YAPC 2000: A Pictorial Review
YAPC 2000: A Pictorial Review
Yet Another Perl Conference
Reminiscing YAPC 2000
As I was chomping on a cheese steak at Philadelphia Mike's in Reston, VA last night, I began to reminisce about the last two years of the Yet Another Perl Conference, aka YAPC. I had wanted to share the experience at the DC Perlmongers group, but haven't had the chance yet, so I decided to share my thoughts with you guys and just point them here :). While I was at the conference this year, I snapped a whole bunch of pictures on my new digital camera. I've included these on the next pages, so feel free to have a look-see.
Memories of Glory
Anyway, some background. YAPC 2000 was held at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, PA, on June 21-23rd. This being only the second year that the conference has been in existence, I was a bit doubtful that the conference would have the same energy as it did last year. You know how it goes, you do something for the first time and it's really exciting. The second time around it gets old hat. So, my expectations were fairly low. I know this happens in part out of necessity; conferences are expensive to run, hence there have to be clear business reasons to do these things. This usually means sponsors come in and ruin the party.
Well, it just didn't turn out that way. While it didn't have the same allure as it did last time (the first time experience), it exceeded my expectations. There were around 350 people there by last report, up from 300 last year. Like last year, the conference was maxed out. What's cool is that many Perl luminaries were in attendance like Randal Schwartz, Nathan Torkington, Marc-Jason Dominus, Larry Wall, Damian Conway, Jon Orwant (editor of the Perl Journal), and Dick Hardt of ActiveState. I had a good time chatting with these folks over beer about Perl, politics, and Microsoft. Another thing that I brought back this year is that most of the core Perl people, including Larry Wall, are very down to earth, real people that care about Perl and the community. And they're not assholes. This contrasts many other conferences where the "industry players" think more highly of themselves than they ought and corporate foofoo reigns.
The tutorials were top-notch (seeing how most of the top Perl guys were presenting). The CMU facilities are better than most hotels. Kevin Lenzo, the YAPC organizer and CMU resident, did a fantastic job (again) organizing the event. VALinux provided a computer lab for checking email, while blackboard.com sponsored a dinner. The event seemed to be well sponsored this year. The neat thing is that YAPC is a technical conference free from most of the sponsor marketing and constant bombardment that you would normally see at a conference. It was basically a bunch of people getting together to talk about hacking Perl, except these people really know what they're talking about. I think this was one of the key things that allowed for the synergy and environmental feeling of community to exist.
I just wanted to take another moment to thank the CMU folks that have put this thing together over the past 2 years. Especially Kevin Lenzo. He is insanely cool and I'm still amazed at what that guy can do. Keep in mind that the whole conference is volunteer run. When I arrived the night before the conference, I helped some other volunteers stuff the YAPC bags with the proceedings and goodies. The tech guys that were setting up the piecemeal presentation boxes worked miracles. I was truly amazed at what a bunch of Perl hacks were able to pull off. I know that some people like Dave Winer have criticized the Open Source community for having arterial motives, but that just hasn't been the case at YAPC or with Perl. I hope we can maintain the same aura at future YAPC conferences.
I was able to make a number of interesting contacts with developers and companies that are working on some cool Perl projects. It was very interesting talking to Dick Hardt about how they're using SOAP and XML in their product line. They've since announced that they're working with Microsoft to add support for Microsoft's .NET initiative and for Visual Studio. This should create some very interesting integration possibilities. I also met up with a fellow from Ovendigital; they're doing some wicked cool Flash development. One of their architects gave a presentation on their WAP research, which was very cool.
XML for the Masses
My presentation, XML for the Masses, was received very well even though I only had 30 minutes to present after it took me 15 minutes to get the projector working; oh well. I've posted the slides at http://www.perlxml.com/yapc2000/.
I finally got to relax on Friday night; a group of people from the conference played paintball at an old factory. It was great fun. It was my first time playing. We'll definitely have to have a Perlmongers paintball outing (anyone interested?).
Now on to the pictures! The next few pages contain the pictures I snapped at the conference. Enjoy.