Piers Cawley (BBC)
After reviewing today’s session schedule, I quickly came to the conclusion that I will spend my entire day sitting in the room “Portland 256.” This is, apparently, where the Perl track is located.
Paul Fenwick introduced Piers in song, to the tune of Gilligan’s Island.
Piers switched from Perl to Ruby a while back and swore that he wouldn’t return to Perl until 6. Facetiously, the reason he switched to Ruby was the handsome community associated with it and he reason he switched back to Perl was the amazingly supportive community associted with it. He began with a point about programming style. We think of code as describing what we are doing, but in reality the majority of our code actually describes how we are doing it. This infrastructure code is noise.
More seriously, he absolutely hated unrolling the @_ variable in every function. In such a high level language like Perl, why must we pop arguments off the stack in the same manner we would in an assembly language? This leads to long subroutines, every single one containing anti-patterns designed to implement the language infrastructure, instead of the language doing the work for us.
Moose does a lot to improve writing classes, using a more declarative syntax. However, even within Moose methods we need to write the infrastructure code. The MooseX::Declare module solves this problem, giving method syntax a more declarative style. By moving the infrastructure code out of sight, we can better focus on what we are trying to do, rather than how we are doing it.
Piers proceeded to list the modules that “rock” and brought him back to Perl:
Perl’s object-orientation absolutely “sucks.” However, this turns out to be a good thing. It allows very clever people to create modules that extend the semantics of the language. In a language like Ruby, which has a good object-orientation built-in, it’s essentially stuck. If, in the future better ideas of object-orientation are developed, they can be implemented in Perl far more easily than in Ruby. An interesting point: sometimes when the tool sucks, things are better. People develop layers of tools that enhance and extend the original.
It also helps that the Perl release schedule has accelerated.
Piers continued with a high-level, hand-waving explanation of how MooseX::Declare works. While not informative, it was entertaining. Including a video of Matt Trout attempting to hypnotize the room.
Piers ended by thanking the Perl community and expressing how good it feels to be back into it and developing in Perl again.