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david.romano (6556)

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Journal of david.romano (6556)

Tuesday July 04, 2006
12:46 AM

yapc day 3

[ #30162 ]

Because I had stayed up too late the night before, and because my alarm clock wasn't working, I again missed the first hour of talks. The first talk I made it to was Patrick Michaud's "Parsers, Perl 6 Rules, and PGE (Pt. 1)". I didn't learn much from that talk because most of it was from the talk he gave the day before, but it was good to be refreshed. The second part of the talk was what I found more interesting because it centered around constructing actual grammars with the rules and with PIR (Parrot Intermediate Representation). He showed us how to move between top-down and bottom-up parsing within PGE. It was very cool because I knew how many of the parsing problems and $work could be solved using a hybrid parser like this. Not only that, but the rule syntax was simple and powerful. I think (I my memory's a little hazy) Patrick Michaud said something like it's everything you wanted BNF to be, and everything you didn't.

I stayed in the same room for the next talk "Parrot Target Practice" which was presented by both Will Coleda and Patrick Michaud. They both presented the problems faced with "using the Parrot compiler tools to implement the APL language". All I gotta say is that APL looks like one terse language and I find it incredible they actually did it. coke++ and pmichaud++.

The last talk I went to (before the lightning talks) was by Allison Randal, whom I was able to meet earlier in the week when at Lou Malnati's (excellent pizza, btw). She discussed her work in developing Punie, Perl 1 on Parrot. Unfortunately, I don't remember too much about it, but IIRC she described the features of Perl 1 and how she created TGE to help with some of the obstacles she faced. Oh! I do remember she gave a few references to attribute grammars, which I think is what TGE tries to be (just found where I jotted them down):

  • Knuth, D.E. (1990) "The genesis of attribute grammars." Proceedings of the international conference on Attribute grammars and their applications, 1-12
  • Chomsky, Noam (1995). The Minimalist Program. MIT Press.

After that talk, I met with the others who had also won the auction item for lunch with Randal Schwartz, and we went to a Chinese restaurant (I believe called Evergreen), going to and fro in a limo. However, the ride wasn't that luxurious considering there were ten of us. Nonetheless it was a good time and I got to meet a few more people including William McKee.

We got back well after the lightning talks had started, and I hear that I missed some good ones. However, the ones I did see were pretty good as well. Jeff Bisbee unveiled his Javascript::XRay module, similar in functionality to what his Devel::XRay module does. I also got to see Uri Guttman show off his tiny template system (which I like for its sheer simplicity), as well as see Ann Barcomb and Helen Cook capture the living conditions at SSV with some good comic relief. There were many other good talks, but those were the ones that jumped out at me.

After the last lightning talk, the closing ceremonies commenced. Jose Castro, Bill Odam, Damian Conway, and others performed a stunt to raise even more money for TPF: kidnapping Larry. In the end, ~$1300 was raised to free Larry. After that, Josh McAdams and Peter Krawczyk did a great job of mimicking the Blues Brothers, but I forgot what the point was.

The last real speech was given by Damian Conway, and was called "Fun With Dead Languages". He first did plug for OSCON::AU, describing with images that many of the world's most poisonous animals live in Australia, so who wouldn't want to come. After the plug, he did a whirlwind tour of computer and human language (e.g., Postscript, Lisp, Latin) constructs, and how they will be drawn from to design Perl 6. Unfortunately, my memory is hazy for his talk too, probably because I was busy chatting too much on IRC.(Really bummed about that too, but you make your choices, no?)

After the talk and the Town Hall Meeting, I had been invited to a dinner with other volunteers and the speakers at the McAdams condo. (I had helped out on Sunday stuffing the bags for the conference, and also helped pass out name tags.) The dinner went well and I got to talk to Norman Nanley, Jonathan Rockaway, Bill Odam, and Richard Dice, among others. And for me, that concluded YAPC::NA 2006. I honestly have never had such a great time with people I didn't even know. By the end of the conference, I had made some friends that I'm bound to see on #perl or some other IRC channel. I really couldn't have asked for a better experience, especially for $85. :-)

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