London Perl Workshop 2015 - a retrospective

The London Perl Workshop 2015 was the first workshop in a long time where I did not present a talk. This left me free to listen to the talks without worrying about my slides or wanting to go through my demo one more time. So, without further ado, here's my retrospective of the talks I saw:

Perl and PDF by Prabhakar Somu

I missed the talk at YAPC::Europe in Granada, so this was a most welcome way to watch the presentation, as it was recommended to me by people in the Granada audience. Prabhakar gave an interesting overview of the various PDF format and the modules on CPAN and what they do, and how he and his team settled on pdflib to create PDFs for Indias ID cards. My main takeaway from this talk was that I should look into XMP data extraction, as many file formats seem to use this format to store metadata.

Next was The Joy of Six by Nigel Hamilton, which was the first talk of the talks I saw in London about Perl 6. As Perl 6 seems to be stable enough nowadays for more serious experimentation, I'm looking for easy presentations that show interesting concepts within Perl 6. The talk mostly showed a conversion from a Perl (5) regular expression to a Perl 6 grammar, which was interesting. Personally, I would have liked explorations of the various methods of parallelism more, but a presentation has to pick its topics and one can't contain too many different things within 50 minutes.

Don't Do That: Code Interface Mistakes To Avoid by Smylers

Smylers showed several interesting design mistakes in APIs of various Perl modules. Luckily, none of my modules was featured, but I guess that's mostly because my CPAN releases don't have the kind of widespread use that would have made the API problems known to him.

the emperor's new programming language by Zefram was an entertaining take on various corners of Perl 6, where the different good intentions don't really come together to form a smooth whole. This was especially apparent to me whenever some concepts that made sense in simply typed Perl 5 got transplanted to Perl 6, where the behaviour conflicts with expectations set from more complex types. As it is very early in the Perl 6 release process, I hope that these inconsistencies in syntax and semantics get fixed soon, even at the cost of breaking early programs.

Making your website seem faster by Léon Brocard

Léon presented about various HTTP headers that allow a website to make use of caches and content distribution networks to host content closer to the user and to reduce the latency of the network transfer from the machine producing the content to the machine displaying the content. Half of the talk was about where the latency comes from and the other half was about the various HTTP headers that control cache time and cache error behaviour.

A decade of dubious decisions was a look back by Matt Trout on various things he'd done in the past, and various interactions with people he had in the past. It was an interesting reflection on his interactions and how the people moving things forward are not necessarily the best people, but waiting for the people best suited to show up usually amounts to nothing being done at all.

Closing the roster of scheduled talks was The end of the beginning by Liz, a reflection on how Perl 6 has come as far as it is now. I found it well made and optimistic and it showed some pictures of Perl contributors at a much younger age.

The Lightning Talks were entertaining as well, hosted by Léon again.

Thanks must go to Mark Keating who organized the London Perl Workshop 2015 even though his village was under water during the time before the workshop. Also, thanks must go to the sponsors, who provided food and coffee during the breaks, and the speakers who prepared interesting presentations.

During the downtime at the airports, I actually found time to implement HTTP multiplayer in my toy roguelike game, and also created a module to put text on images, like a meme generator. I also worked a bit on a Powerpoint PPTX generator, so at least one CPAN release might also come out of this visit to London.

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About Max Maischein

user-pic I'm the Treasurer for the Frankfurt Perlmongers e.V. . I have organized Perl events including 9 German Perl Workshops and one YAPC::Europe.