OSCon: Day 2

by Adam Trachtenberg

Related link: http://conferences.oreillynet.com/pub/w/23/tuesday.html

I arrived too late on Monday to go to any of the OSCon tutorials, so I was eagerly looking forward to Tuesday's events. In fact, I ended up getting a little carried away and going to four different tutorials.

I started the day listening to Zak Greant talk on creating "Translucent" databases. Zak works for MySQL, AB and he gave a great talk touching on a variety of issues from encryption to security. (It doesn't matter how secure your network is if somebody steals your backup tapes.) However, despite enjoying the first half and Zak's Canadian accent, I felt the call of Mark-Jason Dominus.

So, at the break, I switched over to Dominus's tutorial on "Regular Expression Mastery." He covered some nice material on Perl and Regexes, particularly how simple modifications can drastically improve performance and how Perl optimizes a set of special cases. Additionally, he outlined the Perl 6 plan to drastically change regex syntax to make it cleaner and more understandable. I don't yet know my opinion on this. On one hand, all the new weird (?= and (?: options are confusing as hell to understand. On the other hand, changing a 30-year-old syntax isn't necessarily a great thing to do, IMHO. (As one example, character classes will no longer use []; instead, [] will be changed to act as non-capturing parenthesis and <[]> is used for character classes.)

After running out to Chinatown with Dave for a quick dim sum lunch, I made it back in time to hear Sterling Hughes give his presentation on Managing Web Services with PHP. Sterling did a nice job, especially for someone who jumped in at the last minute because the original presenter got the chicken pox! (That's the problem with having second graders give talks.) I took down as much as I could because I'm giving the PHP: SOAP vs. REST talk tomorrow afternoon, so I needed to have something to talk about. Sterling's talk had a whole bunch of theory, all of which I'm going to nicely ignore during my 45 minutes.

Finally, Sterling finished up 15 minutes early, so I snuck into the Q & A period with Monty and David at their MySQL future directions talk. Lots of good questions. Those guys are working hard at adding a whole new suite of features to MySQL -- I think they have something like 4 different versions out at the same time.

Now I'm sitting in the main auditorium listing to the State of the Union speeches. Larry Wall literally and figuratively has fireworks in his slides! I have to say, he definitely puts together a nice show.