My Perl QA Hackathon 2015 report

I too was among the crowd that attended the Perl QA Hackathon 2015 in Berlin. Here's my report.

Day 0

My wife and I arrived on Wednesday around noon. Although we tried to only make a quick visit to the hotel to drop our bags, we met Salve, Olivier, Aristotle in the lobby on our way either in or out. We also eyed Olaf, Clinton, and someone else (I think). But I only recognized them the second time around, when coming back to the hotel before the pre-hackathon meeting. I profusely apologized, but they claimed it was nothing, as they thought it was a French custom to insultingly ignore people. To be fair, only the waiters in Paris do that. ;-)

Once outside of the hotel to look for a place to have lunch, we also passed Ricardo, David, Chad, bulk88, but only waved hello, as we were already quite hungry. For lunch, we picked Stiege, which turned out later to be the hackathon crowd default dinner place. Upon entering the place, we bumped into Matthew and Dominique, who nicely invited us to join them at their table. There was no escaping the Perl people!

After lunch, my wife knew that the only way to get my attention back was to take me on a mini-tour of Berlin (given that I would spend the next four days locked in a room with no windows...). :-)

Back from our visit, we went to the pre-hackathon dinner, where we could see the rest of the gang. As I explained to Tina, when I'm the organizer, this is my favourite time of a conference: seeing people arriving one by one, the event finally coming together. This is usually when I get goosebumps. (I didn't tell her that the rest is usually equally divided between pure stress and pure joy. She probably knew, having organized a German Perl Workshop already.)

Day 1

In the morning, my phone complained about not having much space left, and that it would impede its capacity to receive SMS (which would be my main mean of communication with my wife, unless she caught some free wifi). So I spent most of the morning trying to get photos and SMS out of the phone. Of course it didn't work the first time, and it's only after trying various module and drivers updates that I realized the reason Linux didn't even detect the phone was because the cable I was using only dealt with power, and not data. Tadzik lended me the appropriate cable, and I was good to go (for lunch).

No hackathon is complete without some yak-shaving, I suppose. Better get that out of the way first. ;-)

I spent the afternoon picking up a project that came out of my discussions with Tim in Lyon and further discussions on the dbi-dev list. Tim was available on IRC and helped me greatly in getting the module off the ground.

Day 2

I spent most of day 2 refining Data::ShortNameProvider (with again lots of useful feedback from Tim), and I was able to publish it to CPAN at the end of the day.

I also took part to the "Toolchain governance and PAUSE adoption policies" discussions.

I also tried to work again on converting the SVN repository for File-Sharedir-Install to Git (something I offered to help ETHER with some time ago), but failed because the tarball seemed corrupted. In the end, I filed an email to GWYN in the hope to get a more usable dump.

After dinner, I abandonned my wife to visit C-Base with Ingy, Tina, Olivier, Salve, Tadzik and Steffen.

Day 3

With a year-old item off my todo-list, it was time to find something else to work on.

After the relative failure of the Act Hackathon in Lyon, I had decided to not interfere with Theo's Act Voyager (other than with support, instead of distraction), and work on my vision of Act2 on my own, until it was ready enough to try and bring in contributors. During that hackathon, Ribasushi had been very helpful (we even once paired one morning from 6am until the rest of the hackers arrived to work on a proof of concept), so I wanted to pick his brain more. He had an especially interesting idea related to EAV that he wanted to use on Act2 for experimenting.

So I tried to hijack Riba's attention in Berlin to get our initial work on Act2 going again. Alas, there was too much going around, and since Act was not the topic of this hackathon, we decided to make an appointment for a one evening mini-hackathon in Amsterdam the following week.

I also attended Clinton's ElasticSearch presentation (which made a lot of things clearer, making me regret I didn't know that stuff when I had to work with ElasticSearch some years ago). And then the "technical" consensus discussion.


We left early to visit the Computer Games Museum, which I enjoyed a lot (although I didn't try the Pain Station).


Day 4

When I arrived at the hackathon, I already had 434 different versions of Git compiled on one of my boxes (everything from v1.4.0), which I use to test Git::Repository. Talking with Olivier brought up the idea that I setup a smoker dedicated to testing Git wrappers. Olivier also came up with the idea of Test::Requires::Git, to enables test scripts to easily skip when the Git version they need is not available. I got the basics working, and then I started thinking about improvements.

I also attended the final consensus discussion about "CPAN culture and communication".


At the end of the day, I witnessed the original PAUSE and the first version of PAUSE running on Plack running next to each other. A truly unique moment, which we owe to Kenichi.



After the hackathon

On Monday, my wife took me to the Pergamon Museum. Among other pieces, I got to enjoy two small and old camels.



We then enjoyed a one-hour boat trip on the Spree, before running to the hotel to catch a bus to the airport. The plane switch in Brussels was so quick (the first plane being delayed) that our luggage spent one extra night there. It was delivered to us the day after.

I spent a little more than one day home before leaving again, this time for Amsterdam (where the rest of my team works). In the evening I met Ribasushi again, and we embarked for our Act2 BooK-athon (as he called it). Because the hotel was fully booked, I got an upgrade to an apartment facing the Amsterdam opera house.


The net result of five hours of hacking and pizza was an A5 piece of paper, with five names and a bunch of lines joining them. We both found this awesome, even if we didn't fully agree on all the names.

On Thursday, thinking more about Test::Requires::Git led to the Git::Features idea.

On Friday, I had managed to compile all versions of Git since v1.0.0, which brings my collection to 478 items (including all the RC). I also fixed a long-standing TODO regarding Git version 1.0.0a and 1.0.0b.

So, as usual, the hackathon kept me focused for a few days, and gave some ideas to pursue until the next one.

Thanks for all the fun

Organizing a QA hackathon is no small task (I know firsthand), and Tina has been doing an excellent job with Andreas. The venue was great, the trip to the Computer Museum and the visit to C-Base were nice distractions.

Special thanks must go to Wendy too, who pampered us to no end. <3

All of this would not have been possible without the support of our sponsors: thinkproject!, amazon Development Center, STRATO AG,, AffinityLive, Travis CI, Bluehost, GFU Cyrus AG, Evozon, infinity interactive, Neo4j, Frankfurt Perl Mongers, Perl 6 Community, Les Mongueurs de Perl, YAPC Europe Foundation, Perl Weekly, elasticsearch, LiquidWeb, DreamHost, qp procura, MongoDB, Campus Explorer. Not forgetting our individual sponsors: Ron Savage, Christopher Tijerina, Andrew Solomon, Jens Gassmann, Marc Allen and Michael LaGrasta.

I can't wait to meet everyone again next year!

Leave a comment

About BooK

user-pic Pink.