are comparable   $_[] «===» X[]
    Hash        Hash      hash mapping equivalent $_ eqv X
    Associative Hash      force hash comparison   $_.Hash eqv X
    Callable    Hash      hash vs predicate       so $_(X)
    Positional  Hash      attempted any/all       FAIL, point user to [].any and [].all for LHS
    Pair        Hash      hash does mapping       X{.key} ~~ .value
    Any         Hash      hash contains object    X{$_}:exists
    Str         Regex     string pattern match    .match(X)
    Associative Regex     attempted reverse dwim  FAIL, point user to any/all vs keys/values/pairs
    Positional  Regex     attempted any/all/cat   FAIL, point user to any/all/cat/join for LHS
    Any         Regex     pattern match           .match(X)
    Range       Range     subset range            !$_ or .bounds.all ~~ X (mod ^'s)
    Any         Range     in real range           X.min <= $_ <= X.max (mod ^'s)
    Any         Range     in stringy 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      ???
    Callable    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:


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 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
    ===========                 ===============
    Iterator Array              List
    named values created with
      Class, Enum, or Role,
      or generic type binding   Type
    Cat                         Str
    Int UInt etc.               Num
    Buf                         Str or Array of Int

(Note, however, that these mappings can be overridden by explicit definition of the appropriate ACCEPTS 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 of integers is erroneous, and warnings may be generously issued.

Matching against a Grammar treats the grammar as a typename, not as a grammar. You need to use the .parse or .parsefile methods to invoke a grammar.

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 an explicit call to the underlying ACCEPTS method using $_ as the pattern. For example:

    $_      X    Type of Match Wanted   What to use on the right
    ======  ===  ====================   ========================
    Callable 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:

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

    given $boolean {
        when .Bool == 1 {...}
        when .Bool == 0 {...}

Better, just use an if statement. In any case, if you try to smartmatch with ~~ or when, it will recognize True or False syntactically and warn you that it won't do what you expect. The compiler is also allowed to warn about any other boolean construct that does not test $_, to the extent it can detect that.

In a similar vein, any function (such as grep) that takes a Matcher will not accept an argument of type Bool, since that almost always indicates a programming error. (One may always use * to match anything, if that's what you really want. Or use a closure that returns a constant boolean value.)

Note also that regex matching does not return a Bool, but merely a Match object (or a Nil) that can be used as a boolean value. Use an explicit ? or so to force a Bool value if desired. A Match object represents a successful match and is treated by smartmatching the same as a True, Similarly, a Nil represents a failure, and cannot be used directly on the right side of a smartmatch. Test for definedness instead, or use * === Nil.

Regex matches with modifiers such as :g that wish to return multiple matches do so using a List. As with any list, the value evaluates to true if there are 1 or more entries. If there are no matches, an empty list is returned, which evaluates to false in a Boolean context.

For the purpose of smartmatching, all Set, Bag, and Mix values are considered equivalent to the corresponding hash type, SetHash, BagHash, and MixHash, 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). So all of these Mixy types only compare keys, not values. Use eqv instead to test the equivalence of both keys and values.

Despite the need for an implementation to examine the bounds of a range in order to perform smartmatching, the result of smartmatching two Range objects is not actually defined in terms of bounds, but rather as a subset relationship between two (potentially infinite) sets of values encompassed by the intervals involved, for any orderable type such as real numbers, strings, or versions. The result is defined as true if and only if all potential elements that would be matched by the left range are also matched by the right range. Hence it does not matter to what extent the bounds of an empty range are "overspecified". If the left range is empty, it always matches, because there exists no value to falsify it. If the right range is empty, it can match only if the left range is also empty.

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 iterator. (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 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 Match objects provide a way to get both the element's index and the 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 interchangeably.

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 "toplevel 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.)

Note in particular that because of adverbial precedence:

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

will apply the :xxx adverb to the + operator, not the method call. This is not likely to succeed.

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 eight 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 operators 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. In other words, these metaoperators are really just shorthand for higher-order functions (functions that take other functions as arguments).

Constructs containing metaoperators are considered "metatokens", by which we mean that they are not subject to ordinary longest-token matching rules, although their components are. Like ordinary tokens, however, metatokens do not allow whitespace between their subparts.

Assignment operators

Assignment operators 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 operator 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

If you apply an assignment operator to a container containing a type object (which is undefined), it is assumed that you are implementing some kind of notional "reduction" to an accumulator variable. To that end, the operation is defined in terms of the corresponding reduction operator, where the type object autovivifies to the operator's identity value. So if you say:

    $x -= 1;

it is more or less equivalent to:

    $x = [-]() unless defined $x;  # 0 for [-]()
    $x = $x - 1;

and $x ends up with -1 in it, as expected.

Hence you may correctly write:

    my Num $prod;
    for @factors -> $f {
        $prod *= $f;

While this may seem marginally useful in the scalar variable case, it's much more important for it to work this way when the modified location may have only just been created by autovivification. In other words, if you write:

    %prod{$key} *= $f

you need not worry about whether the hash element exists yet. If it does not, it will simply be initialized with the value of $f.

Negated relational operators

Any infix relational operator returning type Bool 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.

You may negate only those operators that return a Bool. Note that logical operators such as || and ^^ do not return a Bool, but rather one of the operands.

Reversed operators

Any infix operator may be called with its two arguments reversed by prefixing with R. For instance, to do reversed comparisons:


The precedence of any reversed operator is the same as the base operator. The associativity, however, is reversed, so

    [R-] 1,2,3   # produces 0 from 3 - 2 - 1
    [R**] 2,3,4   # produces 262144 from 4 ** 3 ** 2

Using both left and right associativity at the same precedence level is not prohibited, but is likely to drive you mad, unless of course you were mad in the first place, which seems almost a certainty by this point.

Hyper operators

The Unicode characters » (U+00BB) and « (U+00AB) 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)

(If you find yourself doing this, ask yourself whether you are really working with objects or lists; in the latter case, there may be other metaoperators such as Z or X that are more appropriate, and will not require parens.)

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 hyper operators

The meaning of a unary hyper operator depends on whether the operator is considered to be a structural dereferencing operator. Most operators are not structural.

Non-structural unary hyper operators

Non-structural unary hyper operators produce a hash or array of exactly the same shape as the single argument. The hyper will descend into nested lists and hashes to distribute over the lower-level values just as they distribute over the top-level values that are leaves in the tree. Non-structural unary hypers do not care whether the nesting is achieved by declaration in the case of shaped arrays, or by mere incorporation of sublists and subhashes dynamically. In any case the operator is applied only to the leaves of the structure.

Structural unary hyper operators

There are a few operators that are deemed to be structural, however, and will produce counterintuitive results if treated as ordinary operators. These include the dereferencing operators such as subscripts, as well as any method whose least-derived variant (or proto, in the case of a multi method) is declared or autogenerated in a class derived from Iterable. Additionally, structural methods include any method placed in class Any with the intent of treating items as lists of one item. So .elems is considered structural, but a prefix:<+> that happens to call .elems internally is not considered structural.

These operations are marked by declaring them with the is nodal property, which is available by inspection to the hyper controller when it examines the function it was passed. (Hypers are just one form of higher-order programming, after all, and functions are also objects with properties.) So this declaration is to be placed on the top-level declaration of the operator, a proto declaration when there are multiple candidates, or the candidate itself when there is only one candidate. If the is nodal trait is declared, the hyper controller will consider it to be structural.

[Conjecture: we can assume is nodal on methods declared in a class that is Iterable, to save having to mark every method as nodal. Or we provide a pragma within a lexical scope that assumes is nodal, so we can use it inside Any as well.]

[Conjecture: we might revise this be a does Nodal role instead of a trait, if the implementors decide that makes more sense.]

For structural hypers, we never implicitly follow references to substructures, since the operator itself wants to deal with the structure. So these operators distribute only over the top level of the structure.

For arrays or hashes declared with a shape (see S09), this top level may be multidimensional; unary hypers consider shaped arrays to really be one-dimensional (and indeed, for compactly stored multidimensional arrays, multidimensional subscripts can just be calculations into an underlying linear representation, which can be optimized to run on a GPU, so this makes implementational sense).

If the item is not declared with a shape, only the top dimension is mapped, equivalent to a normal .map method. (To map deeper dimensions than provided for by hypers, use the either .duckmap or .deepmap method, depending on whether you want to give the item mapping or the substructure first shot at each node.)

Binary hyper operators

In contrast to unary operators that allows for (a few) structural operators, infix operators are never considered structural, so the hyper infix controller will always consider the dynamic shape as potentially traversable in addition to any static shape. That is, it is allowed to follow references from any parent node to dynamically nested structures. (Whether it actually follows a particular reference depends on the relative shapes of the two arguments.)

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:

    func «*»

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 func is predeclared to be a type or value name.]

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.

For all hyper dwimminess, if a scalar is found where the other side expects a list, the scalar is considered to be a list of one element repeated * times.

Once we have two lists to process, we have to decide how to put the elements into correspondence. If both sides are dwimmy, the short list will have be repeated as many times as necessary to make the appropriate number of elements.

If only one side is dwimmy, then the list on that side only will be grown or truncated to fit the list on the non-dwimmy side.

Regardless of whether the dwim is forced or emergent from the shapes of the arrays, once the side to dwim on has been chosen, the dwim semantics on the dwimmy side are always:

    (@dwimmyside xx *).batch(@otherside.elems)

This produces a list the same length as the corresponding dimension on the other side. The original operator is then recursively applied to each corresponding pair of elements, in case there are more dimensions to handle.

Here are some examples:

    (1,2,3,4) »+« (1,2)   # always error
    (1,2,3,4) «+» (1,2)   # 2,4,4,6     rhs dwims to 1,2,1,2
    (1,2,3)   «+» (1,2)   # 2,4,4       rhs dwims to 1,2,1
    (1,2,3,4) «+« (1,2)   # 2,4         lhs dwims to 1,2
    (1,2,3,4) »+» (1,2)   # 2,4,4,6     rhs dwims to 1,2,1,2
    (1,2,3)   »+» (1,2)   # 2,4,4       rhs dwims to 1,2,1
    (1,2,3)   »+» 1       # 2,3,4       rhs dwims to 1,1,1

Another way to look at it is that the dwimmy list's elements are indexed modulo its number of elements so as to produce as many or as few elements as necessary.

Note that each element of a dwimmy list may in turn be expanded into another dimension if necessary, so you can, for instance, add one to all the elements of a matrix regardless of its dimensionality:

    @fancy »+=» 1

On the non-dwimmy side, any scalar value that does not know how to do Iterable 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 replicative 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 nested 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 Iterable role even if the object itself doesn't support the operator in question:

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

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


which means something like:

    my $type = $node.WHAT;
    $node.?foo // $type($ { .».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.

For any kind of zip or dwimmy hyper operator, any list ending with * is assumed to be infinitely extensible by taking its final element and replicating it:

    @array, *

is short for something like:

    @array[0..^@array], @array[*-1] xx *

Note that hypers promise that you don't care in what order the processing happens, only that the resulting structure ends up in a form consistent with the inputs. There is no promise from the system that the operation will be parallelized. Effective parallelization requires some means of partitioning the work without doing more extra work than you save. This will differ from structure to structure. In particular, infinite structures cannot be completely processed, and the system is allowed to balance out the demands of laziness with parallel processing. For instance, an algorithm that wants to divide a list into two equal sublists will not work if you have to calculate the length in advance, since you can't always calculate the length. Various approaches can be taken: handing off batches to be processed in parallel on demand, or interleaving roundrobin with a set of N processors, or whatever. In the limit, a simple, non-parallel, item-by-item lazy implementation is within spec, but unlikely to use multiple cores efficiently. Outside of performance requirements, if the algorithm depends on which of these approaches is taken, it is erroneous.

Reduction operators

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 a metatoken.

A reduction operator has the same precedence as a list prefix. In fact, a reduction operator really is a list prefix, 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:

    multi prefix:<[+]> (*@args) is default {
        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 priming:

    &prefix:<[*]> ::= &reduce.assuming(&infix:<*>, 1);
    &prefix:<[**]> ::= &reducerev.assuming(&infix:<**>);

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-associative operator (the ones with X in the precedence table), the implementation must take into account the listiness of the arguments; that is, if repeatedly applying a binary version of the operator would produce the wrong results, then it cannot be implemented that way. For instance:

    [^^] $a, $b, $c;  # means ($a ^^ $b ^^ $c), NOT (($a ^^ $b) ^^ $c)

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

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

For list infix operators, flattening is not done on the input list, so that multiple lists may be passed in as comma-separated arguments:

    [X~] (1,2), <a b>;  # 1,2 X~ <a b>

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 default list operator signature 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. To be consistent with chaining semantics, all the comparison operators return Bool::True for 1 or 0 arguments.

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

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::True    (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::True    (also for 1 arg)
    [eq]()      # Bool::True    (also for 1 arg)
    [!eq]()     # Bool::True    (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::True    (also for 1 arg)
    [===]()     # Bool::True    (also for 1 arg)
    [!===]()    # Bool::True    (also for 1 arg)
    [eqv]()     # Bool::True    (also for 1 arg)
    [!eqv]()    # Bool::True    (also for 1 arg)
    [&&]()      # Bool::True
    [||]()      # Bool::False
    [^^]()      # Bool::False
    [//]()      # Any
    [min]()     # +Inf
    [max]()     # -Inf
    [=]()       # Nil    (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.)

Similarly, list-associative operators that have the thunk-izing characteristics of macros (such as short-circuit operators) lose those macro-like characteristics. You can say

    [||] a(), b(), c(), d()

to return the first true result, but the evaluation of the list is controlled by the semantics of the list, not the semantics of ||. The operator still short-circuits, but only in the sense that it does not need to examine all the values returned by the list. This is still quite useful for performance, especially if the list could be infinite.

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, would cause [\x] to mean the normal reduction of infix:<\x>, not the triangular reduction of infix:<x>. To disambiguate, the syntax [\[x]] can be used to reduce with infix:<x>, while [\\x] or [\[\x]] could be used for triangular reduce with infix:<\x>.

Triangular reductions of chaining operators always consist of one or more True values followed by 0 or more False values.

Cross operators

The cross metaoperator, X, may be followed by any infix operator. It applies the modified operator across all groupings of its list arguments as returned by the ordinary infix:<X> operator. All generated cross operators are of list infix precedence, and are list associative.

The string concatenating form is:

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

The X~ operator desugars to:

    (<a b>; 1,2).crosswith(&[~])

which in turn means

    (<a b>; 1,2) { .reduce(&[~]) }

Note that

    <a b> X~ 1,2 X+ 3,4

could mean something like

    (<a b>; 1,2; 3,4) { .reduce({$^a ~ $^b + $^c}) }

but it is currently illegal as a non-identical list associative operator, which is considered non-associative. You can, however, always use parens to be explicit:

    <a b> X~ (1,2 X+ 3,4)

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

    <a b> X, 1,2 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 X, operator is perhaps more clearly written as X[,]. However, this 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* 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 cross operator:

    @a Xcmp @b Xcmp @c       # ILLEGAL
    @a Xeq @b Xeq @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.

All lists are assumed to be flat; multidimensional lists are handled by treating the first dimension as the only dimension.

Zip operators

The zip metaoperator, Z, may be followed by any infix operator. It applies the modified operator across all groupings of its list arguments as returned by the ordinary infix:<Z> operator. All generated zip operators are of list infix precedence, and are list associative.

The string concatenating form is:

    <a b> Z~ 1,2           #  'a1', 'b2'

The Z~ operator desugars to:

    (<a b>; 1,2).zipwith(&[~])

which in turn means

    (<a b>; 1,2) { .reduce(&[~]) }

Note that

    <a b> Z~ 1,2 Z+ 3,4

could mean something like

    (<a b>; 1,2; 3,4) { .reduce({$^a ~ $^b + $^c}) }

but it is currently illegal as a non-identical list associative operator, which is considered non-associative. You can, however, always use parens to be explicit:

    <a b> Z~ (1,2 Z+ 3,4)

[Conjecture: another approach would involve giving X and Z metaoperators a subprecedence within listop precedence corresponding to the original operator's precedence, so that Z~ and Z+ actually have different precedences within listop precedence. Then the above would parse as if you'd said <a b> Z~ ( 1,2 Z+ 3,4> ), but the lists would still parse at list infix precedence, with comma tighter than the zips. (This would actually be fairly trivial to implement, given how we represent our precedence as strings.) Also, though it's complicated to explain, subprecedence within Z might be exactly what the naive user expects.]

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

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


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

The Z, operator is perhaps more clearly written as Z[,]. However, this list form is common enough to have a shortcut, the ordinary infix Z operator described earlier.

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

    1,2 Z* 3,4               # 3,8

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

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

    @a Zcmp @b Zcmp @c       # ILLEGAL
    @a Zeq @b Zeq @c         # ok

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

The zip operation terminates when either of its lists terminates. (Do not use Zeq or Z== to compare two arrays, for instance, unless you want to know if one array is a prefix of the other. Use »eq« or »==« for that. Or better, just use eqv.)

Note that, unlike the X operator, all the terms of a Z operator may reasonably be infinite lists, since zipping is lazy.

All lists are assumed to be flat; multidimensional lists are handled by treating the first dimension as the only dimension.

Sequential operators

The sequence metaoperator, S, may be followed by any non-fiddly infix operator. It suppresses any explicit or implicit parallelism, and prevents the optimizer from reordering the operand evaluations. The 'S' can be thought of as standing for Sequential, Serial, Synchronous, Short-circuit, Single-thread, and Safe. Among other things. In particular, we can have:

    a S& b S& c         short-circuited AND junction
    a S| b S| c         short-circuited OR junction
    a S^ b S^ c         short-circuited XOR junction
    a S»op« b           single-threaded hyperop
    a SX* b             single-threaded X*
    a SX[*] b           single-threaded X*
    a S[X*] b           single-threaded X*
    a S+ b              suppress arg reordering by ignorant optimizer

This metaoperator has the same precedence and associativity as its base operator. The compiler is free to discard any S metaoperator that is provably redundant, such as the one in S||. The compiler is free to intuit an S on any operator involving known volatile operands where that does not otherwise change the semantics of the operator.

[Conjectural: since metaoperators are notionally applied from inside to outside, the semantics of serializing and reversing depends on the order of the metaoperators:

    a SR/ b             evaluates b, then a, then does b/a
    a RS/ b             evaluates a, then b, then does b/a
    a RSR/ b            evaluates b, then a, then does a/b

...maybe. Can argue it all the other way too...]

Nesting of metaoperators

Anywhere you may use an ordinary infix operator, you may use the infix operator enclosed in square brackets with the same meaning. (No whitespace is allowed.) You may therefore use square brackets within a metatoken to disambiguate sequences that might otherwise be misinterpreted, or to force a particular order of application when there are multiple metaoperators in the metatoken:

    @a [X+]= @b
    @a X[+=] @b

Since metatokens may never be disambiguated with internal whitespace, use of brackets is especially useful when the operator and its associated metaoperator share characters that would be confusing to the reader, even if not to the compiler:

    @a >>>>> $b        # huh?
    @a >>[>]>> $b      # oh yeah

Turning an infix operator into a noun

Any infix function may be referred to as a noun either by the normal long form or a short form using square brackets directly after the & sigil:


This is convenient for function application:

    1, 1, &[+] ... *       # fibonacci sequence
    sort &[Rleg], @list    # reverse sort as strings

The &[op] form always refers to a binary function of the operator, even if it is underlyingly defined as a variadic list-associative operator.

There is no corresponding form for unary operators, but those may usually be constructed by applying an operator to *:

    sort -*, @list        # sort reversed numerically

Turning a binary function into an infix

By using the noun form of a binary function inside square brackets, it is possible to turn any function that accepts at least two arguments into an infix operator. For instance:

    $y [&atan2] $x        # same as atan2($y, $x)

By itself this may seem relatively useless, but note that it allows composition of normal 2-arg functions with all the infix metaoperators. Since it is primarily intended for composition with metaoperators, this form always assumes a binary function, even if the function could accept more arguments; functions that accept more than 2 arguments do not thereby accept multiple arguments on the right side. You must use the normal functional form to pass three or more positional arguments.

This form of operator is parsed with a precedence of addition. The next character after & must be either alphabetic or a left parenthesis. Otherwise a normal infix operator starting with that character will be assumed. Hence [&&] parses as a form of the && operator.


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)

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:

    my Dog $foo is woof = 123;    # okay: initializes $foo to 123
    my (Dog $foo is woof = 123);  # same thing (with explicit parens)
    my :(Dog $foo is woof = 123); # same thing (full Signature form)

The constant declarator can declare either variables or names as compile-time constants:

    constant $foo = 1;      # compile-time constant variable
    constant bar = 2;       # compile-time constant symbol

Because it can declare names in "type" space, the constant declarator may not declare using the signature, which would be ambiguous.

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 execute time, like normal assignment
    our $foo = 1;        # happens at INIT time
    has $foo = 1;        # happens at BUILD time
    state $foo = 1;      # happens at execute time, but only once
    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 "(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 type object of the correct type.

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

    my @foo = 1,2,3;      # okay: initializes @foo to (1,2,3)
    my (@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:

    my Dog $fido .= new;      # okay: a Dog object
    my Dog $fido =;   # same thing
    my Dog $fido = $; # okay: valid self-reference
    my (Dog $fido .= new);    # wrong: cannot use .= inside signature

Note that very few mutating operators make sense on a type object, however, since type objects are a kind of undefined object. (Those operators with an identity value are an exception, as noted above.)

Parentheses must always be used when declaring multiple parameters:

    my $a;                  # okay
    my ($b, $c);            # okay
    my ($b = 1, $c = 2);    # okay - "my" initializers 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
    enum Foo
    constant 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.

Note that since constant is parsed as a type declarator (essentially declaring a type with a single value), it can actually take a scope declarator in front:

    my constant companion = 'Fido';
    has constant $.pi = 22/7;
    state constant $latch = snapshot(); # careful with this!

However, the constant declarator is intended to create values the compiler can inline, so it always evaluates its value at BEGIN time. Thus, while the extra scope declarator may say where the value is stored and when that storage is initialized, it cannot change the value of that from instance to instance. In general, if you want something that doesn't vary over the normal lifetime of a scope declarator, initialize it to a readonly value using ::= rather than declaring it as a constant. Then each time the scope declarator is used, it can initialize to a different readonly value:

    state $latch ::= snapshot();  # each clone gets its own value of $latch

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 = \(@foo, @bar);
    push |$args;

is equivalent to:

    push @foo, @bar;


    my $args = \(@foo: @bar);
    push |$args;

is instead equivalent to:


| does not turn its argument into an Array, but instead directly converts its argument into a Capture:

    my @args = \$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;

The empty [] and .[] postfix operators are interpreted as a zero-dimensional subscript 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 List 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 lol(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 {

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):

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

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.)

Non-declarative metaoperator names

When a metaoperator is mentioned non-declaratively, such as in &[Rop], &infix:<op=>, or prefix:<[op]>(@list), if the metaoperator name lookup fails, the operator is automatically generated just as if the metaoperator had been used in its normal location.


    Luke Palmer <[email protected]>
    Larry Wall <[email protected]>
    Darren Duncan <[email protected]>
    Elizabeth Mattijsen <[email protected]>
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