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kappa (294)

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Perl Hacker since 1998. Lives in Moscow, Russia.

Journal of kappa (294)

Tuesday July 13, 2010
05:23 AM

DuckDuckGo runs on Perl

There's a cool little search engine called DuckDuckGo. It is a frequent subject of discussions at Hacker News recently.

According to the blog post by its creator Gabriel Weinberg it runs on Perl. We don't hear often about successful new projects running on Perl so the more stories like this the better.

Wednesday June 02, 2010
08:54 AM

I love indirect object notation

I am fond of indirect object notation.

It's the my $inst = new Class::Class arg => 42; thing.

It's beautiful and I've never faced any unsolvable problems with it. All arguments against it basically sum up to it being too hard to parse properly. As if we got computers not for this exactly reason — to do hard things for the sake of beauty (which is a special case of order).

One example of bad things happening was presented in a post by Matt Trout. Well, not convincing, if I am allowed a slightly offensive quote from Strugatsky brothers here. Do not use it when it causes problems and this particular case seems to be hard to debug due to poor error reporting from perl interpreter only. If DOES detect these cases, why perl cannot? Probably because it's too late to change this behaviour in Perl 5. Well, I shut up and return to work.

Thursday May 20, 2010
04:49 PM

Game dynamics in development

This is so cool it almost hurts. Do want! I wonder if it can be implemented around generic TAP.
Wednesday May 19, 2010
07:22 AM

Devconf 2010 aftermath

This is a shortened version of my mail to Perl events mailing list.

The Devconf 2010 conference is over and here are some after-thoughts of mine.

Unfortunately we didn't manage to set up a booth as Gabor Szabo suggested. First, it would cost us money (venue requirement) to display things or even organize some desks with chairs, second — most of the perl activists were already involved either as speakers or as orgs. The schedule was rather tight but I think the booth would still be effective. Ok, next time.

We had a nice track with several advocacy and several technical talks. Although Piers Cawley cancelled his talk several days before the conference, Carl Masak did a cool tardis/sigmung talk in the big hall (all the other talks were in smaller hall dedicated to Perl track).

I was unpleasantly surprised by outright hostility towards Perl from Ruby guys both in their talks and informally. I think that they are both wrong and right. First, modern Perl got closer to Ruby, second — we still hear offensive jokes and remarks about Ruby during YAPC conferences so we probably deserve some retaliation.

The Python track attracted the most people of all, I think. The PHP track was also crowded and there were many down-to-earth talks for newbies. They were cool. ASP.NET track was almost empty. Ruby track had a lot of interesting talks and they even managed to organize their own lightning talks session (of two talks :)). The most interesting for me was the talk about Rubinius by one of its committers — a (kinda) successful project to implement Ruby compiler in Ruby. What impressed me most is the courage Ruby people attack such tasks with. They already have around 10 different implementations of Ruby while we still repeat the mantra that only perl can parse Perl. Alas, I am not that fluent in Ruby to know if it is really so much simpler as a language than Perl 5.

One thing I noted is that there are a lot of "highload" projects implemented in Perl but no in Ruby (I mean locally). This means that Perl people tend to talk about performance, event loops, problems of serving thousands of requests and optimizing server farms. Such talks are not very interesting to a casual application developer. They are too high in the sky. Ruby people talked about simple things and that appealed to more developers.

The most successful Perl talk was Anatoly Sharifulin's on Mojolicious (in Russian) . It's very refined, energetic and motivating. Lots of people said that they were pleasantly surprised with features and expressed their wish to come home and remember some Perl-fu for the sake of trying Mojolicious. This is very cool. My own talk (in Russian) based on brilliant Tim Bunce's "Perl Myths" was also very popular. Lots of non-perl people do not know what a gem CPAN is, how huge and at the same time fresh and growing it is. We try to continue discussions on FriendFeed, twitter, LiveJournal and blogs right now.

All the talks we had on our track are listed here.

Sunday May 16, 2010
04:19 AM

How many Perl developers are there in the world?

I'd like to have a rough estimation of the number for a talk.

First, my own educated guess. We have:

  1. ~4800 active CPAN authors (from here).
  2. 1% to 5% of Perl developers release code to CPAN (my own evidence from working in big and small companies).

This gets us (optimistically) ~500000 Perl developers in the world.

Then I did some research^H^H googling:

What numbers can you come with?

Tuesday April 06, 2010
03:23 AM


According to fresh TIOBE index from PHP/Python/Perl/Ruby only Perl has risen in comparison to April 2009.
Friday April 02, 2010
04:35 PM

Search CPAN and github simultaneously

Here's a simple service to search CPAN and github from one page: CPAN Hubble.

It tries to move good github results to the top of the search results page.

There are several known issues with it but please provide feedback here if you find it as useful as I do.

Thursday March 11, 2010
05:45 PM

Job queues

I need a persistent reliable distributed job queue with a good Perl interface.

TheSchwartz would be great but it looks dead. Brad Fitzpatrick is in the valhalla of Google, last release was in 2008 and cpantesters report more failures than successes.

gearman is not reliable. It won't retry jobs on another worker nor workers can return failed jobs.

Resque is too ruby-specific.

beanstalkd looks almost fine, but it does not distinguish between job types. You cannot easily register one worker for sending emails and another worker for converting images.

Should I start looking into various Java-based monstrosities like ActiveMQ?

Wednesday March 10, 2010
08:41 AM

Presenting Perl

There's a new site by Mark Keating from UK: Presenting Perl. It's reportedly based on something called IdiotBox(?!).

There's also which is more attractive. It also has more features, e.g. RSS feeds.

And it's too bad that we still have only two videos from YAPC::Europe 2009 available on the web after almost a year and an excplicit written permission from everyone to publish the recordings.

(surprise) Programmers are more interested in producing tools for content than in producing content.

Thursday March 04, 2010
08:16 AM

Wired about serendipity (and Perl)

A questionable, but interesting nevertheless article in USA Wired mentions Perl:

...tweets about Lady Gaga’s lingerie can help someone debugging Perl code. (Or a tweet about Perl code may help Lady Gaga’s underwear stylist.)