Eligo interviews Wendy from The Perl Conference in Amsterdam (TPCiA 2017)


Technology, Perl, tech events...

Eligo was proud to attend and sponsor The Perl Conference in Amsterdam, formerly known as YAPC::EU last week. The Perl conferences started as user meetings and discussions among Perl enthusiasts and has now grown to a yearly meeting of Perl Mongers within and across Europe.

Following last weeks event, we spoke to co-organiser of The Perl Conference in Amsterdam Wendy van Dijk to get a first-hand insight and reflection from the event, we discussed her favourite moments at the Perl conference, favourite talks and what’s next in the calendar for the Perl community and events.


How was the TPCiA? How did it feel to have it in Amsterdam this year?

The TPCiA was a success of sorts, as in that we managed to make most things work. Some things didn’t work (and fortunately, most people did not notice it), for instance, we often failed to make sure speakers were notified when we moved their talk to another time slot, and we also failed to ask speakers for their permission to publish the video of their talk, but it was great that we had plenty of speakers, keynote speakers, rooms, food, drinks, sponsors, things to do, and we even had a barista and hoodies.

It’s the second time I have co-organised a Perl Conference in Amsterdam.  The previous one was in 2001 and it’s the first time for the European Perl Conference to return to the same city.  It is an immense amount of work and it all succeeds or fails with having enough volunteers, and I am very proud of our team.



What was your favourite moment of TPCiA?

Erm…  the moment it ended?  Or the moment our small truck with Perl-stuff was unloaded and returned to the rental and I had a full night’s sleep?  But that answer would indicate I did not have fun at TPCiA.  Well, I did have fun, and quite a lot.

  • The moment of registration on Wednesday morning and our volunteers at the registration desk worked like a smooth machine.
  • The moment the first line was waiting for a coffee or tea at the barista we hired.
  • The moment I finished my 20-minute talk and got questions, help offerings, and applause.
  • The moments when people made pictures of my Perl-booth, the library of Perl-books, with prominent Perl-people (like Larry Wall, Damian Conway, brian d foy, Curtis Poe).
  • The moment I realised that Sawyer X and his team of volunteers (mostly from Booking.com) was managing all the video work.
  • The moment I realised that our Program Committee had done a good job rescheduling all the talks so that most people would not miss one of their favourite talks (the ACT system gave us some insight in overlaps).
  • Many moments when I met old friends and got a chance to hug them and have a chat.



What was your favourite talk from TPCiA?

Ruth Holloway: A Case for Empathy.

Closely followed by Errietta Kostala’s lightning talk, and was she nervous to give her first ever public talk.

I look forward to seeing the talks of many other people on video, because I only saw two talks and a couple of lightning talks, and some small bits of others.

(You can catch up with the videos over on The Perl Conference Facebook page here)



How did you first get involved with the Perl community?

In 1994, my wife (Elizabeth Mattijsen) and I were the first company in The Netherlands to build, host and maintain websites (nowadays that seems to be called a DevOps company) and we used Perl for everything, and we were successful to the point of having 45 employees.  Before there was even something like Perl Mongers we attended open source meetings and meetings of Perl users and hosted many meetings in our company’s offices.  We were active on Usenet, PerlMonks, Mailinglists, and elsewhere. We evangelised Perl before anybody else did in the Netherlands and never saw any reason not to use or to support Perl.



What else are you looking forward to in terms of the Perl community and events this year?

I look forward to more Perl 6 books being published; I know Andrew Shitov is close to finishing his second book on Perl 6, Larry Wall seems to be working on Programming Perl 6, brian d foy is working hard on Learning Perl 6 and I know about some other authors whose names I promised not to disclose, who are coming up with books.  I hope this year will be the start of the breakthrough of Perl 6.

Other things I look forward to are the Swiss Perl Workshop and the London Perl Workshop, events where we always meet a lot of old and dear friends.



What advice would you give to new developers that are new to the Perl community and Perl events?

Participate, learn, support, read, write, blog, speak, listen, develop, solve bugs, improve documentation.  Be nice to each other, and to people of other programming languages.  If you want to get involved in improving Perl, there is a lot of low hanging fruit: documentation, testing, marketing.  Online, people ask a lot of questions, and they need to be answered.  Sometimes somebody writes something negative about Perl, and that should be addressed (especially when the things written are correct!).  A lot of modules can use some attention, some need modernizing and others need documentation and/or testing. I would like to see learning materials to be written for schools and universities.

At the least, join in with Perl Monger meetings in your neighbourhood, visit a Perl Workshop, and be available online to answer questions.

Ooh, and donations to the YAPC Europe Foundation, the Enlightened Perl Organisation, The Perl Foundation, are always welcome, useful, and well spent.


The Eligo tech team love getting involved with the Perl community, investing time to attend these events to better understand the market and the people within it.  You can often catch us at Perl events with our bright pink Eligo stand! Additionally, as our stand says, we do Perl jobs – find more on that here.

Jacob and Rick on stand at TPCiA 2017

Twitter: @perlrick /@eligchlo or  email : rick@eligo.co.uktechnology@eligo.co.uk

You can catch up with talks and more from  The Perl Conference in Amsterdam by following the feeds on Twitter and Facebook and by using the hashtag #TPCiA