[yapc] What I took from YAPC::NA 2007

Karen karen.cravens at gmail.com
Mon Jul 2 10:36:38 PDT 2007

On 7/1/07, Carl D Cravens <raven at phoenyx.net> wrote:
> YAPC confirmed my greatest fear... I don't know enough Perl.

I know a whole lotta Perl. And I learned that I still don't know enough Perl.

Carl introduced me to Perl, amusingly enough. I've been a BASIC
programmer since way back, and IIRC was still doing it professionally
at the time. And I was griping about the fact that all the good stuff
(using databases and such) were pay-for, and Carl said "If you wrote
in Perl you could use CPAN stuff."

At the time, I think the Phoenyx was running UUCP on a DOS (or maybe
Win3.1) box, under Visual Basic (or its predecessor that ran under
DOS... it's all fuzzy). And I didn't much care for Pascal and its
descendants (which is still how I regard C, and never mind that I just
came off a two-year-long "temporary" Delphi contract job), so I was
all "Bah, programming languages with semicolons."

(I've always been a UI curmudgeon, and the university's Pascal
compiler and its "Semicolon expected" errors... if you knew enough to
expect a semicolon, assume one!... pretty much put me off anything
with semicolons.)

And eventually I gave in, and the rest is history.

> So this is what I took from YAPC...  a real desire to learn Perl at a
> deeper level.  I sat in talks going, "I didn't know that!" about fairly
> simple but non-obvious stuff.  Many of the talks went over my head
> really quickly, though that was as much from presentation speed as not
> understanding the concepts.

m3 t00.

Some of that may have had to do with getting distracted by the irc
chatter, though.

> Right before I left for YAPC, I'd decided to take O'Reilly's Safari
> service for a trial spin... I figured for $20, it was worth a look.  And
> since I could read any books I wanted, I decided to start at the
> beginning...  to work my way through the modern Llama book.

But did he mention this to me?  No, no he didn't.

> Sure, some of it's tedious, because I "know" all this basic stuff.  But
> I'm quickly finding that there are all kinds of little things I didn't
> know.  I didn't know that foreach iteration variables are automatically
> scoped to the foreach block.  I didn't know (hold on to your hats) that
> an array in scalar context returns the number of elements in the
> array... I've been using $#foo+1 all these years.

Could be worse. I always forget how to do the $#foo thing.  #$foo?
No, wait, that's not it. #@foo?  Uh... heck with it, scalar @foo -1.

> What did my employer get out of YAPC?  Well, I'm dedicated to becoming a
> better Perl programmer, which is a plus for them.  And I did learn about
> a lot of neat modules.  And I started to make connections in the
> community... there was an attendee from my own city, who wants to start
> a PM here, and I didn't even know he was attending.

Did we ever meet him outside of IRC?

> I'm looking forward to YAPC::NA 2008.

As long as it's within driving distance.

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