10 Years of Attending Perl Events
This year's German Perl Workshop (GPW 2013) in Berlin marks a 10 year timespan of me attending Perl events. Good enough of a topic for my first blog post here. It all started way back when in 2003, having just switched cities in pursuit of a new and fulfilling Perl job. By that time I already had 7 years' worth of Perl experience under my belt, but never attended any Perl conference.
So my first Perl show was the then 5th German Perl Workshop in St. Augustin near Bonn. I was quite excited, had no Idea what would await me. After all, this was my first programming conference, ever.
The workshop took place at a conference center which included both lecture halls and hotel rooms. I got there by car, parked, and entered the premises. Soon there were a few similarly minded people gathering in the restaurant, so we started talking about the usual geek topics. I was amazed in how many companies Perl did its work behind the curtain, from finance to railways to news agency. This revelation was to continue during the next 3 days. The talks themselves were of the usual variety, some mediocre, some good, some great, but their content really broadened my Perl horizon. I was hooked.
So in 2004 I registered again. This time the Perl workshop was taking place in Schorndorf, near Stuttgart. The (from my point of view) first repeat contained quite a few familiar faces, people I knew from the previous year. Yet again there were a number of varied talks. The whole thing got me so excited that I even joined the organizers' mailing list. Later that year I traveled to Belfast for YAPC::Europe:2004. Now that was a Perl conference on another scale. First thing to get used to were the parallel tracks, you had to pick and mix the talks you wanted to see. Once again, there were a few familiar faces sprinkled among the crowd. Another new experience was the auction at the end, where I managed to get me a t-shirt or two.
2005 continued in the same vein: a new city, this time Dresden. During the organizing I did some copy editing on the printed proceedings. Things start to get a bit repetitive now. In 2006 I didn't attend the GPW, but I did go to YAPC::Europe in Birmingham. More amazing talks. I have especially fond memories of the Balti-based social event, where I found myself at what we dubbed the "international table", with 12 people, each from a different country. Among them were Ovid and domm.
Then 2007 came around, and with it the GPW in Munich, my previous home town. I couldn't let that pass me by. So I even enlisted my cousin to attend (for free, since he studied at the university where the workshop took place). My motivation level was so high that I submitted (and held) a talk on memcached, my first talk at a conference. In late August I then traveled to Vienna for another YAPC::Europe. I could not have predicted the impact that city had on me. The YAPC was great, but so was Vienna!
In 2008 there was another GPW, this time in Erlangen. Familiar faces, interesting talks, and a little success story. My employer had a booth at the job fair at YAPC::Europe in Vienna, but to no avail. In Erlangen, however, I managed to recruit a future colleague during lunch. Go figure! That marked the beginning of a four-year hiatus, I was exclusively preoccupied with work.
Interestingly enough, my next GPW was in 2012, also in Erlangen, at the same location. It would seem like I had to make up for lost time, because in summer I went to a hot and wonderful YAPC::Europe in Frankfurt, followed by another visit to Vienna in November, for the Austrian Perl Workshop. There I held my second talk, this time on git basics.
So if you are unsure about whether to go to one of these Perl workshops or YAPC conferences, the only answer I can give you is a resounding yes.