One day in November

On Saturday (25th November), the London Perl Workshop (LPW) was held at the University of Westminster. It was a free-to-attend one-day conference that three tracks of talks and one of tutorials. It was also the first in the post-Mark Keating age. This is the report of this year's organising team: Katherine, Lee, Neil, Pete, and Rick.

In brief, the talks went down well and everyone seemed to enjoy themself. Read on for more!

We had 25 talks in three tracks. They covered a wide range of topics, including GraphQL, GDPR, the Rust programming language, YAML, and a comparison of Go and Perl 6 for concurrent programming. As organisers we didn't get to see many of the talks on the day, but that was ok, because all talks were being recorded, and will gradually turn on up YouTube (we'll let you know as and when). And we're looking forward to them, because we heard so many good reports from attendees!

For the morning coffee break, some of the attendees had volunteered to bake, so we had brownies, cookies, shortbread, flapjacks, muffins, and more. This was a first for LPW, so we had some nerves, but it worked extremely well, and is something we suggest more conferences try as it reinforces the feeling of community, and is a novel way for casual contributions to your event, including people who want to help but aren’t ready to present a talk just yet.

In addition to the regular talks, we had four tutorials: an introduction to Perl; web development in Perl 6 with Bailador; giving your web-site more Google-juice; and web testing with Perl and Selenium. Tutorials are a major commitment and we're guessing (never having given one) that they're more nerve-wracking, for a variety of reasons. We'd also like to thank Dave Cross, who trimmed the length of his tutorial for us twice, to help finesse the schedule.

Following the afternoon coffee break, we all gathered in the large theatre for Ann Barcomb's plenary. In a previous life Ann worked as a programmer, but she's now a researcher, working towards a PhD in volunteering in the open source community. She gave an engaging talk on episodic or casual contributors, which was both entertaining and thought-provoking: the Q&A session evolved into a discussion between audience members.


We ended the day in the usual fashion -- lightning talks! As ever these were fun, informing, short, and featured from such far-flung places as Japan (Ishigaki-san, seen in the photo here), Germany, Switzerland, and Lancaster.


This year we tried out a few ideas:

  • We had a lot of talk submissions, and briefly considered adding a fourth track. Instead, we asked quite a few speakers to drop from 50 to 20 minutes. Most of them did, and as a result we fitted in more talks. At the end of the day we polled the attendees, and this was almost unanimously supported as a good change.
  • We spent a lot more money to try and ensure we have good quality videos of all talks. The proof of this pudding will be in the watching, but we're hoping it will turn out to have been worth it!
  • We set up email aliases for speakers, volunteers, organisers, and other groups. We tried to make as much clear to everyone ahead of the day itself.
  • We did a lot more promotion of LPW and the speakers. How did it feel on the receiving end?
  • As noted above, we had community bakes for one of the breaks.
  • We produced t-shirts for speakers, volunteers, and organisers. So if you want a coveted LPW shirt, you know what you need to do next year!
  • There's usually an after-event gathering at a local pub, but this year we had laid on drinks downstairs at the event. As a result a lot of attendees stayed to natter. So much so, that in the end we had to shout at them to make them leave!

Let us know what you thought of these: you can email the organisers (organisers at londonperlworkshop.org) or email us individually.

A number of speakers and attendees have already blogged about the event too: Mark Keating, Lance Wicks, JJ Merelo, and Mohammad Anwar.

LPW is a community event, run for the community by members of the community. Next year that could include you. What changes would you like to champion?

LPW is a great event, and it's only only possible with the support of our fantastic sponsors: Eligo, Perl Careers, CV-Library, WCN, Adzuna, Bytemark, OpusVL, Booking.com, SureVoIP, Magnum Solutions, Perl 6, Geekuni, University of Westminster, Cogendo, Science Photo Library, The Enlightened Perl Organisation, Evozon, O'Reilly. If you get a chance, please thank them.

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About London Perl Workshop

user-pic The London Perl Workshop (LPW) is a free one-day technical conference in Central London, UK. This year LPW will be on Saturday 25th November 2017.