Monday, November 28, 2005

London Perl Workshop '05

Not exactly "in transit", more a round trip. On Saturday morning I got up at 4.30am and made my way to Exeter St. Davids to get the first train of the day out of the South West to London so that I could got to the second annual London Perl Workshop run by the London.pm crowd. Almost predictably the train was delayed by an hour, so I arrived harried, rushed, and late, into City University and slipped into the back of the first talk of the day.


Found the building...

I get the impression that the organisers might have been short of talks to put on the Advanced track. Maybe I should have done my bit and submitted a talk abstract after all? I actually came up with a couple of ideas on the train up to London, although it was a bit late at that point I suppose...

The workshop had a different feeling about it than last year. Unlike last year the Learning and Advanced Perl tracks weren't scheduled so that the talks started and ended at the same time, and this meant that there was a lot less movement of people between the two tracks. There were several talks on the Learning Perl track that I would have quite liked to see, but I couldn't drop out of the Advanced track because of the schedule mismatch. I think it gave the workshop a much less friendly feel.


Abigail talking about Regexp::Common

The Advanced track in the morning may as well have been re-named the Abigail track, and to be honest I found his delivery fairly dry, although perhaps it was simply his choice of material which would have been fairly heavy going for the best of speakers. I arrived about half way through his talk on Rgexp::Common, which didn't hold much interest for me, although his talk later on on Lexical Attributes was more intriguing. Admittedly I disagree with a lot of what he said about the Perl object model, but that's neither here nor there...


Jonathon Worthington talking about Parrot

I was looking forward to Jos Boumans' talk on "Barely Legal XXX Perl", diversions into Perl sickness, but Jos didn't turn up having phoned in sick, claiming flu, despite having been in the pub the night before till one in the morning. Which left the highlight of the morning, at least for me, as Jonathon Worthington's talk on the state of the Parrot virtual machine, and it is to Jonathon that the quote of the day award has to go, for,
JIT, stands for "Just In Time" compilation, a lot like the organisation of this conference...
to which Simon Wistow replied,
Harsh, but essentially fair...
Facilities at the new venue weren't a patch on last year, which was held in the Imperial College Union, and lunch turned out to be a fairly dismal affair where I was charged £6.00 for a sandwich and a fairly small "large" cup of coffee.


Jonathon Chin talking about OpenGL

However the workshop picked up dramatically for me after lunch, with Jonathon Chin talking about using the OpenGL API from Perl, and his OpenGL::Simple module, which was a lively introduction into 3d graphics in Perl which has moved on a lot since last time I dipped my toes into it...


Leon and Leo talking about mighTyV.com

Following Jonathon's talk I decided to switch tracks, catching the last few minutes of Dave Cross' talk on database access with Perl, before Leon Brocard and Leo Lapworth's talk on mighTyV.com, their award winning site, which shows exactly what you can do with Perl, Catalyst and, of course, CPAN, in a fairly short stretch of time.


Mark-Jason Dominus talking about, well, Perl...

The closing talk of the day was by Mark-Jason Dominus on Perl red flags. It turned out that I'd heard a good deal of the material before at OSCON, so I was a bit disappointed, I was hoping he would talk about some of the topics covered in his new book "Higher Order Perl", but I guess I understand that the organisers wanted material that would appeal to everyone.

In the end Mark-Jason over ran by about half and hour, so I had to sneak out of this talk just before six so I could make my way across London and catch the last train of the day back to Exeter. Which was easier said than done with the Circle Line closed...

Overall it was a good day, although a very long one for me since I didn't make it back into Exeter till well past 11.00pm. However I didn't enjoy the workshop as much as I did last years, which I think was a combination of both the material persented and the venue. That said, I'll be at the front of the line to sign up for next years workshop if they run another, and I'll even offer to speak next year, promise...

Update: So more on this years London Perl Workshop from Dominic Mitchell and Ben Metcalfe...

Update: Leo and Leon have just released the source code for Braga, the platform behind mighTyV.com, how cool is that?

Update: Most of the slides from the talks have now been posted onto the workshop site...