YAPC::Europe 2007 Impressions

Because of work I had only 1.5 days time to consume YAPC::Europe, so this entry cannot be representative of the event. But you would not have expected a neutral report from me anyway.

I was suprised about the size of the conference. The plenum almost filled the AudiMax of the WU Wien (University of Economics). Organisation was smooth, maybe I was missing a bit more "session management", so that the speakers were introduced a bit at the start and the question time is moderated. Here the speakers had to handle their talk themselves. But all this seemed to have worked out well enough, so maybe it was not necessary.

It was my first exposure to Larry Wall when he held his keynote. First, he was impressively unimpressive as a speaker. But a bit into his talk I realized (again) how deep his understanding of programming languages and languages in general were. But I also wondered whether the "Perl6 will be multi-paradigmatic" approach will be the right thing in the current culture of corporate programming faschism (see how I carefully avoid the word Jaaaaavaaaaa).

Perl6 offers incredible flexiblity and room for higher programming techniques. If you know what you are doing, you can achieve a lot with less. But this is actually not what the majority of industry programmers need at the moment.

The other keynote was held by Damian Conway. Even if you had no idea about Perl you should not miss the opportunity to see him in action. He is quite entertaining, knows his timing and always presents interesting ideas some of which seem completely absurd at first. Such as quantum theory-like value superposition (now junctions in Perl6), or his module to compute in zero time, which parallels the special relativity theory.

This time he presented a module to do computation in negative time (combining superposition and special relativity), or to be more precise using variables which develop their values against the time axis. The audience - including me - was quite puzzled at first, but when we saw examples and then his implementation this all made eerie sense to us. I wonder when this module will be published.

Anyway, here some quotes I picked up on the way:

Perlmongers groups are drinking clubs with the programming problem.
To define what a 'Scripting Language' is, is like defining obscenity: you know it, when you see it.
Using LISP was my personal McCarthy era.
PHP takes the worse is better to new heights.
Haskell is really easy to learn. I learnt it several times now.

Sorry that Audrey Tang could not make it to Vienna. This is a person I so deeply admire in her creativity.

Posted In