Leader of Birmingham.pm [pm.org] and a CPAN author [cpan.org]. Co-organised YAPC::Europe in 2006 and the 2009 QA Hackathon, responsible for the YAPC Conference Surveys [yapc-surveys.org] and the QA Hackathon [qa-hackathon.org] websites. Also the current caretaker for the CPAN Testers websites and data stores.
If you really want to find out more, buy me a Guinness
I've been a bit quiet for the past month or so, mostly because projects both at work and home have taken up a lot of my time. One of the home projects has involved creating some report documents in PDF. When first thinking about this, I was looking at PDF::API2, and various other PDF modules, but was struck at how much layout work is put into the code. I don't like having to mix the two, as if I have to change anything in the layout it means changing the code. Reading a recent article on perl.com only reaffirms that. If you're creating a special document, this might work for you, but it doesn't for me.
Thanks to Andrew Ford and wikibooks, I have been learning how to mix LaTeX with Template Toolkit. My current installed version of the plugin (2.17) doesn't go as far as I need it to at the moment, but the newest version and its new dependency, Latex::Driver, do. Unfortunately I've been finding problems with it on Win32, so I'm currently working through those with Andrew and hopefully he'll be able to get a working Win32 version out soon.
However, following Andrew's encouragement to look at Latex, I was quite impressed at just how easy it was to learn the basics, and in fact I kind of jumped in at the deep end and was creating complex headers, footers, tables and graphics in my first document. I found a problem though, that none of the expert forums seem to have solved, as I want to swap a page layout from Portrait to Landscape mid document, but apart from that everything has worked wonderfully.
If you are ever in a situation where you need to produce regular reports from various data sources, and templating would feel a natural way to go, I heartily recommend looking at Latex with Template Toolkit.
Andrew will be giving an introduction to his modules at the next Birmingham Perl Mongers technical meeting. If I can manage it, I'll see whether I can record it on video. Assuming Andrew doesn't mind of course