• OSCON 2008 Call For Participation is now open

    Peter Scott sent in this call for participation for OSCON 2008.

    O'Reilly Media has announced their Open Source Conference Call for Participation. OSCON, which started as The Perl Conference in 1997, hosts the 12th annual Perl Conference this year. The OSCON Perl track review committee invites presenters to submit proposals for talks about the great things they've been doing with Perl. Make their job hard!

    This will be the breakout year for Perl 6 (maybe this is the Christmas???), and we will feature it at OSCON. We don't assume that we already know everyone who's got a Perl 6 talk for us; if you've got something interesting to tell people about Perl 6, submit a proposal.

    We are equally interested in Perl 5 presentations. This has been an exciting year for Perl 5: the Perl 5 Porters released Perl 5.10; perlbuzz readers recently heard all about Strawberry Perl; and Moose, a new object system for Perl 5, is gaining in popularity. We continue to hear stories about how Perl has saved jobs and money, and made work fun. Let's see your presentations on enterprise-scale Perl applications and infrastructure, and the coolest modules, hacks, and techniques for using Perl for Stuff That Matters.

    There's something special about the Perl community, and you can see it at OSCON thanks in no small part to the excellent presenters who turn out for it each year... so join them in 2008! See http://en.oreilly.com/oscon2008/public/cfp/13 for essential advice on submitting your proposal. The deadline is February 4, so start working on those proposals now!

    Peter Scott wrote Perl Medic and Perl Debugged and is a Perl trainer. He's presented at the Perl Whirl, YAPC, and OSCON, for which this year he is on the Perl track review committee.

  • How to: Create database columns that contain only digits

    I see this missed so many times I have to bring it up here: "If you have a database column that contains only digits, but will not perform calculations on it, make it a character column."

    You CAN store a 10-digit phone number as an integer, but why would you want to? You CAN store a Social Security Number as a 9-digit number, but why would you want to? Surely you're not so concerned of a few bytes savings. Storing an SSN of "0123456789" as a number means you use the leading zero, too, so you lose fidelity of data. Any string of digits follows this rule. You don't perform calculations on part numbers, course numbers, Dewey Decimal numbers, or house numbers, either, so make 'em all character fields.

    Same goes for years stored as date datatypes. If you're recording the year that a movie was released, then there's no advantage to having it as a date. Store it as an integer to make it simple to take differences ("How long after Citizen Kane did ET come out?") or comparisons.

    Most of all, keep things consistent. If you've got a 10-character column in one table, and an integer in another, then SQL joins will be very expensive, even if both columns are indexed.

  • Help the Perl Foundation choose a CRM system

    Jim Brandt, Conferences chair for The Perl Foundation, is looking for a customer relationship management package.

    I'd really like to deploy a customer relationship management (CRM) package to allow us to better track our relationships with our donors, big and small. I was a bit surprised to turn up next to nothing when I typed "perl CRM" into Google.

    Can you help? Read more of the story and reply at the TPF news blog.

  • Which language to inflict on clients?

    Originally uploaded by reedwade

    Brenda Wallace posted a colleague's picture of a whiteboard from their office today. Her post says "dunno which technology to inflict on my clients next, so we had a brainstorm. looks like TCL won."

    The whiteboard reads:

    Lisp is bitter
    PHP is DancingBear
    Python is beige
    Erlang is imaginary
    Ruby is a fad
    Java is angry
    Tcl is cute
    Perl is ready for retirement

    Certainly I don't think Perl is ready for retirement, but it's interesting to see what people think about Perl, and about all its brethren.

  • Strawberry Perl is all-inclusive

    Yesterday's article about Strawberry Perl referred to a blog post with incorrect installation instructions. All the downloading and installing discussed is just not necessary, even for CPAN installations. According to Adam Kennedy:

    The install and setup process for Strawberry Perl is to uninstall any existing Perl, run the installer, and then run "cpan" or run it from the Start menu. There is no additional installation required.