Category Archives: Conferences

YAPC::Europe Talks

The Call for Papers for YAPC::Europe closes in four days. If you’re thinking of giving a talk in Pisa then this weekend would be a very good time to give it some serious thought.

I proposed four talks last night. I’m hoping that the organisers won’t choose more than two of them, but I like to give them a bit of choice. The titles are as follows:

  • The Perl Community
  • Web Services for Fun and Profit
  • Things I Learned From Having Users
  • Perlanet Update

I’ve also submitted a proposal for a lightning talk called “Perl Fashion”. It’s been several years since I’ve given a lightning talk, so that’ll be an interesting experience.

Don’t forget that there are also training courses (including my course on Modern Perl).

Looking forward to the conference very much. Hope to see some of you there.

Marketing Perl at FOSDEM

It’s two weeks since I went to FOSDEM and I promised to write an article about what happened there. Better do that before I forget everything.

Some time ago, Gabor applied for a Perl stand at this year’s FOSDEM. The idea was that we could go along and promote Perl to people who are part of the Open Source community but not part of the Perl community.

When I first arrived at the venue, it took me some time to find the Perl stand. This was largely because I was searching in the wrong building. I forgot that FOSDEM is spread over several buildings at the ULB. I had assumed that we’d be in the main building, but we were actually in another building along with most of the stands.

The Perl Foundation had paid for some stuff for us to give away from the stand. We had some postcards listing Perl events in Europe this year and some round tuits. There were also a few other leaflets promoting particular Perl events.

I think it was unusual for a programming language to have a stand at the conference. Plenty of other projects had stands, but I didn’t see any other languages. A lot of the other stands were promoting projects that they were able to demonstrate. I think it’s hard to demonstrate a programming language in a situation like that.

We got a lot of people passing by the stand and many of them stopped to talk. The round tuits attracted the most attention, but it was sometimes hard to explain the joke to people whose first language wasn’t English. There were at least a couple of times when I just gave up trying.

On Saturday afternoon, Juerd arrived. He brought a projector with him and we set that up projecting a hastily assembled slideshow on the wall opposite us. That also drew a lot of attention to the stand. In the future I think it’s a good idea to plan something like that in advance.

Just about everyone who we talked to knew about Perl. And most of them had used it at some point. Most of the people I spoke to were still using it to some extent. But very few of them knew about the “Modern Perl” projects that we were promoting (Catalyst, Moose, DBIx::Class, etc) or the huge number of Perl events that take place i Europe every year. I think we got some of them interesting in Modern Perl and I’m hoping that we’ll see a few new faces at various Perl events this summer. I promised to buy a drink for some of them if they come along to YAPC::Europe. If they all take me up on it, it might get a bit expensive.

Our presence at the conference was all very experimental. We know that this is something that we want to do more of, but we’re just working out the most effective approaches to take. But I think that we can count this attempt as a success and take the lessons learned forward to other non-Perl conferences. The next one on the list is CeBIT.

Other people have also written about this event: Gabor, Claudio, Erik, Salve.

FOSDEM

This weekend is the annual FOSDEM conference in Brussels. I really enjoy FOSDEM but, for reasons I don’t really understand, this will be the first time I’ve been since 2005. It will also be one of the rare occasions where I attend a conference without giving a talk – the organisers turned down my proposed talk on Modern Perl.

I like FOSDEM because it’s not just a Perl conference. It’s about the wider open source movement. In fact Perl is a really small part of of the conference. In many years it has been completely unrepresented. One of the things I mentioned in my “M Word” talk at the London Perl Workshop was that Perl needed to be better represented at non-Perl conferences. With that in mind, the Perl Foundation has booked a stand at the conference and various volunteers (including me) will be there telling people about how wonderful Perl is.

The main driver behind this push to get Perl represented at other conferences has been Gabor Szabo and he’ll also be at FOSDEM giving a couple of talks. One is a lightning talk introducing people to Padre. The other is about packaging CPAN modules for Linux distributions. Those of you with long memories might remember me talking about this at YAPC in Copenhagen. I’m hoping that attending Gabor’s talk will galvanise me into having another go at my project to automatically build RPMs of many more CPAN modules than are currently available.

So, as you can see, there are plenty of good reasons to be at FOSDEM this weekend. And that’s even before considering that it takes place in one of my favourite European cities. I might even treat myself to a Kwak in one of the bars on the Grand Place.

If you’re at FOSDEM next weekend, please stop by the Perl stand and say hello.

The “M” Word

Yesterday was the London Perl Workshop. As always it was a fabulous day packed full of great talks about Perl. Thanks to the organisers for all the work they put in.

I gave the keynote speech first thing in the morning. The talk was called The “M” Word and it was an overview of how the Perl community has started to get to grips with the problem of marketing over the last year.

Here are the slides:

London Perl Workshop

The London Perl Workshop is getting closer. It’s on Saturday 5th December at the University of Westminster’s Cavendish Street Campus (the same place it’s been for the last few years).

The schedule was announced a couple of days ago and, at always, it looks like a great line-up. I’m particularly pleased to see that Tatsuhiko Miyagawa will be there talking about Plack and PSGI‎ (although, slightly less pleased to see that it clashes with a presentation that I’m involved with).

I’m going to be involved in a few things at the workshop. They’ve invited me to give the keynote again, so I’m giving a talk called The “M” Word‎. Later in the day I’m giving a two hour tutorial called The Professional Programmer which will discuss some of the practicalities of working in the IT industry (this is largely aimed at the university’s students but others will also be welcome). Finally, towards the end of the day, I’ll be speaking alongside Matt Trout, Curtis Poe and Ed Freyfogle on a panel called Skills in the Workplace.

The LPW is always a great day. I hope you’ll come along and join in. Oh, and even if you can’t make it you can pretend you were there by buying one of the workshop t-shirts.

YAPC::Europe 2009

Today I travelled home from YAPC::Europe 2009 which was held in Lisbon. Readers of my other blog will know that I almost didn’t get there at all. The return journey was far less stressful.

On the weekend before the conference I gave a two-day “Introduction to Perl” course. We had six people on the course. I’m pretty happy with that as I think it’s a brave decision to have a beginners’ course at a Perl conference. I’m also happy to report that a third of the attendees were women.

There were four tracks of conference talks. This, of course, is guaranteed to lead to situations where you want to watch more than one talk at the same time. I think that at one point I really wanted to watch three of the four talks. Of course, there’s also the “hallway track” which is the best part of any good conference. This week there were two or three occasions when I found that I’d missed talks that I wanted to see because I had been so engrossed in an interesting conversation. All in all, I’m really glad that some of the talks were being recorded.

One highlight for me was meeting Paul Fenwick and Jacinta Richardson. I’ve been talking online to Paul and Jacinta for something like seven or eight years but we had never met face to face before because we spend most of out lives on opposite sides of the Earth. It was great to finally meet them. They’re as lovely in real life as they are online and they’re also both great speakers with interesting things to say.

Another highlight was the Marketing BOF that we held on Tuesday evening. There’s a growing concern in the Perl community that people outside of the community have an out of date and rather uncomplimentary view of Perl. The conference was full of people who had many ideas for fixing this. Ovid has a good description of this BOF over on use.perl so I won’t repeat the details here. I’ll just point out that some of us tried to have a similar meeting at EuroOSCON in 2005. At that time we had four people turn up. This week there were more than fifty.

The quiz show on Tuesday night was fun too. Greg and I were a last minute substitution as one of the teams failed to appear. We won our qualifying round, but came third (out of four) in the final. I was particularly embarrassed to have been beaten to the answer to the Buffy question.

And it seems that I owe the Perl community an apology. In his closing keynote, José Castro gave some examples of bad Perl advocacy. Number one on his list was my Why Corporates Hate Perl article. José pointed out that many people only read the title of an article and that my title was, perhaps, badly chosen. I’m sorry if I’ve caused any damage.

All in all, a great conference. Many thanks to the organisers for all of their hard work.

Hope to see you all in Pisa next year.

Send-a-Newbie

The Send-a-Newbie project is the Perl community at its best. People with a bit of spare money have donated to a fund to send people to YAPC::Europe. Edmund von der Burg and a team of trusted helpers have counted the money and closely examined the applications that they received. Edmund writes:

First, a quick recap: the Send-a-Newbie program is meant to help people go to YAPC who have never been to a YAPC before, are unable to do so by their own means and already involved in some way in the Perl community.

Applications were submitted, questions were asked, answers were given, difficult choices made and we now have our lucky YAPC Newbies.

We’re delighted to announce that we will be sending the following three to YAPC in Lisbon:

Alan: Based in India, started using Perl about a year and a half ago. Since then, he’s contributed to several CPAN modules, released WWW::Rapidshare::Free and is currently working on the TPF grant “Fixing Bugs in the Archive::Zip Perl Module”. He’s never been to any meetings of the Perl community.

Alistair: Based in Scotland, has just finished university, started using Perl for creating his websites and performing several small tasks. When choosing a placement (for his degree) he chose a Perl shop in London, and became part of London.pm

Rosellyne: Based in England, self-funded university student. Also a grant manager for TPF (past four years), member of London.pm and active on PerlMonks. Keen to meet people she’s worked with for years.

There were other great applications that we will not be able to send. Hopefully they’ll be able to attend a future YAPC.

All of this is possible due to the lovely people who have donated and helped. It’s been a great demonstration of the community that has formed around Perl. Thanks also to the YAPC::EU organizers who have been supportive of this project right from the start.

Thank you to all involved and see you all at YAPC::EU::2009!

The three lucky participants will have their travel, hotel and conference fees paid. They’ll have to pay for their own beer.

What I’m Doing At YAPC::Europe

Yet Another Perl Conference :: Europe :: 2009 I think I’ve now worked out all of the things that I’m doing at YAPC::Europe this year. It’s turned into quite a list.

The big news is that I’m giving a “Introductory Perl” training course over the weekend before the conference. One of the themes of the conference is to get more people involved in the Perl community (see, for example, Edmund’s Send-A-Newbie initiative) so the organisers thought it would be a good idea to run a beginners course just before the conference. The idea is to take people who know little or no Perl and get them to the stage where they’ll be able to get something useful out of the rest of the conference.

Details of the training are on the YAPC web site, where you can also book your place (it’s €220 for a two day course).

So the training is on Saturday and Sunday (the 1st and 2nd of August). The conference starts on Monday. I’m giving two talks at the conference:

It looks like it’s going to be a great conference (as always). I’m really looking forward to it.

YAPC Travel Plans

On the offchance that anyone wants to travel at the same time, here are my travel plans for YAPC::Europe.

  • Flying from Heathrow to Lisbon on BA502 on Friday 31st July. Leaving at 15:05 and arriving at 17:45.
  • Staying in the Hotel Alif (possibly the least useful hotel web site that I’ve ever seen).
  • Flying from Lisbon to Heathrow on BA501 on Thursday 6th August. Leaving at 11:05 and arriving at 13:40.

I’m travelling a little earlier than many people because I hope to be running a training course on the weekend before the conference. I’ll post more details of that here when it’s confirmed (hopefully in the next couple of days).