I attended my Fourth YAPC::NA this past week, and just as usual, I had a blast. Conferences are valuable experiences that allow one to step back and re-evaluate one’s work compared to the Zeitgeist of the community.
There were a lot of excellent talks this year, and even more that I didn’t see. The one that left everyone’s jaw on the floor was Martin Holste’s Perl For Big Data. There were a lot of talks on “big data” but The sheer audacity that this project displayed was impressive. Holste demonstrated lightning fast search, management-pleasing data analysis, and massive distributed throughput on some absurd amount of real-time data. The amazing part of it all was that his team accomplished this not by scaling up their hardware, but by using standard open source software to its limits.
Another general trend that I’m quite happy to see is that Perl hackers are thieving magpies. Stevan Little of Moose fame demonstrated Web::Machine as a clone of Basho’s Webmachine. I am merely looking for an excuse to use it now. Genehack also unveiled HiD, a Jekyll clone. I was surprised that Miyagawa, one of the first Perl hackers to be notorious for rifling the pocket change of other language’s libraries, did not show off any new libraries, but did a great talk on comparing his experiences with the Python and Ruby ecosystems he has plumbed in the past, and how to bring the good parts back to Perl.
Beyond the technical, it was fun to connect and reconnect with a lot of people I’ve interacted with on IRC, twitter, and in past lives at past jobs. I am definitely looking forward to going back again in the future, and I hope to entice more folk to YAPC, both those new to Perl and those who toil in the shadows (you know who you are!)