Last weekend I attended the Orlando Perl Workshop. While the “hallway track” is one of the best parts of Perl workshops, the talks I saw were also excellent. Here is an overview of the sessions I attended.
Doing the Jitterbug
Jonathan Leto (dukeleto) presented Jitterbug, a cross language continuous integration tool for git (and written in Perl). It’s a smaller, lighter tool than Jenkins, though it lacks distributed testing capabilities. It seems really good for small to medium sized Perl projects, as it already understands how to build and test things with a Makefile.PL or Build.PL. (see slides [pdf])
A Brave New Perl World
Stevan Little (stevan) presented some ideas from the work-in-progress prototype of a meta-object protocol (aka MOP) for the Perl 5 core. I’m really excited by this and I think the design team is finding a pragmatic balance between power and simplicity.
John Anderson (genehack) gave an editor-agnostic half-rant/half-tutorial about why and how to tweak your editor to be more productive and less repetitive. There were some good tips that I’ve already put intro practice, like teaching the editor to automatically “chmod +x” when saving any “*.pl” file. (see slides)
The First Thing Tak Did - Elegant Remote Control For Sysadmins
Matt S. Trout (mst) showed an insanely complicated but powerful command line tool to remotely execute any pure Perl code over ssh, without needing any prerequisite modules installed on the remote machine. It’s worth exploring just to understand the magic that makes it work.
Game Development with Perl & SDL
Breno Oliveira (garu) gave a playful talk that showed how easy it has become to use Perl to write simple graphical games. In only a couple dozen lines of code, he demonstrated a simple 2D platform game using the built in physics model. (see slides)
Cooking Perl with Chef Solo
This was my talk, where I explained what I’ve been doing to make it possible to deploy Plack apps using Chef and Perlbrew and friends. (see slides)
There was the usually assortment of amusing talks, though several presenters thought it would be “fun” to present their 20 minute (or longer) talks in 5 minutes for anyone who missed the original. (Note to future presenters – please don’t do that. Pick 5 key slides and just show those.)
The most interesting to me was the lightning talk by Bruce Gray (util), who introduced Rosetta Code, a site that shows how different languages solve hundreds of common programming problems. He said that Perl needs more solutions written to catch up to other languages, so if you have time and interest then please check it out.
Cory Watson (gphat) gave a funny talk that in style was nearly worthy of Larry Wall. It meandered around the broad theme of “diversity” and whether more ways of thinking about things makes one smarter. It eventually circled back to Perl, but the overall call to action was to get out of the usual comfort zones and try something you haven’t done before and aren’t good at – whether radical or minor – in order to stretch your brain. (I can’t do it justice in text – I think you had to be there.)
On Sunday, I went for brunch with some other attendees and then parked myself at the hackathon until it was time to leave for the airport. While I was there, I sucessfully ported my auto-install CD creation tools to work on Debian ISOs instead of just Ubuntu ISOs, so I can test my Perl/Chef tools on that server platform as well.
As a final note, Chris Prather (perigrin) – who appeared ably supported by his family – put on an excellent conference and I want to thank him for the work that went into it. I hope I can attend again in 2013 and recommend it to anyone who wants to get away and have some fun with Perl in the dark of January.