So the conference is over and here are some after-thoughts of mine.

Unfortunately we didn't manage to set up a booth. First, it would cost us
money (venue requirement) to display things or even organize some desks with
chairs, second — most of the perl activists we already involved either as
speakers or as orgs. The schedule was rather tight but I think the booth
would still be effective. Ok, next time.

We had a nice track with several advocacy and several technical talks.
Although Piers Cawley cancelled his talk several days before the conference,
Carl Masak did a cool tardis/sigmung talk in the big hall (all the other
talks were in smaller hall dedicated to Perl track). Many people chose to
not use synchro-translation service that was available and this is a good
sign for us.

I was unpleasantly surprised by outright hostility towards Perl from Ruby
guys both in their talks and informally. I think that they are both wrong
and right. First, modern Perl got closer to Ruby, second — we still hear
offensive jokes and remarks about Ruby during YAPC conferences so we
probably deserve some retaliation.

The Python track attracted the most people of all to my surprise. This is
probably a consequence of official support for Python by Yandex (the russian
Google). Still, reading twitter I got an impression that their talks were
boring and too technical. The PHP track was also crowded and there were many
down-to-earth talks for newbies. They were cool. ASP.NET track was almost
empty. Microsoft, the biggest sponsor, is still failing to create anything
resembling a community around their web development tools here in Russia.
Ruby track had a lot of interesting talks and they even managed to organize
their own lightning talks session (of two talks :)). The most interesting
for me was the talk about Rubinius — a (kinda) successful project to
implement Ruby compiler in Ruby. What impressed me most is the courage Ruby
people attack such tasks with. They already have around 10 different
implementations of Ruby while we still repeat the mantra that only perl can
parse Perl. Alas, I am not that fluent in Ruby to know if it is really so
much simpler as a language than Perl 5.

One thing I noted is that there a lot of "highload" projects implemented in
Perl but no in Ruby (I mean locally). This means that Perl people tend to
talk about performance, event loops, problems of serving thousands of
requests and optimizing server farms. Such talks are not very interesting to
casual application developer. They are too high in the sky. Ruby people
talked about simple things and that appealed to more developers.

The most successful Perl talk was Anatoly Sharifulin's on Mojolicious. It's
very refined, energetic and motivating. Lots of people said that they were
pleasantly surprised with features and expressed their wish to come home and
remember some Perl-fu for the sake of trying Mojolicious. This is very cool.
My own talk based on brilliant Tim Bunce's "Perl Myths" was also very
popular. Lots of non-perl people do not know what a gem CPAN is, how huge
and at the same time fresh and growing it is. We try to continue discussions
on FriendFeed, twitter, LiveJournal and blogs right now.

-- 
Alex Kapranoff.


On Thu, Apr 29, 2010 at 11:58, Gabor Szabo <szab...@gmail.com> wrote:

> hi Alex,
>
>
> I wish other people had time to express their opinion here...
>
> On Tue, Apr 27, 2010 at 5:19 PM, Alex Kapranoff <kapran...@gmail.com>
> wrote:
> > Hello!
> >
> > There will be a big IT conference here in Moscow in the end of May. It's
> > rather interesting because it's actually a "superconference" — 6
> different
> > tracks on different languages/technology stacks. The website in Russian
> is
> > here: http://devconf.ru/
> >
> > We (Andrew Shitov and myself) take part in its organizing committee and
> also
> > curate the Perl track. We also give talks ourselves.
> >
> > We prefer to think of Devconf as a conference for experienced developers
> who
> > are open and eager both to
> > share their knowledge to people outside of their community and borrow
> > from technology stacks they don't use. We are going to have talks about
> > modern PHP for Java and Perl developers, about modern Perl for
> > Pythonistas and Rubyists et cetera. Of course there will also be a lot
> > of other technical talks.
> >
> > Committee has planned 6 full-time tracks for two days and
> > around 1000 attendees, mostly from Russia but also Ukraine and
> > Belarus. The majority of talks will be in Russian but we'll have
> > several in English and a synchronous translation service will be
> > available for those attendees who are not proficient enough.
> >
> > We managed to invite Carl Masak and Piers Cawley to give talks on Perl 6
> and
> > modern Perl 5 respectively. We also tried hard to choose talks which are
> > less "yapcy" and more accessible for people outside of our cozy little
> echo
> > chamber :) Our track is going to compete for attention with PHP, Python,
> > ASP.NET and Ruby tracks which have talks from several core developers of
> > PHP, MySQL, ASP.NET and Ruby on Rails.
>
> I think this is very good and I think you are on the right track if you are
> trying to show things that can also be interesting for non-perl programmers
> or less than core perl community people.
>
>
> > What I would like is to hear advices on making our part great and
> > successful. Do you think it's important to set up a booth? To invest in
> > swag? To show off software? To advertise end-user products instead of
> > technologies? Sell things? Collect donations? Record talks ourselves and
> > share them? Pay more attention to quality of talks? Advertise
> above-average
> > Perl developers' salaries? :)
>
> I don't know how you manage it but personally I feel awkward wondering
> around
> in a conference and trying to interact with random people without a
> "base ship".
> That's where a booth is very convenient for me. Both as people walk by the
> booth
> but I can also stand at other places, hand out a flier or a community
> business card
> and try talking to people. If they are in a hurry I can still tell
> them where to booth
> is if they want to catch us. One thing though, you probably should ask
> the organizers
> if it is ok to give out fliers at places that are not immediately next
> to your booth.
>
> After giving a talk some people come to the speak and talk to her but
> the situations is
> always "queuing to talk to the hero" which is both inconvenient and
> reduces the number
> of people you can talk to. A booth can also help in this as well. The
> speaker can point out
> where the audience can find her or other members of the community
> later during the conference.
>
> A booth is also good the other way: Many people would feel awkward to catch
> the
> "serious person" who just gave a talk even if that person is such
> super friendly as Masak.
> A booth gives them an opportunity - a better excuse - to talk to them.
> Especially if you
> have one or more computers when they can show and explain things. (so
> I think showing code
> can bee good, if that's what people ask for and it sounds like your
> crowd will have some coders)
>
> If you mean by "end-user products instead of technologies" thing such
> as a Wiki or a CMS then
> I think it is very important to show those too. In the Perl world we
> seem to be focused
> too much on the library level (see tons of CPAN modules) and don't
> have enough emphasize
> on the product level. Showing the products is important.
>
> swag: people like to get cool thing and if you can make them laugh and
> remember you better
> you already won. The tuits are good for that but I am sure there are
> lots of other things that
> can be cool.
>
> "Sell things? Collect donations?" We have not done these yet but we
> are planning to.
>
> "Record talks ourselves and share them?" Would be nice. I'd really
> like to see a Perl video team
> got organized similar to the Debian video team. Gosh, the videos from
> FOSDEM were released
> with 48 hours by the Debian team and I think 2 weeks by the rest of
> the FOSDEM team. Compare
> that with the "never released" of most of the YAPCs and Perl Workshop
> videos.
>
>
> regards
>    Gabor
>

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