A Brief History of the LPW

In his opening remarks on Saturday, Mark Keating suggested that we might be at the tenth London Perl Workshop. That seemed unlikely to me, so I’ve done a little research.

And it seems that I was right. The first LPW was in 2004, which makes this year’s the eighth. In a way, I’m happy that it wasn’t the tenth, as we now have two years to ensure that the tenth LPW is celebrated appropriately.

Here’s a list of the LPWs so far. I’ve also included details of the talks I gave at each workshop – mainly so that I can disprove Mark when he claims that I always show up and run training.

It seems that the web sites for some of the earlier workshops have fallen off the internet. This makes me a little sad. If I’m wrong and it’s just that Google can’t find them, then please let me know.

1st LPW – 11 Dec 2004
Lanyrd link
At Imperial College. I gave a 20 minute talk about OO Perl.

2nd LPW – 26 Nov 2005
Lanyrd link
At City University. I gave a 20 minute talk on Databases and Perl.

3rd LPW – 9 Dec 2006
Lanyrd link
I think this was the first LPW at its current home of the University of Westminster. I can’t be sure as I wasn’t there. I have a good excuse though – I was on holiday celebrating my tenth wedding anniversary.

4th LPW – 1 Dec 2007
Lanyrd link
At the University of Westminster. I gave a training course on Beginning Perl.

5th LPW – 29 Nov 2008
Lanyrd link
At the University of Westminster. I gave the keynote (a history of london.pm as it was our tenth anniversary) and a training course on Web Programming.

6th LPW – 5 Dec 2009
Lanyrd link
At the University of Westminster. I gave the keynote (about marketing Perl) and a training course called “The Professional Programmer“.

7th LPW – 4th Dec 2010
Lanyrd link
At the University of Westminster (although not in the usual building). I gave a training course on Modern Web programming (i.e. Plack) and a talk on Roles and Traits in Moose.

8th LPW – 12 Nov 2011
Lanyrd link
At the University of Westminster. I gave a training course on Modern Core Perl.

YAPC::Europe Report

It’s nearly three weeks since I got back from Riga. I should probably tell you a bit about what I did.

I flew over on Saturday and on Sunday I gave my “Introduction to Modern Perl” talk. There were nine people on the course and they all seemed to find it useful.

The conference itself started on Monday with a welcome from Andrew Shitov followed by the announcement that next year’s YAPC will be in Frankfurt. Then Larry gave his keynote where he compared Perl to musical styles (and architecture). He was followed by Matt Trout talking about the various philosophical styles required in good documentation. I then stayed in the main hall to see Mallory van Achterberg describing HTML5 and Zefram talking about his latest experiments in bending Perl syntax using some of the new features in Perl 5.14.

I think I spent the first session after lunch talking to various people in hallways and then I went back to the main hall to see Chisel Wright talking about mostly lazy DBIx::Class testing followed by Zefram describing (in great detail) why time is so hard. After a coffee break Book introduced his modules for controlling git from Perl.

Then we had the lightning talks (including my talk which suggested that the Perl community should become a secret society) and the auction – unusually on the first day rather than the last one.

The second day started with Damian Conway explaining how he has converted some of his CPAN modules to Perl 6 and how much simpler a lot of the code got in the process. I then watched Aaron Crane explain why monkey-patching is a problem and how subclassing is often no better. I then saw Max Maischein introducing Flottr and Andrew Solomon running a beginners tutorial about Dancer.

After lunch I went to see Peter Rabbitson talking about DBIx::Class internals followed by Karen Pauley talking about The Perl Foundation. I was happy to she that she took my lightning talk’s “going underground” theme and used it as an excuse to include a picture of the wombles.

One of the highlights of the conference for me was Tara Andrews talking about how she uses Perl in her work on Medieval manuscripts. That was followed by Mark Keating talking about marketing (Mark Keating/marketing – geddit?). Then there was the second lot of lightning talks followed by the attendees dinner where we all ate too much from the buffet and drank too much beer.

Wednesday began with Jesse Vincent’s vision of what Perl might be like moving forward from 5.16. He’s got some great ideas. And somehow he and Leon Brocard persuaded me to volunteer to put out a Perl release next April. That’ll be interesting. Following that I went briefly into Ingy’s talk on post-modern packaging but I wasn’t wasn’t really concentrating as I was getting ready for my talk on Perl Training which was next. I talked about my experiences of ten years running Perl training courses. After that I relaxed by listening to Matt Trout talking about Data::Query.

After lunch I saw Mark Keating talking about the Perl community (and why he loves it so much). I followed that by sitting in Patrick Michaud and Leon Timmermann’s talks, but I confess I was really catching up on email and not really concentrating. Then there was Matt Trout’s State of the Velociraptor, the final set of lightning talks and the Frankfurt.pm team talking about their plans for next year.

And then it was over. Another great YAPC::Europe conference which seemed far too short. Many thanks to all of the organisers for doing such a great .job.

YAPC::Europe Preview

Earlier this year I met Josette Garcia at OpenTech and she told me about her new blog Josetteorama. She asked me if I’d like to contribute a few articles about Perl to the site. I agreed and then promptly forgot about it for a couple of months.

But I remembered my promise a week or so ago and realised that this would be a great opportunity to promote YAPC::Europe outside of the Perl community.

So I wrote an article called YAPC::Europe Preview. And she published it today. Hope you find it interesting.

Training in Riga

YAPC Europe is getting closer. We’ll all be heading off to Riga in about six weeks.

As has become traditional, there are a number of training courses being held both before and after the conference. This includes my Introduction to Modern Perl course on Sunday 15th August.

The course is a one-day overview of many of the major modules that make up the modern Perl toolset. If you feel that you need a quick refresher on things like Template Toolkit, Moose, DBIx::Class, Catalyst and Plack before diving into the conference proper, then this might well be just what you are after.

The cost is 180 € and you can buy a ticket when paying for the main conference.

There are many other course available too – from well-known Perl trainers like Damian Conway, brian d foy and Gabor Szabo. All of the courses are priced well below our usual rates.

I look forward to seeing you in Riga.

YAPC::Europe Talks Accepted

The YAPC::Europe organisers said that they would tell speakers which talks had been accepted on July 1st. Well, it seems that the excitement was too much for them and they decided to do it a week earlier. Yesterday I got email telling me that some of my talks had been accepted and the list of accepted talks is now on the web site. As always, it looks like a really interesting conference.

I’ve had two twenty-minute talks accepted:


The Perl Community

The Perl community is a complex and interesting city. I’ve been exploring it for almost fifteen years and I’m not sure that I’ve been to every corner of it.

In this talk I’ll attempt to guide you round some of the more interesting and useful parts of the Perl community. I’ll point out some ancient monuments, some nice new areas and warn you about some places where you really shouldn’t walk alone after dark.

Things I Learned From Having Users‎
When I first started releasing modules to CPAN it was great. I released modules that no-one used. I could release new versions as and when I wanted to.

Then people started using a couple of my modules. I started to get email about them. Suddenly my modules were no longer just for me. I had to deal with users.

In this talk I’ll discuss how having users effects the way that you develop and release software. I’ll also look at a few ways to keep on top of things.

I’m also doing my first lightning talk for several years:

‎Perl Vogue‎

You might not believe it to look at us, but the Perl community is a deeply fashionable place. If you’re not using the currently fashionable modules in your code then people will be sneering at you behind your back.

Join Dave Cross for a quick review of the history of Perl fashion.

See you in Pisa.

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.