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YAPC::EU 2009 recap

Posted by brunorc on August 9, 2009

Four days packed with Perl, Portuguese food, warm Chartreuse, cold beer and even more Perl! It was really nice to meet Legendary Perl Creatures, see some friends and got to know more Perl people.

But what was even more important, was the content. Everyone was using words like Moose, Catalyst, DBIC or five-dot-ten (well, some well known hackers were also using other words, starting with 0xF), and presentations were full of new ideas. It was not about some magic artefacts, that can explode in your hand if you tamper with them in the wrong way. It was not about CGI. It was not about Perl obfuscation and the (ab)use of some fancy and “meaningful” operators.

Instead I saw Damian Conway talking about Regexp::Grammars. You’ve probably heard about Ruby and maybe even get fed up with the whole DSL stuff. Now you can build the parser and get the abstract tree – all using meaningful regular expressions. Yes, meaningful regular expressions. Thanks to the named captures you don’t have to rely on $1, $2, ... variables. But in Regexp::Grammars you can use named subrules as well, so your parser really doesn’t have to be hairy. Oh, and you can even make it easy to debug, as it is able to notify you about errors. Then you get a nice, minimalistic syntax tree.

Yes, I agree, most of us don’t spend their days writing parsers. But still, there’s a lot of nice things to be discovered. Paul Fenwick went with a talk about awesome things in Perl. Of course he mentioned Moose, but I was really surprised with the autobox and autodie things. Such things show how Perl evolves – in contrary to its critics, apparently, who still find it relevant to point out that you have to manually unroll the @_ list.

Of course you have to, unless you use Moose with MooseX::Declare! Ah, you have to use it… is it a problem? Well, you can write your own solution by hand if you don’t trust this guy. Or you can start to complaint, because it’s not part of the core of Perl. And it should be, since it is so important for oneliners you launch from your command line, isn’t it?

OK, we don’t have to unroll the @_ anymore. Also, we can use threads. And exceptions. And they are not part of the core again. But you know what? The topic of this YAPC was Corporate Perl. And there were people from Cisco, Nagra, Opera, Booking, Sapo – and they went to tell us how they use Perl and want to use it even more, so they would like to hire more Perl developers. And apparently they weren’t worried about exceptions being used from a module. Looks like their main concern is how to get more and more talented, open-minded Perl programmers, because – yes, you guessed it – they are not the part of the core and you still have to unroll them manually.

Oh really? There was a bunch of famous Perl hackers, but there also was an awful lot of people from mailing lists, IRC channels, Perl Mongers communities. And they may be part of the core, as there is a lot of projects that don’t require a rocket-science level, so everyone can participate. Also, they went to YAPC to learn something, to get some books, to discover new things.

I especially liked the Thursday, with the workshop led by two gentlemen from Shadowcat Systems. There were some bits about Catalyst, Moose and DBIx::Class and a lot of Royal Navy spirit, provided by inimitable, faster than a shutter Matt S. Trout, who also signed (as a co-author) a copy of the new book about Catalyst that was sold for some horrible amount of the European currency, but you can get one from Amazon for the regular retail price; no fancy stuff from Matt though, but you can still carry it to the next YAPC in Pisa (get familiar with the city, attend the Italian Perl Workshop in October, it’s really worthy) and ask him to sign it, making him feel like a Tom Jones.

And last but not least – Jose Castro gave a brilliant keynote, ending it with a phrase we somehow felt in the air: Perl is Alive and Kicking, and Stronger than ever!

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One Response to “YAPC::EU 2009 recap”

  1. […] YAPC::EU 2009 recap […]

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