YAPC::EU 2012 August 24, 2012Posted by claudio in Uncategorized.
Tags: 2012, frankfort, Perl, perl community, yapc, yapc::eu
While waiting on my train to Belgium, I profit from this distraction-free time (read: no Internet) to reflect on the last days at Frankfurt. But first things first: I would like to thank mdk and the Enlightened Perl Organisation for making the attending of my first YAPC possible though the Send-A-Newbie initiative. It was a wonderful experience.
Getting to Frankfort wasn’t as easy as expected. A three hours direct trip from Brussels became a 7 hour one including six trains (including local ones), several changes and stops in the middle of nowhere because of a yet again a broken train. Being packed like sardines in the corridor of a non air-conditioned carriage for 1h30 when the temperature outside was close to 40 °C (who knows how hot it was inside): not nice. Add to that getting almost no information what so ever. Anyway, a long cold shower, a change of clothes, a walk in Frankfurt and dinner with the Belgian mongers Serge (president of Brussels.pm) and ecocode (Brussels.pm && Flanders.pm) put me back in the YAPC mood in no time. The hotel were I stayed was a half an hour walk from the venue and although there was public transportation, I preferred to walk to and from the conference: what better way to enjoy a city?
The arrival at my first YAPC was a little schizophrenic. It was impressive to see the wide array of people of the Perl community. Different languages, accents, backgrounds… you name it. At the same time, it was fantastic to meet Perl people I already met in the past (e.g. by organising the FOSDEM Perl dev-room) and being able to link faces to irc nicks (e.g. sewi from Padre). I picked up a lot of things I can use at work, and through the presentations I got curious enough to try new things (e.g. Dancer). Also talks outside the rooms made me curious (e.g. Mojolicious). For the record: I am not a web-dev guy.
Even if you weren’t there, you can probably get from the lines above that YAPC is at the same a technical and a community event. There were way too many great talks to name them all, so I’ll limit myself to the talks that left a background job running in my head. Probably in chronological order, first there was markov’s lightning talk about the “Perl Reunification summit” (summaries here and here) that was held this weekend in the town of Perl (a real town). Liz and Wendy (which I know from Flanders.pm) gathered important people from the Perl 5 and 6 community and got them… talking. If they can fulfil their plans (they are ambitious) it would be completely amazing. Time will tell. Read the summaries linked above.
The second talk that rang a bell was Stevan Little’s talk about the new MOP (Meta Object Protocol) in Perl 5. I can not stress on how cool and important this is: Perl 5 is going strong. While a technical talk, Stevan’s talk had a strong –although implicit – community aspect. This is a huge change to the core Perl and introducing the MOP and the related syntax requires the collective effort (in code and advice) of different part of the community, including Moose and yes, Perl 6. Salve from Oslo.pm announced they are organising and sponsoring a Moose hacklaton in a few weeks. Oh, and stevan mentioned en-passant how real exceptions will look like. That would remove 2 out of 3 of the my “weakest points in Perl” list. Incredible.
I was positively surprised by Mst’s “State of the Velociraptor [Perl 5]” as it echoes my personal stand of Perl in the wider FOSS world. First, Perl 5 trolling is so passé. Second, we should be positive about the FOSS “competition”: “Let a hundred flowers blossom” as they used to say in China. He illustrated this by a very recognisable example from IRC when people ask (e.g. #python and #perl) what language to learn. His advise is “learn both and pick the one you like most, they are both great languages” (quoting from memory). I applaud this positive attitude of the community of the last years. It shows that we’re no longer in the defensive. In my experience this is something people appreciate.
To conclude, mdk’s last lightning talk didn’t get stuck it my head through the technical or the community aspect, but -damn it!- through the the rhythm and the melody. Like the next speaker said: “try to be the next speaker after that”.
The last day I had a nice dinner with two Perl Mongers from Barcelona: Diego and Enrique. I met Diego at FOSDEM and Enrique is a co-Padre-hacker. We had a very nice and long talk on a beautiful –and luckily less hot– evening. A perfect end for my first YAPC.
But let me end by thanking the people in the yellow t-shirts, the organizers. They did a fantastic job in difficult circumstances (did I mention how hot it was? ). Thank you Frankfurt.pm and friends!
You’ll find more (and bigger) photo’s on my flickr page.