The London Perl Workshop 2015

LPWcommunity Sun 13 December 2015

I went to the London Perl Workshop yesterday. Lots of good talks and also a chance to catch up with old friends and make some new ones. Thanks to all the organisers and volunteers (and speakers!) who helped make it such a worthwhile day.

Talks I attended

I went to all of Dave Cross's talks, though I think it's shocking that he got a talk out of basically failing to meet a promise made to us all at last year's LPW!

SMYLERS gave a good talk about code interface design mistakes that we should all try to avoid. I think this would make a really good blog post. Even if one of examples of "don't do this please" was me changing the interface for a module I adopted ("this doesn't really do anything, so I can just get rid of it"), in a way that broke code which had been running fine for over 10 years. Given all my thinking about the CPAN river and not breaking your dependents I hope I wouldn't do this now, but good to be called on it. Sorry!

Stevan's MOP talk was as entertaining and interesting as expected. I like almost everything in his latest incarnation (twigils, if you're wondering), particularly the layered approach. It will be interesting to see how the discussion goes on P5P.

I had really wanted to attend ZEFRAM's talk the emperor's new programming language, but couldn't as I was talking at the same time. Clearly thought-provoking, based on what I overheard and got from people who did go.

Theo van Hoesel's talk, Dancer2 REST assured was about modules that he's written in response to shortcomings in existing REST-related modules.

The final full talk was a plenary from Liz, the end of the beginning, where she talked about her path to Perl 6, then gave a quick tour of some Perl 6 features.

As ever, the day finished with lightning talks: the usual mix of interesting, fun, befuddling and quirky.

My talks

I gave one talk on the Pull Request Challenge and another on the River model. These are both topics that I've thought a lot about this year, so it felt like they went ok. As always, the act of writing the talks gave me lots of ideas, which I wish I'd had time to implement at least some of. I'll be doing a number of blog posts based on these talks.

I also gave a lightning talk, with some lessons learned bootstrapping and running a small company for the last 5 years. As for my previous lightning talks, I had way too many slides, so when the 1 minute warning sounded I had to gallop through the remainder.

Thank you to everyone who gave me feedback and suggestions on my notes for the PRC and River talks. They were much improved by all the feedback.

Hey you, give a talk at next year's LPW!

One thing that will keep LPW fresh is an influx of new speakers. There are at least two reasons you might not consider submitting a proposal: you think you don't have anything to say, or you're nervous of standing up and talking.

On the first point: look through talks you've enjoyed, and think about what type of talk you could or would like to give: about a module you've written; how to get the most out of other peoples' modules; lessons you've learned about how to write good CPAN modules; community; and so on.

On the second point: some people don't get nervous about talking, but many do. I'm always very nervous about standing up and talking to any group of people: I wonder why I decided to to it, and as my talk gets closer, it's hard to think about anything else. I particularly find lightning talks nerve-wracking. Why the hell do I do it then, you might be wondering? It feels good once the damn things are over, for a start! As a result of giving talks I've got to know a lot of people, I learn a lot as a result of writing the talks, and always come up with ideas for more things to do (like Dave Cross I don't always do them, but some of them I do), and have been given good suggestions from people who attended my talks.

Start thinking about a talk for next year's LPW now. Decide what kind of talk you want to give, and start sketching ideas.

Idea: a talk buddy?

If you've never given a talk before, would like to, but are very nervous about it, then it might help you to talk to someone who's given a talk. I'd be happy to be a sounding board, and to help and encourage you. Get in touch if you want to talk about it.

I'd guess that plenty of other, more experienced (than me), Perl talkers would be happy to give guidance too, if there's someone else you think is a better fit for you.

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