[Israel.pm] [REVIEW] My Report about the 2012 Israeli Perl Workshop

Shlomi Fish shlomif at shlomifish.org
Sun Mar 18 11:30:43 PDT 2012

Hi all,

included below is my report for the Israeli Perl Worshop in Perl POD
format (if you’re not already familiar with it, you should be, but in that
case, it's pretty easy to understand just by looking at it). I'd like to post
it on my blog/etc. but I hope you people can read it and weed out some of the
problems with spelling, grammar, syntax, spelling, style, and so forth.


	Shlomi Fish


=head1 Shlomi Fish’s Report about the 2012 Israeli Perl Workshop

This is my report about the 
L<Israeli Perl Workshop of 2012|http://act.perl.org.il/ilpw2012/> . It was
a fun and educational event, and I'm glad I was able to attend it. For better
or for worse, all the talks I attended were in Room 1, but I was still able
to hear the ends of a few talks in Room 2 (because the corresponding talks
in Room 1 ended before them).

I set up an alarm the night before in order to wake up early in time for the
event, and ended up waking up some time before it (and even the alarm time was
much earlier than what I was used to). Then I made some preparations, ate
breakfast, and caught the appropriate bus. After I walked from the bus station
to Shenkar, it took me some time to find the place, because it wasn't the
same entrance as our normal rooms, and the signs were confusing. What I needed
to do was to take the stairs down to the yard, and then go to the organisation
room, but it was hard to find.

There I got my name sticker, the schedule, and some swag from booking.com. I’d
like to thank L<Booking.com|http://www.booking.com/> for sponsoring the Israeli
Perl Workshop 2012 (as well as having a presence there and giving some swag
and chocolates), and they are looking for software developers with Perl
experience to relocate to Amsterdam, so please consider working for them.

In the yard, I met a few people including 
L<Florian Ragwitz|http://search.cpan.org/~flora/> (a.k.a "FLORA" on CPAN or
"rafl" on IRC - he has many cool modules there, including quite a few XS ones),
who was one of the workshop’s visitors from Germany. Despite being German, his
English accent sounded English to us. Later on we discussed accents in English 
and he noted that the accents of some Israelis he met sounded like French to 
him (while ours seemed less so). This is strange, because Israelis can
distinguish between a French accent in English and an Israeli Hebrew accent in

Anyway, Florian told me that he is planning on reviewing and pulling my
Test::Aggregate GitHub pull request Real Soon Now™, a fact which has brought
me some relief, because I've tried to contact him on IRC and ask him if he

For better or for worse, all the talks that I preferred to hear took place in
room #1 (while sometimes visiting Room #2) to hear the ends of talks. I still
would be happy to hear many of the talks that took place in Room #2 in the
normal Tel Aviv Perl Mongers meetings, or alternatively, those talks in room #1
which lacked enough time to be conveyed satisfactorily.

The first talk in the day was 
L<http://search.cpan.org/~eilara/|Ran Eilam>’s talk about "Syntactic Sugar 
causes Cancer of the Semicolon”, which had to be trimmed towards the end, 
the introduction may have taken too long. The talk was interesting starting
from an example of C<< ptr->val >> being sugar in the C programming language
for C<< (*ptr).val >> and continuing to further examples. Ran raised the issue
of whether syntactic sugar was important or not, which turns out to not be
a straightforward question. He then demonstrated some modules for syntactic
sugar on CPAN.

I hope Ran can give a rerun of it on one of the mongers' meetings with more
time allocated for that.

After that I attended the talk of Stefan Hornburg (“racke”, known as
L<HORNBURG on CPAN|http://search.cpan.org/~hornburg/>) who was another
visitor from Germany, about
L<Template::Flute|http://act.perl.org.il/ilpw2012/talk/3955> which is a
designer’s friendly template system. In this template, one uses an HTML file
with standard HTML attributes for designating the fields that needs to be
replaced, and then an XML specification file that specifies how to process 
the HTML (and in addition one uses Perl to give it data). As a result the 
designers can manipulate the HTML with their own tools, while still
allowing the programmers to populate it with data.

This seems like an interesting and potentially useful tool, but it’s
less expressive than template systems such as Template Toolkit. After the talk,
another attendee whom we talked in private questioned the need for both the
HTML file and the XML specification, but I didn't find a way to avoid it
given the constraints that the HTML will be valid HTML 4/XHTML 1.

The next talk about Time Management in Software Projects was cancelled because
the presenter did not come (due to lack of time management as we joked then).
I was able to catch a glimpse of the end of 
L<Dotan Dimet|http://corky.net/dotan/>’s “Perl and JavaScript:
bioinformatics in a browser window” talk, but I don’t remember a lot of
it except for a small amount of demonstration.

The talk about Zero to CPAN was eventually given by 
L<Sawyer|http://blogs.perl.org/users/sawyer_x/> instead of by
L<Erez Schatz|http://blogs.perl.org/users/erez_schatz/>. It was a nice one, and I’ve learned about 
L<the CPAN-Changes module|http://metacpan.org/release/CPAN-Changes> there
(after Florian mentioned it, though). Sawyer covered the way to get to a
working CPAN-like distribution from scratch using tools such as
module-starter and explained what every file in the CPAN module hierarchy
does, and demonstrated some test-driven-development. I knew most of it already,
but it was still a fun talk.

L<Amir Friedman|http://www.linkedin.com/in/amirfr>‘s talk about software 
configuration management (SCM) came next, 
and he discussed some open-source solutions for the various parts of SCM,
which include version control, release management, task management, and
project management. He recommended Gitflow (which we had a talk about
on the Tel Aviv mongers mailing list) for version control and release
management, and a different solution called Jenkins for issue tracking (if
I remember correctly). I then asked what he thought of integrated “all-in-one”
solutions for SCM, and he said that those were pricey and he did not have
any significant experience with them.

The lunch break came next and I overheard a talk between two other people
about teaching English to speakers of non-English languages. One of them
said that he once worked with some Spanish Electrical Engineers and that they
were “completely isolated” from the rest of the world because they didn’t
read the literature in English. Then we discussed whether it was economical
to teach English to hundreds of millions of speakers of Spanish, or whether
we should expect most things to be translated. It was compared to the
“give a man a fish” vs. “teach a man to fish”. We also discussed the fact that
Dutchmen tended to have very good English, and one of the other people
commented that it was true, but that they still tended to prefer using
software with Dutch localisation.

I’ve also talked with Sawyer about his upcoming 
L<“CGI.pm MUST DIE!” talk|http://act.perl.org.il/ilpw2012/talk/3936>. He
said that he needs to become mentally energised for that talk because he
feels strongly about it and wants to convey the energy. He passed an
anecdote from a conference in Europe, in which he had given a talk about
Dancer, and said he was so emotional then that people said “You must
see him” and rushed to see his other talk. Moreover, afterwards, when asked
who were the two best presenters in the conference, they said “[Someone
very famous] and that Dancer guy”.

The anti-CGI.pm presenting was indeed energetic and emotional, but kinda fell
below my expectations due to the yard talk that preceded it. It was still
pretty informative. Dotan Dimet later took the stage for the rebuttal
of “CGI.pm - the only web development framework you’ll ever need” which was
less emotional but still interesting. I was not convinced that CGI.pm’s
HTML generation routines were a good way to do output HTML (I never really
liked them), so I may have been more convinced by Sawyer.

L<Ynon Perek|http://www.ynonperek.com/>’s 
L<talk|http://act.perl.org.il/ilpw2012/talk/3977> about
“Implementing Perl (Moose) Design Patterns” came next, which was interesting,
but again lacked adequate time to cover everything, and I hope will be given
with less time constraints. One anecdote from there was that Ynon said there
where three primary ways for polymorphism in Perl: Inheritance (“is-a”), 
Roles/Traits (“does-a”) and Containment/Delegation (“has-a”) and that
he could no longer recommend inheritance (but did not get to explain why not
from what I recall).

In any case, I was surprised at Ynon’s implementation of the Factory
pattern, and don’t remember the implementation given by him.

Next came Tamir Lousky’s 
L<talk|http://act.perl.org.il/ilpw2012/talk/3953> about generating vector 
graphics with Perl and SVG. Its slides contained a lot of very nice eye candy. 
The introduction
to SVG and generating it was quite rudimentary, and did not cover the full
potential of SVG. The demonstration and explanation of the module for
generating random trees using SVG was interesting.

L<David Tabachnikov|http://act.perl.org.il/ilpw2012/talk/3959>’s next gave an
interesting talk called “Scaling Up”. He
contrasted optimisation (which makes your code run faster with the existing
resources) to vertical scaling (= buying faster computers) to Horizontal
scaling (= buying more hardware). He also noted that there’s some speed
difference between the various SQL databases, but he did not encounter a
situation where it would have made too much difference.

The last feature of the evening were the lightning talks. I recall a talk
by Florian Ragwitz about Google Code-In and Google Summer-of-Code. I also
recall L<Gabor|http://szabgab.com/>’s talk about surviving in an uncooperative 
workplace. He said
that if the workplace does not practise best practices such as using version
control systems or writing automated tests, one can create their own
small island of sanity where they make use of that on their own, and gradually
convince the rest of the organisation that it’s beneficial.

After the lightning talks, some people went to a local restaurant for dinner,
but I decided against it because I was too tired from waking up early. As a
result, I found someone who drove up north to drive me home, and got home.

In the schedule I noticed that one could go to a certain URL at 
L<O’Reilly|http://www.oreilly.com/> and
receive a free E-book of their choice. I used this opportunity to get the book
L<Beautiful Code|http://shop.oreilly.com/product/9780596510046.do> , which
I have started reading.

The day was exhausting but very fun, and I enjoyed all the talks I attended.
I’d like to thank the organisers of the event and most notably 
L<Gabor Szabo|http://szabgab.com/> and Sawyer X, 
L<Shenkar college|http://www.shenkar.ac.il/> for providing the venue,
L<Booking.com|http://www.booking.com/> for the sponsorship, O’Reilly for
the free book presents, the foreign guests who came to present and to attend,
and all the other presenters, who volunteered to give talks.

I hope we can repeat this the next year.

Shlomi Fish       http://www.shlomifish.org/
Best Introductory Programming Language - http://shlom.in/intro-lang

Chuck Norris once wrote a 10 million lines C++ program in Microsoft Notepad
without having to use the backspace key. And it compiled without errors or
warnings, and was 100% bug‐free.

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