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 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.
  • Five years after Perl5.8, Perl5.10 is now out.
  • Packing a powerful punch for power users.
  • I’ll show you the highlights.
  • An advanced virtual machine for dynamic languages.
  • Advanced capabilities with blinding speed.
  • Already supports over 20 languages.
  • I’ll give you a quick overview.
  • 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?

This is not me…

I wake to sleep, and take my waking slow.
I feel my fate in what I cannot fear.
I learn by going where I have to go.
— Theodore Roethke

So I have a blog, yet I know not what I’ll use it for, nor what parts of my self I’ll choose to log.

You’re welcome to join me on this meandering journey. Though the map is not the territory.

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