Perl Jam - A Work In Progress

Paul Weller once sang of "a new direction. We want a reaction. Inflate creation." All three could be attributed to why two major events in the Perl event calendar started in 1999, and now happen all around the world today. The two events, The German Perl Workshop and YAPC::NA, both were a new direction for Perl events and specifically a reaction to more commercial events. They both also brought a new creativity to the Perl community.

In 2011 we now have YAPCs, Workshops and Hackathons happening on a monthly basis somewhere in the world. They are still very much organised by members of the Perl Community, and bring together a diverse group of people to each event. They often inspire some to create Perl events themselves. However, that initial enthusiasm is often quickly followed by panic, when the organisers start to figure out what they need to do to make a great event. Which is where a book might help.

I am planning to publish such a book, entitled 'Perl Jam - How to organise a conference ... and live to tell the tale'. The book is a guide for organisers planning to host a large technical event, with the aim of helping organisers think of everything, and prepare themselves for anything they might not have thought of, or forgotten. Organising a conference, workshop or hackathon can be a daunting prospect, but with the help of this book, it might make the experience much more enjoyable, and may even inspire you to do it all again!

'Perl Jam' is being made available for its first public draft via a GitHub repository. This is the third draft, and my thanks go specifically to Jon 'JJ' Allen and David Golden, for their extensive help and feedback so far. Also thanks to chromatic for allowing me to use the framework and scripts he used for his great book Modern Perl.

I welcome any and all comments and suggestions, so if you've ever organised a large event, please take the time to read the draft and see if there is anything not covered that you would have suggested. For any current organisers, please download and share the book with your team and feel free to send me any additional notes you make as you go along. If you are thinking about organising a technical event in the future, are there any questions you would want to know, that haven't been explained in the book?

Everything is up for discussion, including the cover (which is not the finished version), and I'm very interested to hear from anyone who has suitable photos that can be included in the book, as examples or to emphasise sections.

The draft is released under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License. Please feel free to point people to the git repository, but please do not redistribute with any modifications. Forking with Git is fine, but I request that you send me patches (via or pull requests.

The book also has its own website, Perl Jam, which will be the official source of any releases.

Cross-posted from Memoirs Of A Roadie


Great! Now people are going to be doubly confused when they talk to me on IRC! (my nick has been PerlJam for ages)

In any case, the book sounds like a great idea and I'll try to find some time to read it.


The *real* PerlJam ;)

This was my original idea for YAPC: a workbook that told organizers what to do and how to organize things. We were calling it "Conference in a Box" back then.

There would be insider-type tips for attracting top names, sponsors, etc, as well as practical help for scheduling talks (like, don't schedule anything against Damian (which we didn't know at the time)), as well as all the roles you'd need to make everything work right.

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About Barbie

user-pic Leader of and a CPAN author. Co-organised YAPC::Europe in 2006. Responsible for the YAPC Conference Surveys, helping to improve YAPCs every year. Also the current caretaker for the CPAN Testers websites and data stores. If you really want to find out more, buy me a Guinness. Just don't ask the obvious ... Grep has been for 10 years and is still no closer ;)Links: Memoirs of a Roadie Birmingham Perl Mongers CPAN Testers Reports YAPC Conference Surveys