As I mentioned recently, I’m working on an update to my Perl Myths talk. (Which is really a review of the state of the art, state of the community, resources, and best practices. You could even call it marketing.)
In recent months, and especially while researching for this update, it’s become clear to me that the Perl community is both functioning well and growing more conscious of its own role and value.
But are the various components of “the community” sufficiently visible?
You’ll often hear expressions like CPAN is the “jewel in the crown” of Perl. To the extent that’s true, it’s the Perl community that we have to thank. CPAN feeds the community, and the community feeds CPAN – at an ever increasing rate. (Those graphs currently include the current incomplete month, so often show a sudden but unrepresentative drop in the final value. That’s being fixed.)
When I read stories from those new to the community like this, or this, I think Larry’s vision expressed in 2000 (and echoed in 2004 by Nat) of “the community’s rewrite of the community” has come to pass.
But for every user in the perl community there are countless more perl users outside it. Unaware of other perl users near them, either physically or virtually. We need to find ways of reaching out to those users and encouraging them to join our various communities (Perl Mongers, PerlMonks, IRC channels etc. etc.).
On The Map?
So, back to my Perl Myths talk… To help convey the scale and geographic spread of the perl community I’m including this map of the locations of Perl Mongers groups:
When I zoomed in on Europe I could see that there was no marker for the Dublin Perl Mongers. Now I know that the Dublin group is barely active, but it is alive and should be on the map. So that got me thinking “how many more Perl Monger groups are alive but not on the map?”.
Please go check the map for any perl monger groups you know of and, if you can’t find them, email the admin for the group (you can find the email address at http://www.pm.org) and ask them to update their details to include the location. Also, if possible, email the approximate location to pm.org yourself so they can be added to the map ASAP. (I’d be especially grateful if more markers could be added for groups in sparse areas of the map!)
In The Calendar?
To help convey the scale of activity within the community I include this graph of conferences, workshops, and hackathons (thanks to BooK for updating it for me):
Notice the dip in “Other conferences” in 2009? Perhaps the rise in 2008 was an aberration, and 2009 has returned to the underlying trend. Or perhaps some smaller events, like workshops and hackathons, might have been missed, in the same way that Perl Monger groups might not be ‘on the map’.
So I’m looking for help in checking that all perl workshops and hackathons in 2009 have been noted.
The underlying data for the graph can be found in a YAML file here. Or, instead of rummaging though a YAML file, you could look at this calendar. I’ve already checked that all entries matching ‘workshop’ or ‘hackathon’ are in the YAML file. What I’d like you to do, is check that any workshops or hackathons that you’re aware of are in the calendar. If not, let me know.