Wiki - 2016 Day 1 Summary

Wiki - 2016 Day 1 Summary

The first day of the 2016 DancerCon comes to a close.

Just like last year, the conference room at Schani hotel in Vienna, provided the perfect location for this years conference. On arrival the attendees were treated with a swag bag from Booking.com, a nice T-shirt with all the sponsors, a mug and more goodies. Stefan kicked off the conference again with a lightning-fast welcome and informing the audience about the next two days. A special word of thanks was given to the sponsors who have once again made this Dancer conference possible. On top of that the social event tonight at Deewans is sponsored, so not only food, but also drinks are covered this year!

First up today was Sawyer X giving a hands-on presentation about the Dancer2::Core, showing the attendees code and examples that one usually considers a black-box. Further he spoke about the various core modules that have made Dancer2 to be the great code-base that it has become today. Sawyer X kept the audience's attention showing the internals of Dancer2, bringing Dancer2 closer to the developers. During the presentation he answered various questions from the attendees.

Next Stefan took the stage once more, this time talking about the Perl Dancer Conference software as an alternative for the ACT system that is currently often being used for Perl conference websites. He started with a short introduction of the ACT system and how he got to be using it and found out that the current version is not anymore up to par with the latest technical developments. With the growing knowledge of Dancer2 the crazy decision was made to start a Dancer2 based Conference application: https://github.com/interchange/Perl-Dancer-Conference. Stefan then went over the nice features that the new conference app offers. Special attention was given to the admin part of the conference tool which makes it incredibly easy to maintain your conference website. Closing he put out a call for developers to help with development of the new conference tool and answered questions asked about the future of the new application.

After a refreshing coffee break and some good chats with various developers from around the world, the conference continued with Andrew Beverly. Talking about translations and internationalization. Last year he gave a talk about Dancer2::Plugin::LogReport but did not go much into detail about translations. First he provided a short recap on LogReport followed by a confession that, when he was asked to translate a website from UK English in American English, he understood the life of a non-English native developer to get translations done. He showed the audience how to easily add code to an application to make it ready for multiple languages. Further Andrew explained the use of PO files need for the translations. Showing various code examples he finally went into some more advanced uses such as how to pass variables in translations and the use of plurals. After answering a couple of questions, the attendees were left with a good impression on how to use translations with Plugin::LogReport.

The last speaker before the lunchbreak was Theo van Hoesel, who managed to come to the conference on very short notice, his first time at a Dancer conference. As an interesting plot twist it turned out that Theo is the captain of a project called ACT-Voyager. He was upset with the progress on ACT and felt that it needed improvements one of which is the ACT::Voyager REST API. Although he was told it was going to be a nightmare he still went ahead with it. A main issue with the REST APIs was the lacking support for proper caching. Theo showed the various existing caching modules and pointed out each of their flaws where they did not comply with the RFC7234. His hard work finally resulted in a HTTP::Bundle module which pulls together a number of other improved Caching modules, bringing compliance to RFC7234 to near completion for Perl. But that was not yet helping Dancer2 so also the Dancer2::Plugin::HTTP::Bundle collection was created, bring caching closer for Dancer2 developers. After a quick 'no further questions?' the question round was passed over to let the audience go to feed their inner (Dancer2)::Core(s).

After a satisfying lunch, Job van Achterberg kicked off the second set of the first day of the Dancer conference with his presentation about having (Dancer2) web application be accessible for as many people as possible. Talking about inclusive/universal design using a practical example of a staircase and a ramp, making it possible for people with disabilities to reach their destination just like everybody else. He then converted this example to the web, based on the 4 principles of accessibility (perceivable, operable, understandable, robust). The projector contrast turned out to be a big assistance in showing the attendees the issues with accessibility. Step by step Job showed how a simple todo list app could be improved for visually impaired users. After various examples Job concluded with lists with further information (tools, websites, assistive technologies) to help with making web applications more accessible. In the extra time a check was done on the metacpan.org website which displayed a few minor improvements that could be made, and one larger one for the mobile visitors (as the site cannot be scaled on mobile devices).

Next, all the way from Australia, Jason Lewis talked the attendees through his experience creating reports using Dancer2 and DataTables javascript library. He used to work with Crystal reports, but they had a couple of cons which made him look to new ways of creating his reports. At some point he ended up with Dancer2 and was attracted by the active community, so he decided to give it a try. Starting off with basic Template::Toolkit, adding DataTables and then JSON the audience could see how his reports grew from a static long list to a useful dynamic reporting solution, including various ways to export the reports, on of the things that Crystal reports was lacking. He closed his presentation with a short list of unsolved challenges and received a couple of suggestions which hopefully will help him improve his reports.

The final presentation of today was for Stefan Seifert. He started off with a funny newsflash, with notable news from 2008, including the release of Python 3 to replace Python 2. As it has turned out, many have stayed on Python 2, even after almost 8 years of Python 3 existing. At the same time Perl 6 has had its share of implementation woes and sceptics assumed no Perl 6 would ever be released. But they have been proven wrong as Perl 6 is available and here to stay. Stefan went into further detail about how the existence of Perl 6 has divided the Perl world into different camps and he made a strong case for bridging the gap between the 2 versions. This could be done by using either Inline::Perl5 for Perl 6 applications and Inline::Perl6 for Perl 5 applications, so one can benefit from both languages. He showed various working examples, also the Dancer2 blog application, which worked perfectly using Perl 6 and Inline::Perl5 (after some minor tweaks). A very interesting approach and helpful to bring the two camps closer together. And in the end, according to Stefan 'we are One'!

The official part of the first conference day concluded with a panel discussion. Last year the discussion mainly focussed on Dancer2 code-related topics. This year the dicussions were mainly aimed at the Dancer2 and Perl communities. The various Perl Monger groups seem to be struggling to find attendees and speakers and over the past years have been losing their continuity. Attendees shared their experiences with PM meetups in places such as London, Vienna, Amsterdam, Israel and Sydney. Theories were discussed about why people don't show up as much and ideas presented on how to improve this. There does seem to be willingness from many attendees to be attending PM meetups, but it does appear to lack organisational interest.

Once again, after the interesting first conference day, a large group of conference attendees met up at Deewan to enjoy some good Pakistani food, complemented with big, cool free beverages, made possible by the sponsors!