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Thursday August 28, 2008
11:42 AM

My second first YAPC::EU

[ #37293 ]

The subject is a bit odd, but I had been telling people that YAPC::EU in Copenhagen would be my first YAPC::EU. Then, as I was finishing my BackPAN Indexing talk (more on that later) and trying to get off stage so Dave Cross could set up for his Ye Complete History of Ye Perle Mongers of London Towne talk, I realized that I was at the first YAPC::EU, the one in London in 2000.

Copenhagen is then my second first YAPC::EU. It's a different crowd and culture, and the Perl world is a lot different. The first first YAPC::EU was right after Perl 6 was born and I was its spokesman and everyone thought we'd just crank it out and have it at the next OSCON. Also, being the first YAPC in Europe, and only a couple of years after the first YAPC in Pittsburgh, it was mostly the same people. The core Perl community was still exploding, and there wasn't a big difference between hanging out with Perl geeks in North America and hanging out with the same people in London.

My second first YAPC::EU started off much more nicely. In London I couldn't get into the conference site at first because police had it surrounded. Someone had shot a rocket at some government building or something. I don't even remember seeing any police in Copenhagen (although Adam Kennedy tells me that they are around at pub closing time). No one talks about police presence in the conference surveys though. Copenhagen is already ahead in points because I can get into the building, which is right next to a train stop, by the way.

It would be hard to tell the new YAPC::EU as a technology conference though. I don't even wake up until 10 am, so I get to the conference site around 11 am, and by that time half the conference day has gone by. Aren't these people programmers? How can they be up so early? I want to have about four hours of conference in the afternoon then hang out all night with people. I expect that in three or four years, conferences will start at sunrise (so let's not have them in Iceland in that case).

The conference was big. I don't recall the numbers, but it was hard to get around to talk to as many people as I liked. Part of this is that I can talk to a few people for quite a while, and we packed the dinner venue way past American fire codes would allow. The coolest part was Adam getting five of the PAUSE admins (myself, Adam, Steffen Müller, Andreas König, and José Castro) together for the YAPC dinner. I'd never met Andreas or Steffen, and it's always nice to meet people I work with. Indeed, we cleared up a couple of PAUSE admin things over dinner with a minimum of fuss and without protracted email threads.

That brings me to the biggest problem of YAPC::EU. Adam Kennedy, Ricardo Signes, Curtis "Ovid" Poe, and Jos Boumans are all there, and as I'm talking about BackPAN to people all week, they keep adding feature requests. They aren't really wish lists items, because they've all created most of the stuff I need to implement the feature and I just need to call the right module. Being at anything with Adam is dangerous because we've been going through tech life in almost parallel lines. We're both interested in things like automated release and build tools, and have independently created very similar things. If I have a problem, Adam has probably solved it and has a patch in some repository somewhere. And, every time I find a Perl version difference, he now wants me to add a test to Perl::MinimumVersion (which is insanely cool and twisted). To get anything done, stay away from these people.

If that's not bad enough, I met Paul Johnson, who created Devel::Cover, which is where I spend most of my time now. When I fix bugs, I now try to bring the modules up to 100% coverage in all columns. I've found that the best way to make code better, smaller, faster, or stronger is to do good-faith full coverage testing. It shakes out all the bad design (because that's hard to test), encourages refactoring (to avoid duplicate tests), and finds unreported bugs. Imagine that: testing is good. Now, imagine someone indexing every module ever uploaded to CPAN. While that someone is in there, might as well run the tests and index the test coverage too, right? And so, Paul led me to another big thing with BackPAN indexing: it has to happen with multiple Perl versions too. That's a really good idea, and it's easy. It just makes indexing take longer.

At the auction, José wanted people to decide the t-shirt design for YAPC::EU 2009 in Lisbon by voting with their euros. He'd warned me ahead of time that I should come up with a design, and I had to compete against Damian and BooK, who had no warning. I don't have a drawing, but Alberto made a modified version of my idea that looks really nice. It plays off the Portuguese flag and the seal of Portugal. It narrowly beat out a more flippant design for around €1400. That's a lot of money for a quick design, but If I'm going to travel the world to go to conferences, I want a t-shirt that shows off the local symbols has a shirt with La Sagrada Familia, which is slightly cooler than my take on the Chicago flag using the Perl sigils. Jon Rockway told me some Chicago cops were a bit miffed over my design thinking the line noise was some sort of protest statement, so maybe we can avoid that in Lisbon.

T-shirts were a big deal at this YAPC. BooK has been making custom shirts. I'd like to get catalog every Perl t-shirt ever created, and we talked about that briefly. I don't have any firm plans for that, but if you have a Perl shirt, take a picture of it and put it on flickr or something. Flickr already has several Perl tshirt pictures, and I've created a Perl Tshirt group. Nadim Khemir got his employer, Ericsson, to donate all sorts of swag (including free phones) and sports shirt. I certainly like the sports shirt since I usually only were logo-ed tshirts when I'm running, and now I have a Onion-logo running shirt that's actually a running shirt. I'd show a pic but it's actually in the wash right now.

BooK also has a conference database that I want to get into The Perl Review Community Calendar as a historical record. Take a look at the data. You might be surprised at the history. Do you know where the first Perl event was held? Or which country has had the most events? Some of the answers are surprising.

Salve Nilsson from announced that the next Nordic Perl Workshop would be in Oslo on April 16-17, 2009. I also got to meet Ævar Arnfjörð Bjarmason in Copenhagen, and Adam Kennedy, Joshua McAdams and I met up with him in Reykjavik the week after the conference. Remember when I mentioned an NPW in Iceland? I'm still trying to make that happen. We even went to the spot where Europe and North America meet and started a Perl program written with volcanic rocks.

There are a lot of other nice little things that happened at YAPC::EU and I'm looking forward to next year's in Lisbon.

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  • When I heard about someone wanting to arrange NPW'10 in Reykjavik, my first thought was "AWESOME!!" I _really_ hope this will turn out well. :D

    - Salve J. Nilsen ( dude)

  • You might have one more your first YAPC, next May in Moscow :-)

    • Yes, if you work it out, please let me know. I really want to go to Moscow. Your video [] convinced me when it said I could mark 1/7th of the world's land surface off my visited countries list. If you can put it very close to the NPW in April it would make for an easier trip. Is there still a big parade on May Day? I'd really like to see that. :)

      • Close to Norway lays Saint-Petersburg. I think YAPC there will be less attended than in Moscow. But the parade in Moscow still exists, maybe with less weapon demo :-)

        • Oh, I meant close in time. If I'm already in Europe, I can get a cheap flight insteadin of making another trip across the Pond. If you have the conference around May Day, I can already be near there in time :)

          • Well, thus we have three dates: 16-17 April of NPW, 1st and 9th May of holidays in Russia (parade on 9th), and unknown day for the conference. We'll consider putting it closer if it will be possible.

  • We even went to the spot where Europe and North America meet and started a Perl program written with volcanic rocks.

    We always knew Perl is the glue language.

    Perl in the crack []

  • I'm pretty sure I wasn't at YAPC::EU, although maybe I've blocked the memory.