Thursday, 6 March 2008

After the Ukraine Perl Conference

Well that was a fun time in Kyiv (Kiev), Ukraine. I shared rental on an apartment with Jonathon Worthington, the Perl 6 Parrot guy, for 5 days and a Ukrainian Perl programmer Max Vuets stayed the night before the conference.

Jonathon's a nice guy and we walked all over the city sightseeing. He's also very bright and we had some good chats about Perl and Perl 6. We also chatted with Max about Perl and technology. His English was very good and I was grateful to have a local Ukrainian person explain more about their culture and country. It was amazing to see how high tech Kyiv is, many 4x4 cars, flash mobile phones (jacked iPhones!) lots of new building work. It is a city of great divides between both rich and poor but it is also moving forward and modernising at a tremendous pace.

We rented through Sherborne Guest House and I can happily recommend them for their luxurious and safe apartments. Nothing was too much trouble for the friendly English-speaking reception staff, there was 24 hour English-speaking security and it was just down the road from the Arsenelna metro station.

The city itself is beautiful as you can see from these Flickr photos. Here's one of me giving my talk on getting started with ExtJS and Catalyst Perl. The grisly video evidence is on the conference Wiki.

The conference itself was 80% in Russian, 20% in English. I don't speak Russian but was able to glean a fair amount from the slides and there were some interesting topics, such as using MemCached and Spread, and on how to win over business managers to the idea of Open Source.

We went out and ate in the Bar Mikhailovsky, good food and friendly company, a mix of Ukrainian (mostly and Russian (mostly Perl people. I was taken by how welcoming they were and it was a really good time.

I hope to return next year, and this time learn some Russian / Ukrainian in advance! It was a bit of a last minute decision to speak and you can't learn much of a language in 1 month.