I'm quite surprised that I made it to the London Perl Workshop after quite a heavy night out with some friends in Oxford. Well, I did feel like death warmed up for most of the day, but still managed to enjoy the sessions through the hangover. I think that's praise!
Mostly I was in the Advanced track, and it was a delightful mix of the real-world and abstract, relevant and irreverent, scary and familiar
The next two in the track, benchmarking gotchas by Abigail and Perl 5.10 regex by demerphq were equally good. I liked that Abigail made each slide a wee puzzle that made the audience race to find the logic error hidden within. Sorry to hear that Tom from miltonkeynes.pm couldn't make it to speak; hope he's feeling better now. demerphq and his clan clearly have some industrial scale cojones to tackle the regex code, but the results look impressive, especially exciting for us that run large Spamassassin installations. He also did all the work on his own time, full-time, courtesy of his previous redundancy package, so we owe our thanks for that generosity.
Jesse Vincent spoke after lunch about some scary code in the products of Best Practical. No real surprise there, as I've seen what RT does to a database, and it ain't pretty (DBIx::SearchBuilder, ugh!). Didn't really inspire me to install any other BP software, to be honest, after seeing his perversions (impressive and fun though they were) of Perl bugs. Finally I went to Alistair McGlinchy's "lightning" talk on network bandwidth. Interesting if not educating for me, listening to him describe his day-to-day job was quite entertaining. I then made a sharp exit for the next train home, reckoning I couldn't last a night out with London.pm on so little sleep, and I'd seen Jos Boumans's (excellent) talk before at YAPC::EU::2006, anyway.
In other Perlish news this week, I finally found the time to check out DBIx::Class. About a year and a half ago, whilst I was busily developing work's wireless guest service (think coffee-shop style thing), I wanted a good ORM to go with Catalyst. Matt Trout pm'd me a snippet of code from this new project he was working on, which looked pretty funky, but was way too raw to put into producton. I settled on Dave Rolsky's Alzabo, which isn't that scary, and has done sterling work since then. Aside: Dave Cross was a fool to miss Alzabo out of his round-up of ORM software when he layed into the topic in 2005.
Well, I came back to Matt's finished baby this week, and it's pretty damned cool. In fact, it's just about the same as Alzabo. By which I mean that if you sat down and thought about what you want an ORM to provide, which Dave R. did and Matt did, you'd not really be able to come up with much else. What differs between them, really, is that Matt's software is very much "of the moment" in terms of style and coding practice whereas Alzabo, even though it's fully OO of course, smells a bit "2004" to be honest. Alzabo isn't crap by any stretch, it's just that I'll be happier coding with DBIx::Class in the future because it better fits the way I happen to write code, and the way the authors of modules I use do as well.