What’s actually installed in that perl library?

A key part of my plan for Upgrading from Perl 5.8 is the ability to take a perl library installed for one version of perl, and reinstall it for a different version of perl.

To do that you have to know exactly what distributions were installed in the original library. And not just which distributions, but which versions of those distributions.

I’ve a solution for that now. It turned out to be rather harder to solve than I’d thought… Continue reading

Perl Myths and Mongers in Dublin

Last weekend I went up to Dublin to speak at OSSBarcamp. I took the train from Limerick on Friday so I’d already be in Dublin the following morning, without having to get up at the crack of dawn.

Dublin.pm

Aidan Kehoe and I had a very small but interesting Dublin.pm meeting that night. Their first since 2004! Our wide-ranging discussions that night included me trying to understand what led Dublin.pm to flounder instead of flourish. I think a key factor was the (implicit?) expectation that members should make technical presentations.

Living in the west of Ireland there aren’t enough local Perl users (that I’ve found so far) to have a viable Perl Mongers group. So I setup the Limerick Open Source meetup instead.

Here’s what worked for us: We sit around in a quiet comfy hotel bar and chat. Naturally the chat tends towards the technical, and laptops are produced and turned around to illustrate a point or show results of a search, a chunk of video etc. There’s no set agenda, no declared topics, and no presentations. And yet, I think it’s fair to say, that everyone who’s come along has learnt interesting (albeit random) stuff.

I’d like to hear from perl mongers, in groups of all sizes, what kinds of balance between the social and technical aspects of Perl Mongers meetings works (or doesn’t work) for you.

OSSBarcamp

At OSSBarcamp I gave a ~15 minute ‘lightning talk’ on Devel::NYTProf in the morning, and a ~50 minute talk on Perl Myths in the afternoon.

The Perl Myths talk was a major update to my previous version, now over 18 months old, incorporating lots of updated graphs and other fresh information.

There is so much happy vibrant productive life in the Perl community that updating the presentation has been lovely experience. I keep having to revise the numbers on the slides upwards. There are lots of great graphs and they’re all going upwards too! (Many thanks to Barbie for the great new graphs of CPAN stats.)

I’ve put a PDF of the slides, with notes, on slideshare. Best viewed full-screen or downloaded.

I made a screencast but I think I’ll hang on to that until after I give the same talk, updated again, at the Italian Perl Workshop (IPW09) in Pisa in October — I’m really looking forward to that! I’ll make another screencast there and decide then which to upload.

After OSSBarcamp last week, and before IPW09 in late October, I’ll be flying to Moscow, visa permitting, to give a talk at the HighLoad++ (translated) conference. I’ve never been to Russia before so that’s going to be an amazing experience!

NYTProf v3 – a sneak peak

I’ve had a great week at OSCON. The talks are excellent but the real value is in the relationships formed and renewed in the “hallway track”. I’m honoured and humbled to be able to call many great people my friends.

My talk on Devel::NYTProf seemed to go well. This year I covered not just NYTProf and the new features in v3 (not yet released) but also added a section on how to use NYTProf to optimize your perl code.

Here’s a quick summary, with links to the slides and screen-cast, and outline what’s still to be done before v3 gets released (getting closer by the day). Continue reading

The Italian Perl Workshop

Pisa Cathedral Wall.jpgI spent a very pleasant few days in Pisa, Italy, last week. I’d been invited to speak at the Fourth Italian Perl Workshop. The workshop was a great success. In fact calling it a “workshop” is selling it short. It’s more of a mini-conference:

“2 days of conference, 2 simultaneous tracks, more than 30 talks, 120 attendees, 20 sponsors and many international guests”

The whole event ran very smoothly thanks to a great team lead by Gianni Ceccarelli, Francesco Nitido, and Enrico Sorcinelli. I’ll echo the compliments of one attendee “Complimenti sinceri agli organizzatori! Bravissimi! Tutto perfetto!

I gave short talk on Gofer on the Thursday, and then two 40 minutes talks on Friday: Perl Myths, and Devel::NYTProf. I hope to upload screencasts and slides next week. The talks were all recorded on video so I imagine they’ll be uploaded at some point. I’ll add links here to them when they are.

The majority of the sessions were in Italian so, since my Italian is practically non-existant, I had plenty of time to work.

Or at least try to. The one disappointment of the trip for me was the apparent poor quality of the Italian internet. Using mtr I’d regularly see over 20% packet loss within telecomitalia.it and interbusiness.it from my hotel room. Occasionally over 50%. It got much better at night, so I’d do more work then. At the conference venue the Italian academic network (garr.net) also regularly had over 20% packet loss at its link to the internet. All this was, of course, outside the control of the organisers.

The “corridoor track” at perl conferences is always good. I had a chance to talk to Rafel Garcia-Suarez (and meet his lovely wife and new baby son), Matt S Trout, Hakim Cassimally, Michel Rodriguez, Marcus Ramberg, and many others.

I had opted to take a very early fight so I’d have a day being a tourist in Pisa before the conference started. The weather was beautiful and I had a lovely time strolling though the streets of this ancient city.

Pisa Knights Square.jpg

I didn’t take my camera with me, but I did take my iPhone so I was able to capture a few snaps as I strolled around and climbed the tower. (Yes, it really does lean in a disconcerting “it must be about to fall down” way. All the more dramatic when you’re up close and can appreciate the massive scale of the tower.)

Pisa View over Cathedral.jpg

Perl Myths – OSCON 2008

I gave a updated version of my earlier Perl Myths talk at OSCON this year. It includes updated numbers, updated job trend graphs (showing good growth in perl jobs) and slides for the perl6 portion that were missing from the upload of the previous talk.

Two versions of the slides are available: one with just the slides on a landscape page, and another with slides and notes on a portrait page.

I also have a screencast of the presentation which I hope to edit and upload before long. (I’ll update this page and post a new note when I do.)

Interesting Items OSCON 2008 – Dealing with Streaming Data

This is a collection of links to things discussed, or just mentioned, at OSCON that I found interesting enough to note. Hopefully one of a series for OSCON 2008, as time allows.

These items are from a great talk on “A Streaming Database” by Rafael J. Fernández-Moctezuma at PDXPUG day.

Hancock is a C-based domain-specific language designed to make it easy to read, write, and maintain programs that manipulate large amounts of relatively uniform data. In addition to C constructs, Hancock provides domain-specific forms to facilitate large-scale data processing

The CQL continuous query language (google)

Borealis is a distributed stream processing engine. Borealis builds on previous efforts in the area of stream processing: Aurora and Medusa.

CEDR is the Complex Event Detection and Response project from Microsoft Research.

Google Protocol Buffers “allow you to define simple data structures in a special definition language, then compile them to produce classes to represent those structures in the language of your choice”.
Which seems like Thrift which is “a software framework for scalable cross-language services development. It combines a powerful software stack with a code generation engine to build services that work efficiently and seamlessly between langauges”.

Irish Open Source Technology Conference – June 18th-20th

I’ll be speaking at the Irish Open Source Technology Conference this year. It’s on at Dublin’s CineWorld Complex, from June 18th for three days. They’re running a 2-for-1 offer on tickets at the moment.

I’ll be speaking about something Perl’ish, naturally.

The “Perl Myths” presentation I gave at IWTC earlier this year turned out to be a hit. (At least, it was after the event. There were less than ten people in the room at the time, including me! Perl clearly isn’t a hot topic among Irish web developers.)

My blog post, with embedded slides and video, has topped 7400 hits, plus another 3000 or so views on slideshare.

I’m upgrading my methods for this next talk. I’ve bought a great wireless USB microphone and the amazing
ScreenFlow screencasting software to capture everything in detail.

So I’m going all high-tech. No more “camcorder perched on a chair at the back” for me!

It’ll be a good trial run for OSCON where I’m speaking in July.

Perl and Parrot – Baseless Myths and Startling Realities

 
I was recently invited to speak at the Irish Web Technology Conference (26-29 May in Dublin). I’m used to preaching to the converted but this would be the first time I’ve spoken to a (presumably) more sceptical audience. I agreed speak but haven’t yet been asked to provide an abstract.
 
Around the same time I saw a call for participation for XTech (6-9 May in Dublin). So I figured I’d submit a proposal. I’m guessing the audience would be similar so I could develop a single talk for both.
 
Here’s what I came up with in the last hour before the deadline: 
Perl5:
  • Perl5 isn’t the new kid on the block. Perl is 21 years old. Perl5 is 14 years old.
  • Perl5 hasn’t been generating buzz recently.
  • Perl5 has just been getting on with the job. Boring but true.
  • Lots of jobs, in fact. I’ll show you the surprising scale of the Perl jobs market.
 
Massive Module Market:
  • Vibrant developer community
  • Over 14,000 distributions (53,000 modules) with over 6,400 ‘owners’ (lead developers).
  • Thousands of releases per month to hundreds of modules.
  • CPAN has over 360 mirrors in 51 regions (TLDs)
  • Automated testing applied to all uploads by the CPAN Testers Network: 61 different platforms and 20 different versions of Perl.
  • I’ll take you on a lightning tour.
 
Perl5.10:
  • Five years after Perl5.8, Perl5.10 is now out.
  • Packing a powerful punch for power users.
  • I’ll show you the highlights.
 
Parrot:
  • An advanced virtual machine for dynamic languages.
  • Advanced capabilities with blinding speed.
  • Already supports over 20 languages.
  • I’ll give you a quick overview.
 
Perl6:
  • A new generation of programming languages.
  • Advancing the state of the art in powerful practical languages.
  • specification not an implementation.
  • Multiple implementations exist already.
  • Generating code for multiple backends: Parrot, Perl5, Lisp, JavaScript.
  • Sharing a common test suite of almost 20,000 tests.
  • Perl6 is written in the best language for the job: Perl6!
  • I’ll demonstrate Perl6 code for you.

And I’ll do all this in 40 minutes. Fasten your seat-belts!

 

The IWTC session is 75 minutes so I figure I can write a good presentation by the end of February for that and then distil the essence down to the 40 minute session I (hope to) have at XTech in May.
 
I’d welcome any comments on the abstract. Especially anything worth saying, or ideally showing, to a relatively perl-sceptical audience.
 
I don’t want to get into a  language comparison debate. Perl can stand on it’s own. But I do want to show that for any cool gizmo that language Foo has, that Perl has something similar. An obvious example is “Ruby has Rails, Perl has Catalyst (and others)”. That’s easy to say but doesn’t carry much weight. For each of those I’d really like great example.
 
For Catalyst a big-name-web-site built using it would do. Other cool gizomos need other killer examples. Got any suggestions?
 
Looking at it the other way, perl has a few cool gizmos that might be worth a mention if time allows: perltidy springs to mind. What others can you think of? And what parallels do they have in other languages?