Jun 26

I finally got to my first YAPC this year – coincidences and conflicts kept me away in previous years. So excuse me for getting all dewy eyed, but it was a great experience! Haven’t felt that close to a development community since the early Oreilly Perl conferences. I feel all energized about Perl again and it makes me want to host a winter workshop in the bay area someday.

Here are some cool things I learned about:

  • distroprefs – A way to improve the automatability of CPAN installs; namely, dealing with those pesky distributions that insist on asking you questions. We spent a bunch of time at Hearst writing expect scripts to deal with these so that we could automatically install our large CPAN base on different servers. Wish I’d known about distroprefs!
  • Dist::Zilla – I’ve always been vaguely bothered by the amount of boilerplate in my CPAN distributions (copyright, author, version, etc.) but Dist::Zilla has finally provided the means and motivation to do something about it.
  • KiokuDB – Stevan Little’s talk on KiokuDB got me excited about leaving behind RDBMSs and the Impedence Mismatch on my next web project. Just store Moose objects! Of course people have been getting excited about object databases since the 80s, and there’s probably a reason that Oracle is still around. But allow me to enjoy my dream before it smashes into reality.
  • Memory persistence – As Steven Lembark gleefully hammered home, Perl never shrinks a variable. Once $foo has had a million bytes or @foo has a million entries, it’ll reserve that space forever, even if you empty it. Makes me want to look real close at any globals in persistent web environments.
  • CGI::Inspect – Brock Wilcox wins the award for most satisfying feature demo. Insert CGI::Inspect’s inspect() somewhere in a web template. When it runs, a dashboard launches in a new browser window, with a stack trace and the ability to inspect and change lexical state before the page resumes its render. Of course, other environments like JSP/Eclipse have had live debugging of web pages for years, but in Perl this still seems groundbreaking :) , and the possibilities for extending it are intriguing.

Here are the pages for the talks referenced above:

  • CPAN – A big enough lever to install the world
  • Dist::Zilla – Automating quality since 2008
  • KiokuDB – A Real World Introduction
  • Memory Manglement
  • Drop-In Web-Based REPL for CGI Applications
  • 4 Responses to “Things I learned at YAPC|10”

    1. Mark Stosberg Says:

      This is a great YAPC write-up. I enjoyed reading a number of other entries from your website as well.

    2. jonswar Says:

      Thanks Mark!

    3. Josh Jore Says:

      FWIW, perl will always give your memory back if you use the undef() function.

    4. Josh Jore Says:

      Also, CGI::Inspect may be RAWK! but it’s also a core feature of Seaside in Smalltalk. Probably the only other place you can actually get that btw.

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