Last Thursday I was in London to attend an "Advanced Perl Techniques" workshop organised by the UKUUG. The tutor was Dave Cross, who has written a couple of Perl books. He has a good style of delivery, he was generally very knowledgeable, the presentation was well structured and amazingly it all ran to time (that takes real talent). Given the title and the list of topics I had high hopes of learning some really cool new things to do with Perl. Here’s the list of subjects which were covered:
- What’s new in Perl 5.10
- Dates and times
- Testing (including coverage analysis)
- Database access with DBIx::Class
- Object oriented programming with Moose
- Web application development with Catalyst
Specifically, I wanted to learn more about DBIx::Class and Catalyst and find out whether I am using Moose in the right/expected way. I guess, looking at that list again now, I should have realised that it is a lot to get through in one day and necessarily it was only going to be a shallow coverage of each topic. Other than the Catalyst stuff at the end I thought it was all pretty good (if lacking in the really deep detail I wanted) and I did get some useful bits and pieces from the day. I felt the Catalyst section was done very lazily though, it had the feeling of being added as an after-thought and I wondered if it was actually just copied from the standard Catalyst documentation.
I was interested to learn that "DateTime" is considered the "best" module to be using for all time and date manipulation. It certainly has capabilities way beyond that which I was previously aware. I also found the profiling section interesting, I will definitely be looking at "Devel::NYTProf" in more detail sometime soon. The "What’s new in Perl 5.10" section was also particularly good and has encouraged me to start looking at the new features in more detail and, at least, start using them in any scripts I write for personal use. It’s a shame we won’t see 5.10 in RHEL5 but that’s the price we pay for system stability. By the time we get RHEL6 it will at least have had any bugs found and fixed by users of Fedora, Debian and Ubuntu.
All in all, it was worth going to the workshop. At some point in the future I’d love to see a "Really Advanced Perl" workshop which really goes beyond the beginners guide for DBIx::Class, Moose and Catalyst and demonstrates some of the more complex possibilities.