Perl in Perl, and YAPC in Frankfurt

The rambly travelling bit (in which I drive onto a train)

1200 miles of driving, 136ish litres of petrol (that's 2.7 tankfulls), 5 countries, 7 nights in hotels.. Just a few stats to describe the last week of perl immersion.

We were pondering whether to drive to YAPC::EU 2012, for a change, when I was invited by Liz and Wendy to also attend the Perl Reunification Summit, on the weekend before, in Perl, Germany. That decided it for us as Perl is just on the western border of Germany, and we would need to pass close by/through it on our way anyway.

On the way we met up with Matt Trout (mst), who was also invited, and decided to come with us rather than change/rebook his flights. After overnighting in Tonbridge, Kent (thanks David!), to start closer to our destination (by 2 hours), we set off for the Channel Tunnel, where I fulfilled one of my life's TODOs, by driving onto a train! (It's fun, really, tho also somewhat uneventful).. You do almost more driving around the huge Chunnel "port", collecting your departure time ticket, going through passport control, into the waiting carpark, then down to the train, than the actual journey itself. You drive on at the back (well side) of the train, and forward until the guy in front of you stops, then you park.. and 40-odd minutes later you drive off again.

The Perly summit bit

I wasn't quite sure what to expect at the Perl Reunification Summit, or why I was there, though from the mix of Perl 5y and Perl 6y people (Fivey and Sixy?) it seemed the general idea was to knock our heads together and try and merge the streams a bit better.

From my point of view I've been mostly not paying attention to what the folks working on Perl 6/Rakudo have been doing. I'm quite happy for them to do it, as long as they avoid giving Perl 5 and other language users the impression that they shouldn't use/learn Perl 5, as 6 will be along soon. - I doubt this has been happening intentionally, though there have been some attempts to re-label Perl 6 "another language in the Perl family", and lose the "6" part altogether. I'm not sure these attempts worked too well.

The summit made me realise that actually Rakudo is getting somewhere. Folks are working hard and producing working tools. However not much effort was being put into making Perl 5 code run in, or be easily portable to, Perl 6. The issue is that Perl 6 is a redesign of practically everything (as far as I can tell) - language syntax, regexes, basic units of data (now all objects) etc. This makes making Perl 5 code "just run" an interesting problem. It also shows in some way that Perl 6 isn't just another version of Perl, its.. something else. Several ways to integrate Perl 5 and Perl 6 code better are now being worked on.

I'm still a bit stuck myself on whether we should be "selling" Perl 6/Rakudo as the next Perl, or not.. The time its taking and the differences in syntax and use, make me feel its better off being "a new language". Thus we should offer transition training and documentation on "how to port Perl 5 programs to Perl 6" and so on. It would also be handy to make some sort of estimates against the tasks left on the TODO list, to be able to at least say "Not done before date X" so that expectations can be managed.

That's where I find myself most interested in helping out.. Advocacy of Perl in general, marketing, information sharing, helping people learn and choose modules to learn from CPAN.

The latter annoys me a fair bit. CPAN contains thousands of modules, with more being added all the time. Often several modules supply a similar set of functionality, for one reason or another, most of the reasons are even perfectly sane. However it is difficult to decide, if you have nobody you trust to ask, which module to use for a particular task. Various attempts have been made to solve this, I've not seen any actually succeed. So I'm going to try making another one. This will mostly mean adding more visible and useful data to metacpan pages.

On to YAPC::EU

After talking about Perl in Perl, eating tasty food and generally being pampered, we set off on one of the hottest days I've seen for a while, to drive to Frankfurt for YAPC::EU. I gained some driver's tan, and we eventually made it to our hotel, which had air conditioning!

The next few days of YAPC itself were also way too hot for this english gal, but true to form we struggled on anyways. The organisers did an excellent job of providing heaps of bottled water and juice to keep everyone hydrated.

This YAPC I found myself doing more hallway track than usual (usually I make an effort to see something in every slot, whether I think I'll find it useful or not). This may have been partly due to the heat.. However it meant I spent some sessions talking to people and learning whats going on, and some actually hacking on code (the Android cross-compiling thing..), as well as attending talks.

I seem to have run out of blog-steam here.. more later, maybe!


Last modified: 2014-04-15T08:13:39