April, 2007 Archives

April 26, 2007

April 26, 2007 - White Camel nominations for 2007 now open

It's a new year and time for the White Camel process to begin. The White Camel awards are given each year at the O'Reilly Open Source Convention by The Perl Foundation for community-oriented, rather than technical, contributions to Perl. The list of previous winners goes back to 1999.

The nomination process is open to the public, and we welcome your involvement. If there's someone who's served to make Perl better, but not through technical achievements, please let us know at whitecamel- suggestions@perl.org. Nominations must be received by midnight on May 31st, 2007.

April 17, 2007

April 17, 2007 - Running Perl on your Apple TV

Hackszine.com has an article about how to run Perl programs on your Apple TV, so that you can have little menu options to look up the weather and whatnot.


April 11, 2007

April 11, 2007 - Hackathon Toronto is April 28, 2007

James Keenan writes:

Toronto Perl Mongers are pleased to announce Hackathon Toronto, a one- day, almost-spur-of-the-moment hackathon, to be held Saturday, April 28, 2007.

A hackathon is a gathering of free and open source software developers reflecting the joy of collective hacking. Building on the tradition of previous Perl hackathons in Toronto, Chicago and elsewhere, Hackathon Toronto will encourage people to come together for face-to-face work on Perl 5, Perl 6, CPAN modules, Parrot, Pugs and ... you name it!

A hackathon wiki has been established at http://rakudo.org/hackathon- toronto. Go there to learn details as to participation, location, transportation, projects, logistics, etc. As we get closer to the hackathon date, log on to #hackathon on irc.perl.org.

If you can be in Toronto on Saturday, April 28, we hope to see you there.

April 10, 2007

April 10, 2007 - Perl Events, Great and Small

There are so many Perl events around the world now that I thought I'd take a shot at categorizing how they all relate to one another. I thought this might help people thinking about attending something for the first time, people thinking about presenting something and also people thinking about organizing an event.

For people thinking about becoming more involved in the Perl community, this presents a sort of ladder of involvement. You can start small at a Perl Mongers meeting with almost no cost to yourself in dollars or time. If you like what you see, there are several more steps you can take before you ante up and fly to someplace like Vienna or Houston for the full YAPC experience.

There are a ton of brilliant people out there using Perl and I'll bet nearly all of them have something interesting to say about how they use Perl. But presenting is a skill and it can be tough to learn because you need to stand in front of people while you are learning. That's a very public learning curve and you can't write automated tests for it. Public speaking can be really hard, that's why there are organizations like Toastmasters and Dale Carnegie.

But Perl has an organizational structure to help you too. You can start by giving a small presentation at your local Perl Mongers group to people you probably know. As you work out the kinks, work up to a Workshop, then maybe a YAPC. In a few years you could find yourself traveling to other PM groups or presenting at OSCON.

There is also heavy demand for the prominent speakers in the Perl community. This strucure helps the community because it nurtures new people as they work on their presentation skills, especially when they already have the technical knowledge. You never know who could be the next Randal, brian, MJD, or Damian, but they might come from your PM group. OK, there won't be another Damian, but you get the idea.

And we always need organizers too. You say everything has been done in the Perl community and you don't know how to help out? Besides, you're not sure your Perl-foo is good enough to send in a patch for the DBI module? Well, there is no better way to support the Perl community than to host an event that brings together people who do want to do those things.

Hosting these events is just as time-consuming and important as putting things on CPAN. And as with speaking, there is a nice way to work your way up the ladder. I'm sure hosting YAPC would be a lot less intimidating if you already had a hackathon or workshop under your belt.

Read on for the types of Perl events out there and let me know if you have any additional input. In the future, I'd also like to add some details on how and when groups like TPF and YEF get involved in these events.

Perl Mongers Meetings

Perl Mongers meetings are the foundation of Perl knowledge sharing and networking.

  • Usually free, sometimes they pass a hat for donations.
  • Usually have local speakers.
  • Sometimes bring in prominent speakers for special talks.
  • Low barrier to attending and presenting.
  • Great for demoing a talk or getting your feet wet presenting.
  • Great for networking at the local level.
  • Often monthly.
  • Fairly easy to organize.
  • Size varies from a few people to tens of people.


This newer addition to the organized event list brings people together to share physical space while working on projects. This often allows people who usually work separately to hash some things out in person.

  • Low cost, usually paying your own room and some food. Sponsors cover some cost.
  • Many locals plus some folks travel.
  • Will usually have several prominent Perl coders present.
  • Low barrier for attending and contributing.
  • Great chance to learn about active projects and get involved by talking to some folks in person.
  • More organization since it is for several days and there are venue details.
  • Size in the 20's or 30's.


A workshop is a fully organized and scheduled event, but is compact and often takes place over a weekend.

  • Some cost for attendance, typically very low.
  • Draws from the surrounding region (could be a large region) with some folks traveling from further away.
  • Have a mix of local presenters and prominent Perl trainers/presenters.
  • Usually one or two days.
  • Full schedule of talks, possibly two tracks.
  • Size varies from high 10s (80-ish) to over 100.
  • Great chance to learn about Perl and meet Perl people in a small setting.
  • Much more organization because you have speaker/talk details, venue details, and attendee details. More people means more issues to deal with. More money means higher stakes for mistakes.


Yet Another Perl Conferences are at the top of the Perl public event ladder on the grassroots side and they are the largest Perl events outside OSCON. Recent YAPCs from around the world have routinely drawn 400 attendees (YAPC::NA, EU, Asia, Brazil, etc.). Some YAPCs have morphed into Open Source Developer Conferences that have talks on other languages.

  • Attendance fee, but still very low cost for a full conference.
  • Draws from the larger region (country/continent) and world-wide.
  • Mostly experienced presenters with some new presenters.
  • For presenters, full conference-style presenting. Usually large rooms with possibility of a large audience. Often large screen display with PA system.
  • Usually 3 days, with training and hackathons sometimes added on.
  • Attendance varies from 150 to 400 or more.
  • Full schedule of talks, keynotes, lightning talks, BOFs. Sometimes as many as 4 tracks.
  • Extra features such as job fairs, special conference dinners, etc.
  • Great chance to soak in pure Perl talk for 3 days.
  • Oranization is full-blown. Takes 6 months to a year to fully organize. Many details to arrange for. Usually takes a full team like the local Perl Mongers group to support it. Large budget with many sponsors.

April 06, 2007

April 6, 2007 - Planet YAPC

With so many Perl events going on around the world, I often wish I could take a quick peek to see what's going on at each one. I watch the conference sites and wikis when I can and I watch use.perl, but not everyone posts info there.

I think what I really want is a planet yapc aggregator like planet perl that could pull in blogs tagged with pre-arranged tags. For example, everyone blogging YAPC::NA would use yapcna2007, etc. We could include workshops, hackathons, etc. It seems there would still some maintenance involved to add blog sites to watch and add new conferences as they come along.

Anyone else think this is a good idea? Any volunteers interested in setting up a prototype?

Got some RSS feeds in mind? If you send me an e-mail with a list of feed URls I can put something together.

contributed by nik on April 6, 2007 3:42 PM

YAPC Chicago had this last year:


I'll volunteer to set up Plagger for the YAPCs this year.

contributed by Elizabeth Cortell on April 6, 2007 5:25 PM

Oh hey nik, gimme a holler at zrusilla [ who may be found at ] yahoo [ dot ] com.

contributed by Elizabeth Cortell on April 6, 2007 5:28 PM

Hey, now we could use a designer who could style up a nice Perlish theme for us. Any recommendations?

contributed by Elizabeth Cortell on April 6, 2007 10:04 PM

April 05, 2007

April 5, 2007 - YAPC::Europe::2008 Call for Venue

Just announced (see below). Note that based on our schedule, the call for venue for YAPC::NA will be coming soon as well.

With preparations for YAPC::Europe::2007 well underway in Vienna, it is time for the YAPC::Europe Venue Committee to consider suitable hosts for the 2008 conference. Any dedicated group interested in hosting YAPC::Europe::2008 should send a brief statement of intent to venue@yapceurope.org. A full and complete application should then be sent to the same address prior to the deadline for applications, which is June 30, 2007.

For more information about the requirements for hosting a conference, you may want to refer to the YAPC organisers documentation (administered by TPF) or look at the examples of previous European conferences.

Please direct any questions to venue@yapceurope.org, and a member of the committee will endeavour to respond as soon as possible. The public announcement of the location for the 2008 conference will be announced during the 2007 conference in Vienna.

April 02, 2007

April 2, 2007 - YAPC::NA Registration Open with Act

In case you haven't seen it elsewhere, registration for YAPC::NA is now open. One really cool part about this is that it takes the Act!-hosted conference site to the next point of integration, which is accepting payments through the Perl Foundation's payment site.

This fulfills a large part of my call last year for a conference system. I mentioned that Act was a start, but it wasn't open-source and it didn't integrate with the TPF payment system. Both of these have been resolved and we're off and running. Many thanks to Liz Cortell and Eric Cholet for getting this up and running!

And, now that Act is open and available, that means you can help too! If you don't like something about the Act system, contact the Act developers and offer to help. You can fix anything you find broken or add features. Not sure what to do? Check out the unofficial TODO list in the svn repository. Act development has been very active, including some work at the Euro hackathon, so watch for new features.

Finally, the best part about sharing the hosted Act site is you don't have to re-enter your personal info for each Perl event. It will save user data and make your account available for all Act-hosted events you attend.


They've been very helpful and quick to respond to added feature requests and questions. Registration has been going rather smoothly for those that have already paid (as far as I'm aware). Another thanks to Liz and Eric. I'm anxious to see how ACT evolves over the course of various conferences, workshops, and hackathons.

Do I smell some upcoming post-yapc hackathon action for act? :-)

contributed by Jeremy Fluhmann on April 2, 2007 9:33 PM

April 01, 2007

April 1, 2007 - New Grant Awards

The Perl Foundation is pleased to announce two new grant awards. The first is adding new policies to Perl::Critic. The second is improving the Smolder project.

Note that the second project involves the TAP::Parser module (which was known as TAPx::Parser at the time the grant application was submitted). This was a project I started, currently maintained on the CPAN by Andy Armstrong (I'm still involved, as are others). This is slated to be the replacement for Test::Harness. Because we're seeing more grant applications involving this module, I have decided that I will abstain from all future votes for applications which specifically require adding TAP::Parser support (if it's peripheral to the project, that's OK). Approving money for people integrating a project that I started doesn't pass my personal "smell test". This does mean that it's possible we'll have worthwhile projects which come up one vote short, but in this case, Smolder was unanimously approved by everyone else.

Policies for Perl::Critic


Chris Dolan



Project Title

Policies for Perl::Critic


I propose to implement a selection of new policies for Perl::Critic

Benefits to the Perl Community

More Perl::Critic policies will help developers to make their code more consistent and maintainable by giving them more ways to comply with a set of best practices.


I will implement the twenty PBP policy ideas in the TODO.pod of Perl::Critic v1.01.

Project Details

Perl::Critic is helping Perl overcome it's reputation for hard-to- maintain code by aiding developers enforce a consistent coding style. As of v1.01, Perl::Critic has 93 pluggable policies, 71 of which come from Damian Conway's Perl Best Practices book. Our TODO list contains another twenty PBP policies thought to be implementable. I propose to complete those twenty. Each of them will be documented and tested to the level of quality expected for the Perl::Critic project.

The policy list:

http://search.cpan.org/~thaljef/Perl-Critic-1.01/ TODO.pod#OTHER_PBP_POLICIES_THAT_SEEM_FEASIBLE_TO_IMPLEMENT

Project Schedule

2 months, summer 2007


I contribute to CPAN as CLOTHO and CDOLAN. I am one of the project leaders for Perl::Critic. In 2006, I implemented 27 Perl::Critic and Perl::Critic::More policies. I spearheaded the effort to get our policy test coverage to almost 100%. I organized the Perl::Critic volunteers for the 2006 Chicago Hackathon. The Perl::Critic maintainer, Jeff Thalhammer, has read and approved this proposal.

Amount Requested

$2000 = 20 policies x 4 hours per policy x $25/hr

Improving Smolder


Michael Peters




Improving Smolder


Smolder (http://sourceforge.net/projects/smolder) is a web-based smoke test aggregator. Meaning it allows developers and QA testers to upload or monitor the test results from their projects. It works well, but has several shortcomings that if addressed would allow for wider adoption (and hence improvement) and to be more universally useable to the Perl community as a companion to CPAN and CPAN Testers. This work would address those issues.


  1. Remove custom XML format in favor of using plain TAP and TAPx::Parser.
  2. Extend Smolder to handle small CPAN style modules more easily and automatically.
  3. Setup a Smolder server for the CGI::Application community to serve as a testing ground and public display for their 110+ CPAN modules.
  4. Add per-project and per-developer RSS feeds as an alternative to email notification.


  1. Smolder currently runs tests expecting TAP as an output. However since there were no standalone TAP parsers when Smolder was originally written, "smolder_prove" (a derivative of "prove") converted that TAP after the tests were run into XML (or YAML) so that it could be sent to the Smolder server and parsed there. Now with the ever increasing stability of TAPx::Parser this is no longer an issue. This task would involve fixing Smolder to accept plain TAP and use TAPx::Parser to parse it. We'll leave the XML/YAML support as-is, but deprecate it in favor of using TAP.
  2. To make Smolder more useful to the Perl community it needs to not only handle large, complex projects (which was the reason it was built) but also handle smaller CPAN sized modules and applications. To do this Smolder can not only act as a repository of test results, but should also be able to run those tests itself in an automated fashion. Support will be added to fetch (or update) a project from an SCM (SVN initially, but will be flexible enough to add others later). If changes have been made since the last time it checked, the build/test cycle will be run and the results stored and the normal notification cycle will occur.

To make this work with the current CPAN module build/test cycle using ExtUtils::MakeMaker or Module::Build I will use, verify and extend the work already started by Andy Armstrong, Ovid and the Perl-QA community (http://beta.nntp.perl.org/group/perl.qa/2007/01/msg7759.html) to allow the "TAPx::" family of modules to be injected into that cycle so that we can extract the full report.

  1. After Deliverable #2 is finished it will be possible for developers (or communities) to setup a Smolder server to test their CPAN modules automatically as soon as any changes are made. It will also allow module users to submit better bug reports if the test suite is failing on a particular OS or Perl version. Simply run the build/test cycle (providing EU::MM or M::B with the correct arguments so that TAPx::Parser is used) and upload the results to the Smolder server. Much better than the typical copy-paste-the-terminal-into-an-email method used today, and that report can be referenced by URL in bug reports or other emails.

This Deliverable will focus on setting up such a Smolder server for the CGI::Application community for as many modules as the community and authors wish to add. I will find a donor for the hardware which shouldn't be too difficult since Smolder doesn't use many resources.

  1. Currently Smolder sends email notifications if there are test failures. Extend this by adding an RSS feed (using the newly re-furbished XML::RSS). These feeds will be customizeable per-developer as well as providing public feeds per-project.


  1. Start off with the TAPx::Parser integration. - 10 hrs
  2. Extend Smolder to checkout project code via SVN - 5 hrs
  3. Extend Smolder to run checked out code and make sure was can get full TAP reports from EU::MM and M::B - 10 hrs
  4. Add RSS feeds - 5 hrs
  5. Setup Smolder installation for CGI::Application community. - 5 hrs


I am a Perl/mod_perl developer living in the Washington, DC suburbs and working for Plus Three, LP (http://plusthree.com). Most of my work involves building communication and fundraising tools used by political and non-profit groups througout the US. One of my main responsibilities at Plus Three is to build and maintain our testing tools and infrastructure that we use on our core products.

I'm an active member of the CGI::Application, mod_perl, Krang (http://krang.sf.net) and Perl-QA communities. I maintain several modules on CPAN (http://search.cpan.org/~wonko/) and contribute to several more. I am also the primary developer of Smolder and have even spoken about it at the Pittsburgh Perl Workshop in 2006.



April 01, 2007

April 1, 2007 - Mango Grant Update

Here are the latest update from the Mango grant.

As a side note, we're working on a new process for getting grant information out even faster than we currently do (you might recall that we used to have none). If everyone signs off, this information should be much more timely.

Update 1

I finally got desperate enough to find a solution I could live with after rolling my own config file format. So, I managed to convert the admin/roles/users crud. I should have products done this evening, then I'll rework the cart/wishlists. I should have all of those working by the end of the week. Then I can concentrate on the things I've been avoiding, like the sales config and such.

Update 2

I'd like to say I'm making progress, but I'm really not. :-/ Apparently, it's the simply things that drain my soul.

I'm fighting forms and form validation, and nothing is making me happy. FormBuilder is good for making forms, but it's validation sucks.

FormValidator::Simple is great for validation messages, but defining profiles in YAML is ugly as sin and I found a great Tie:: bug in the process.

HTML::Widget makes me have seizure every time I look at it since it's all code based for form generation.

And they all suck at some level when trying to localize the form field labels and errors messages.

So, I've literally been wasting a couple week fighting over some combination of the three that I can tolerate while at the same time having minimal code in Catalyst.

If it weren't for all of that, I'd probably have all of the admin pages/CRUD done already.

April, 2007 Archive

This page contains all entries posted to The Perl Foundation in April, 2007. They are listed in order from newest to oldest.

Many more entries can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.

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