Wednesday, July 26, 2006

OSCON: Day One part 6

The lightning talks were split up by a break, after which we watched a short dramatization of the Perl module selection and install process. You had to be there, AND be a huge Perl geek, but they got lots of laughs. It was pretty funny if you got the joke.

Next was Tim Bunce, who talked briefly about database interfaces for open-source languages. I should note that Tim is the primary architect behind DBI, which is the database library that Shopzilla (and almost everyone else) use for Perl database development. He told us about the migration from DBI to Perl6. I'm impressed at how much thought is going into this subject, that is, the move from Perl5 to Perl6. It's an important question, and I'm glad it's not being ignored. Not that it could be ignored, I suppose.

Next was a great talk about higher-order Perl. This was good stuff. It was almost like an old-school religious revival, with lots of hooting and cheering. It was pretty short though. I really need to pick up the book as well.

After that a first-time presenter got up and told us about a technique he uses for logging. It was pretty basic stuff, not the sort of exciting deep magic we Perl geeks love most. I'm just glad to see developers, even less high-level ones, sharing techniques with one another.

Folllowing that was a presentation about a templating system called Tiny Templater. The glut of available templating systems for Perl was something of a running joke during the lightning talks.

Patrick Michaud spoke a bit about Parrot, and why it's important to implement other languages on top of Parrot. The example he gave was his implementation of the APL programming language on Parrot. He had mentioned this during his earlier talk about PGC. He implemented the APL parser by porting the BNF grammar notation to PGC grammar. This is an important proof-of-concept for Parrot, and I enjoyed the presentation, if only for the realization of how terrifying APL is (you need a special keyboard!).

George Wood of Freescale (a chip manufacturer) talked to us a bit more about the state of Parrot and the languages that are currently available. He had lots of diagrams, but they were a bit dense.

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