YAPC::NA 2017 Recap

A couple of weeks ago I went to YAPC::NA 2017. I already wrote about my own talk, but I still want to highlight a few other talks that I think people should see.

Before I get into this, there are a lot of talks that I didn’t see or may not be mentioning for reasons that you don’t care about. You can see the full list of recorded talks on youtube; it looks to me like they are still uploading stuff so you may want to check back if something on the schedule is missing.

Bumpy Skies

Bumpy Skies is the only talk in this list I didn’t see at the conference. A friend recommended it heartily and I can only agree. It was funny, interesting, and heartfelt. No huge technical take-away but inspiring, a great story, and a great delivery.

Last Mile Software Development

Last Mile Software Development has the thesis that great software engineering can be done in industries that are not known for great software engineering, and the users will really appreciate it. This is the kind of stuff I used to pine for before I became a jaded back end engineer hoping to never touch front-ends again. Very inspiring.

Hold My Beer and Watch This!

Hold My Beer and Watch This! is the latest in Stevan’s series of talks about his low-level successor to Moose. I hope it is the final one, but who knows. Stevan is always a great speaker so that this was interesting and fun is not surprising. What I really enjoyed about it was the aesthetic of the new version the object system (called Moxie.) It uses no new syntax and no features that do not already exist in perl, and instead chooses to use existing features to express new meaning.

I could write a whole blog post about this, but the point is this: engineers often build features that are haphazardly integrated into the whatever it is they are modifying. Instead they should look around and try to integrate in a way that is natural, taking advantage of the superstructure. It’s like a hotkey in vim using a function key; sure you can do it, it’s just lazily integrated and has no built-in meaning.


Rapi::Blog continues building on the foundation that Henry started with RapidApp about four years ago. In the tradition of Henry’s talks this was 100% live demo with (almost) no problems. I am always impressed at the amount of effort and quality that go into this suite of software. If you are looking for a blog platform with lots of features, consider Rapi::Blog.

The \X-Files

The \X-Files is a talk by Nova Patch, which means it is about Unicode. I am not sure if it was more rambly than normal or if I was just distracted. I can say though, this talk had the number one single most useful technical detail I saw in the entire conference. If you care about “characters,” whatever that means, instead of bytes, you can use \X in a regular expression in the brand new Perl 5.26.0 to extract them. I may do a brief followup post just about \X with some examples, as I had trouble getting it to work myself due to lots of confusion on my part.

Lightning Talks

If you are unfamiliar with the concept of a lightning talk, they typically are very short, entertaining talks that due to their length are also very focused. Sometimes the lightning talks are even the highlights of the conference. I know that Mike Conrad’s talk about supervisors many years ago changed my life. And then there was the one where the neuroscientist told us to chant “Perl is alive!” They are great. There are more great ones this year.

These are all so short that you might as well just watch them.


Perl::XX::More was a courageous talk given by my own coworker Deidre Foster. She encouraged us as a community to involve more minorities. I am and was so proud of her as I am sure that it was nerve wracking to go on stage and tell more than 200 white dudes that they need to make room. Awesome. More of this.

Build Your Own Peace of Mind

Build Your Own Peace of Mind was an interesting talk about building a little internet-of-things garage door opener with an audacious demo. Just watch it.


Cache::Reddit is a talk that my coworker David Farrell did at the ZipRecruiter biannual tech talks. It’s really funny.

I really like YAPC. The talk’s above are worth taking a few hours to watch. If you can make it to the actual conference, the “hallway track” is really where it’s at though. I really enjoy hanging out with this community and eagerly look forward to more in the future.

I’ve mentioned in the past that I enjoy good coffee and that I even have a travel setup. As a quick refresher, if you want good coffee at a conference you can get:

They pack nicely (the grinder fits inside of the Aeropress) and the coffee is great. I made coffee for a few friends while I was travelling and they all appreciated it and said it was great. Highly recommend

Posted Fri, Jul 7, 2017