YAPC::europe - The Day After

Posted on July 26, 2003

It’s over. It hardly seems like it’s been 3 days, it went by really fast.

Anyway here are some concluding remarks about the whole event.

Bear in mind though that before this edition of YAPC the only other Perl-related event I’ve ever attended was Perlwhirl 2000 whose context was really quite different so my experience is limited as is my base for comparisons.

First off a word about the organization: from my point of view they were great!
They were really helpful with my group’s needs for receipts for our company, the site had all the information I ever needed and then some, they mostly kept to the schedule and gave ample warning about changes, the location was very well adapted to the event (and I know they had to fight to the very last minute with all kinds of bureaucracy with the venue) and they were very friendly and helpful. Oh and while I heard some people complaining, I always had great connectivity throughout the whole event (apart for 3 short instances when we lost our connection to the outside world). The location, apart from being really well suited to this kind of event, was really beautiful (as most things are in Paris) and I only have 2 observations to make: 1-the chairs were really uncomfortable and 2-there should have been more power plugs available.
All things considered, I rate this as an all around great job!

As for the talks, well, some were great, some were mostly boring and some were just plain entertaining.
Tutorial day (Day 1 - wednesday) was fully Dominus day for me and was probably the most rewarding day, technically speaking.
The second day was a bit odd, I skipped from track to track as there was no one track which definitely got my attention. It was the most exhausting day and there were good talks and some weaker talks.
On the last day It was mainly parrot, parrot, parrot, so a great day, technically-wise.

The point is that there were a few really excellent talks from a technical stand point, there were some good talks from the entertainment-value stand point but there were also some weak or boring talks.

So what made the good talks good and the boring talks boring?
For me the pattern was more or less evident, especially where the pure technical talks were concerned: the good ones explained one good concept and then proceeded to demonstrate with bits of code without going too deep in the code. We can all analyze code on our own after being taught about the underlying ideas or techniques and after being pointed out the most important and difficult bits in it. After this concept was assimilated the speaker then proceeded to the next concept and so on; The weaker or more boring talks were mostly about one or two topics only and after maybe 5 minutes of interesting and novel stuff then proceeded to dissect masses of code and we got lots of explanations about the internals of functions or scripts or even about API calls that anyone could dive into for themselves whenever they wanted to.

Then there was the community side of all of this.
We had some talks that were there just for the entertainment value. Clearly the “Perl6 ideas stolen from Japanese” or the “All I Need to know about Perl Programming I learned from Fairy Tales”, just to name a few, were not there for our technical benefit, and yet they were some of my favorite talks.
Why? Because they allowed people to thing of other things, to broaden their views on Perl and to laugh a little about something that we all tend to take too seriously sometimes.
As MJD said we are sometimes too closed in on ourselves as a community and it is good to look outside and expand our horizons.
Actually the whole event is based around building a strong sense of community and it still makes me proud to see how the merit system of recognition works inside the community and how people are just so nice and relaxed towards one another.

Well, that’s it really, these are my thoughts on what I think was a really great event and I sure look forward to the next one.

My company paid for all the costs associated with my going to the event (and 3 other colleagues of mine) so eventually (time and laziness permitting) I will make a small summary presentation about what I saw and learned in this event. If I do I will make it available to anyone interested.

So as the pink guys say: “Eiffel sucks, Perl rules!”.

PS - While yesterday I left Paris under light rain today I’m writing this on the beach. It’s good to be home! :-)