London Calling

Posted on 7th February 2012

London Perl Workshop 2011 Survey - Results Now Online

London Perl Workshop 2011 Survey Results

I'm please to say that the survey results from the London Perl Workshop 2011 are now online. Slightly delayed due to Christmas and my new job, but worth the wait I think. This is the first time we've had a survey for the London Perl Workshop, so I was interested to see how the results differed from YAPCs. The attendees for the workshop differ from YAPCs, as although around 40% of attendees are well know within the Perl community and have attended YAPCs, most of the sttendees, like attendees for many other workshops around the world, don't have the resources or availability to attend a 3-5 day conference event. However, a one-day event, and especially a free event, makes a workshop much more accessible.

It was a shame that we only had 27% of attendees responding, but having said that while my personal aim is always to achieve more than 50% response, 27% is still a great response. As I've said previously, anything more than 10% is a good result. However, now we've done one, hopefully we can encourage more to respond this year :)

The demographic responses interestingly followed what we often see for YAPCs. I guess that may be because most of the respondees are YAPC attendees, but we still had several responses from those who have only attended London Perl Workshops, or for whom this was their first major event. The balance of Perl knowledge, although slightly weighted towards the more experience developeres, was also very pleasing to see with several beginners attending the event. Every year we have been looking to encourage newcomers to these events, as well as into the Perl community. After all, those learning Perl now are the Perl community's future. It was also great to see people being nominated or recommended to attend by colleagues and managers. The promotion of these events is obviously having the right effect.

I was intrigued to see that of all the respondees, 65 of them weren't speakers, with 30 willing to consider being a speaker in the future. Again this is something we should be encouraging, as newer speakers often have a different perspective on a subject, and can bring something new and fresh to the event. It was also encouraging that primary motivations for attending are to get together and meet other Perl developers. Events like The London Perl Workshop are a great way to introduce yourself to other developers you may have spoken to online, or are collaborating with on projects. They are a great way to promote your project, or get to know more about other projects.

In response to the question "What aspects of the conference do you feel gave value for money?", I was actually quite surprised to see comments along the lines of "Since it was free, I do not understand what "gave value for money" means." For those attendees who wondered that, how much did it cost you to attend the event? If you think your answer would be "nothing", consider the question beyond the attendance fee. How did you get there, did you walk, get the train, drive? What about your time, what would you have done that Saturday if you hadn't have gone to the event? Just because the event had no attendance fee, doesn't mean it cost you nothing to attend. Also think about what value it has given you in terms of enhancing your knowledge. Did you see talks or meet people that have inspired you, or given you a better understanding of something you were working on. There are lots of ways "value" can be interpreted beyond any monetary value.

It took a lot of people a lot of time and energy to put event like the London Perl Workshop on, not just Mark and his minions, but also the speakers and the sponsors. From their perspective it is good to know their efforts were appreciated. Thanks you to all those who did respond, and of those that didn't, hopefully we can encourage you to contribute your thoughts this year :)

File Under: london / perl / survey / workshop

How Soon Is Now?

Posted on 27th November 2011

The YAPC Conference Surveys site has now been updated with the results of the Pittsburgh Perl Workshop and the German Perl Workshop.

The site has also been update to provide a tabbed display of the different types of event, to make it a little easier to find results. Over the next month or so I am looking to get more of the past data online, as well as the feedback that I normally send to just the organisers. I have lots of data waiting in the wings, and its only been my lack of free time that has prevented me from finishing off the sanity checks.

There are also plans for the future surveys, and as previously mentioned, the German Perl Workshop has given me the push to work with other languages. There is still some work to be done, but the first non-english language survey did seem to go very well. Perhaps understandably there are translations that I missed, so my next step is monitor (particularly for the results pages) London Perl Workshop what was missing, and provide Max (if he doesn't mind of course ;)) with the additional text for translation. I will then use this as a basis for all future workshops, which I will then provide via a git repo for anyone wishing to use the surveys in other languages. Note that for the short term the survey results will be presented in the same language the survey was presented, although in the longer term I would like to be able to allow switching the text (at least the questions) to english or other available languages.

The London Perl Workshop is still running, and has another 2 weeks to run. If you attended the LPW this year, and haven't completed the main survey or the talk evaluations, please take the time, as it really does help the organisers and speakers to make the events better and better.

If you're interested in running a survey for your event next year, please get in touch ( and let me know in plenty of time, particularly if you'd like to run the survey in a non-english language.

File Under: community / conference / survey / workshop

Die Mensch-Maschine

Posted on 10th November 2011

German Perl Workshop 2011 - Speaker Evaluations

I have now sent out all the talk evaluations from this year's German Perl Workshop or more correctly Der 13. Deutsche Perl-Workshop. If you were a speaker and haven't received an email, please check your spam folders first, and let me know (barbie at cpan . org) if you don't find it. The mail will have come from barbie at birmingham . pm . org.

My thanks to all the organisers of GPW2011 and everyone who took the time to respond to the evaluations. From previous experience the speakers have very much appreciated your feedback. I would also like to extend extra special thanks to Max Maischein aka "Corion", who took the time to translate all the questions, templates and emails into German for me.

The results of the main survey will be published soon on the YAPC Conference Surveys site.

This is the first survey that I have undertaken in a non-English language, and for the most part it has been very successful. While there have been some slight problems due to byte vs character lengths (I'll save my 'why-oh-why did we ever start with ASCII and not UTF-8' rant for another day), the work Max has done to provide all the translations has started me on a path to be able to accommodate other languages.

At the moment the plan is to create a GitHub repository of all the necessary files, with language branches containing the appropriate translations. Then should anyone wish to request a survey instance in the future in a non-English language, their first step will then be to provide the necessary translations for me. It currently takes roughly a day to set-up an instance, so drop-in replacements for these files will ease the set-up process. It will also mean that as time goes on and questions get added, refined or deleted, we can replicate these changes across all languages.

I'd like to see the survey site get more use in the future, and although I'm happy to run the survey sites, with the support of Birmingham Perl Mongers, the longer term goal has always been to allow others to create their own instances. With the official release of Labyrinth this year, much of the tool set is now Open Source. I still need to release the Survey Plugin for Labyrinth and the additional command-line tools used, but getting the language translations moving will be a big step forward. Hopefully I'll have more news in the new year.

File Under: conference / labyrinth / opensource / survey / workshop / yapc

Do You Remember the First Time?

Posted on 4th October 2011

YAPC::Europe 2011 Survey Results

During August this year, in Riga, Latvia, YAPC::Europe brought together 285 people to learn, discover and discuss Perl. As previous attendees know the YAPC conferences are a perfect opportunity to introduce yourself to the Perl community. YAPCs are now held all around the world and each is very different another. Each has their own charactistics, and they all get better and better thanks to the feedback from attendees old and new, which is why the YAPC Conference Surveys are well placed to concentrate that feedback for future organisers.

For YAPC::Europe 2011, the survey results are now online.

Although the responses where down from previous YAPC::Europe events, we still had over 50%, so thank you to everyone who took the time to respond. Interestingly of those who took the survey, none recorded themselves as coming from Latvia. I suspect this is in part due to the language barrier. As the surveys are in English, those that don't feel quite comfortable with the language might feel less inclined to feedback their thoughts and experiences. I'd like to be able to have the surveys available in different languages, but accumulating some of the responses, particularly the free text ones, may prove difficult. However, this is a goal for the future.

Unsurprisingly these days, we saw a large number of people attending who are regulars either to the YAPCs and Workshops or to the Perl community generally. At the conference itself we did ask how many attendees were at their first YAPC, and it was quite significant. However, we are still seeing roughly the same numbers, so we are not necessarily able to keep those new attendees coming back as regular attendees. In this survey however, no-one stated that they wouldn't attend another event in the future, so hopefully next year we should start seeing more familiar faces.

This year I plan to get the free text feedback sections online, and may well provide these for previous years too. I normally only provide these to the organisers (both current and succeding), but I think everyone could benefit from the thoughts and ideas, whether a YAPC organiser or an organiser of any other technical event.

Many thanks to all those who took the time to respond, both to the Conference Survey and all the Talk Evaluations. Your time is very much appreciated.

File Under: community / conference / opensource / people / perl / survey / yapc

What's the Frequency, Kenneth?

Posted on 8th September 2011

YAPC::NA 2011 Survey Results

During June this year, in Asheville, North Carolina, YAPC::NA assembled 251 people together to learn and discuss Perl, Perl projects and meet Perl people. The YAPC conferences are a perfect opportunity to tell the Perl community of your latest project, or to talk to other Perl developers face to face. YAPCs have now been running for 12 years, and each gets more focused and exposure than the last. In part in this thanks to all the previous organisers who have gone before, offering help and advice where they can. However, the YAPC Conference Surveys also help to provide value feedback to future organisers.

For YAPC::NA 2011, the survey results are now online.

While only 34% of all attendees responded, the feedback has still proved very helpful and provided me with some additional questions for the future. I was recently asked how I thought the YAPCs had changed, and one of the changes I noted, as is hinted at in the feedback, is that many of the talks now focus more on Perl frameworks and applications, rather than specific modules or techniques. In a way it highlights how Perl has grown up. Perl is still a language and tool to get jobs done, but now there are more stable and constructive ways of getting those jobs done.

Many thanks to all those who took the time to respond, both to the Conference Survey and all the Talk Evaluations. Apologies for the delay in getting the results online, but events with CPAN Testers have taken most of my free time over the last 2 weeks :(

File Under: conference / opensource / perl / survey / yapc

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