OSDC 2005: Day 1

Tuesday, December 6th, 2005 at 12:06 am

Today (now it is technically yesterday) was the start of the Open Source Developers’ Conference 2005. The conference was off to a good start as the bag included a book: Firefox Secrets

The talks that I went to today were much like last year, of a very high calibre, with the highlights being:

  • Making Things Move: Finding Inappropriate Uses For Scripting Languages (Oxer, Jonathan)
    Although I had seen this talk before it was still excellent and a great opening talk for the conference as there were no heavy concepts. Unfortunately it reminded me of the projects in my list that I really need to get working on…
  • Parsing, Analysing and Manipulating Perl (without perl) (Kennedy, Adam)
    We didn’t even make it to lunch before the first head hurting talk came along. Using the perl modules Acme::Bleach, Acme::Buffy, Acme::Morse and others Adam we to the extreme to show us how the oft quoted statement “Only perl can parse Perl” is incorrect, it should really be “Only perl can run Perl”. With that out of the way he explained to us that by thinking about documents of Perl instead of Perl code it was possible for PPI to even exist. Now that we can ‘parse’ Perl it is possible to build into other programs (such as an editor) the ability to correctly syntax highlight, correctly tidy it up, and even calculate a wide range of metrics. That is why my head hurts…
  • It’s Good to be Greedy: Keeping a Straight Face around Regular Expressions (Balbo, Ben)
    Ben’s talk on regular expressions pretty much convered ground that I already understood. With one exception: look-ahead and look-behind assertions. Since I have never needed to use them (maybe that is because I didn’t understand them before) I never got around to understanding these assertions. But there was something about the way Ben explained it that made them so clear…
  • Zaltana (Penrose, Mr Scott)
    Zaltana is Scott’s name for an environment where different web applications in different languages can coexist under the same authentication and with the same look and feel. The key to it is the greater control over the request lifecycle that is provided by mod__perl 2.0. A filter takes the authentication details from apache and passes them to the application and another filter takes the xml output of the application and transforms it into XHTML/CSS with the appropriate look and feel. I recall having some vague thoughts of this nature back in June when Stas Bekman gave a presentation about modperl 2.0 at perl mongers. But Scott has actually done something…
  • Conference Presentation Humour (Baxter, Anthony)
    During the dinner Anthony Baxter gave a presentation about presentations which convered pretty much the same ground as the similar presentations by Paul and Damian. Apparently a joint presentation was in the works between Anthony and Damian however as Damian was unable to attend the conference that did not pan out…

I ended up talking with Anthony after the dinner where he revealed that the format of his presentations was inspired by Lawrence Lessig’s Free Culture keynote at OSCON 2002.

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