Impressions From My First YAPC

YAPC::EU in Pisa was my first YAPC ever and it was a truly fantastic experience. I met some great people, drank some great beer, and got to be a part of the incredible thing that the Perl community is. I am already looking forward to Riga next year.

A couple of observations:

YAPC and Newbies

I asked myself after the conference: Why did I never do this before? I have been programming Perl for 10 years now and until recently it never really occurred to me that I should be going to YAPC's – only to find out now much I have missed. One reason may be that YAPC's are not quite newbie friendly. If you are going to a YAPC by yourself for the first time, and there is nobody there you know, the experience can be a little intimidating in the beginning. Indeed, if the country you are from (see below) does not have a very active Perl community, you would never consider going to a YAPC in the first place. It may be a good idea to organize some events specifically for first-time YAPC attendees, and advertise those events in a visible manner prior to the conference itself (on the website and in blogs) so as to urge people who have never been to a Perl conference before to do so. New talent is always needed and today's confused newbies will be tomorrow's core hackers.

Perl in the Balkans

There were very few people from the Balkans. I found this rather strange, and upon arriving back home I had a look at the Perl Mongers map for my neighbouring countries. Here are the sad statistics:

  • Belgrade.pm (Serbia) seems to be dead. Last update on their website is from 2003
  • Bucharest.pm (Romania) seems to be dead. Last update on their website is from 2004
  • Zagreb.pm (Croatia) seems to be active, last update is from 2009.
  • No PM groups at all in Greece, Turkey, Macedonia, Slovenia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro and Albania.

I find it very hard to believe that there are no active Perl programmers in any of these countries. For whatever reason, the Perl community in this part of Europe seems to be stagnating. If you live in any of these countries and you are interested in starting or reviving a PM group, please email me to share experience and maybe organize visits and swap presenters for technical meetings.

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