On 03 June, 2004, the Israeli Perl Mongers held their regular monthly meeting. The program:
- 18:00-19:00 -- Assembly and light refreshments
- 19:00-20:00 -- Roman Parparov will lecture about Empire - the oldest internet wargame.
- 20:00-20:30 -- Break and refreshments
- 20:30-21:30 -- Uri Bruck will lecture about "A SOAP Server Implemented in Perl"
- As usual after the meeting we will go out to a nearby pub/coffee-shop/etc. for a post-meeting social gathering.
- Almog Friedman
- Avi Friedman
- Gabor Szabo
- Mikhael Goikhman
- Oded Resnik
- Offer Kaye
- Oren Ze'ev-Ben-Mordehai
- Roman Parparov
- Shlomi Fish
- Thomas Maier
- Uri Bruck
- Yoram Friedman
Meeting Summary by Offer Kaye
As usual, people started showing up around 18:00. Gabor showed up carrying 2 full boxes of books belonging to the Israel.pm library, which he had brought so that our librarian, Thomas, could take home with him. After resting from the effort of carrying all those books Gabor and I went to buy food and drink and soon came back with lots of yummi burekas.
The first lecture, which started at 19:05, was about Empire - the oldest internet wargame. It was given by Roman Parparov. At first Roman went over the game's background in general, he then devoted some time to describing the game specifics, and finally he closed with a description of how the game server works. I like any computer game, so of course I enjoyed the lecture ☺
One point mentioned which may be of particular interest to Perl programmers is that there is a Perl based client to Empire, pei3, which is based on an older (and apparently unmaintained) Perl client called pei.
Roman finished his lecture right on time (20:00) and after a few brief questions we all took a 20 minute break.
At 20:30 Uri Bruck started his lecture about "A SOAP server implemented in Perl". Web services is something I personally have little experience in, but the code Uri showed us seemed pretty simple. Either a SOAP server is something very simple or this is just another example of the great and terrible power of Perl ☺
Hopefully within a few days the slides for the lectures will be posted online and you can make up your own mind.
After the technical meeting wrapped up five of us decided to continue the evening in a local pub together, as per the now well established tradition of Israel.pm. To prove we were there Mikhael took some shots with his digital camera which I hope he'll post online. If he does this page will be updated with a link to the pictures.
Meeting Summary by Shlomi Fish
The meeting was quite under-attended. Much fewer people came to it than to the previous meeting, and also many Israel.PM meeting regulars were absent. But we had a good time.
I arrived at about 18:00 and found Gabor Szabo and Offer Kaye waiting at the Dapey Zahav lobby. Gabor brought with him a great deal of books to be transferred to the safe keeping of our librarian. Soon afterwards, Uri Bruck arrived and also a guy named Oren with a last name like Ze'ev-Ben-Yisrael. (quite uncommon in Israel).
Then, Gabor and Offer decided to go and buy refreshments, so I gave a 20 NIS bill to Gabor for them. Uri Bruck, Oren and I were left to guard the books and the bags. Uri and I talked about his work (freelance translation, and an IT consultant to Actcom, where he was previously employed), the fact he had to postpone giving the lecture on an earlier occassion, and my Technion studies.
Then, Mikhael Goikhman arrived and invited us to come down to the basement. We thought we could move everything there, but there were some bags instead of books so Uri and I stayed where we were. After some time, Gabor and Offer arrived back, with Bourekas and drinks. It turned out they walked quite a bit to get drinks (as the shop where we usually bought them had relocated). So Uri, Gabor, Offer and I brought everything to the basement and the rest set the refreshments.
Soon afterwards, a father accompanied by his two sons (one 12-years old and another in his teens), arrived and introduced themselves. It turned out that the father started dabbling in Linux, and was looking for a solution to write GUIs to control some RS-232 hardware controller, which even laymen can operate. He had some past experience doing that with Visual Basic on Windows. So I told him about GUI modules for Perl, etc. about SQL databases, and about how he can use the Linux serial port driver to talk to the RS-232 controller.
He said he brought his sons along because they are not doing anything in the computer besides playing with it. This turned out to be rather inaccurate. The older son said he knew Pascal and some other language, and the younger son wrote things in HTML. The younger son, asked what things is Perl useful for, and I explained to him about its advantages and things it was commonly used for.
Then the first presentation came. Roman Parparov gave a nice presentation about the Empire game, and about a Perl client he was hacking for it. Most of the presentation was about the game itself and was unrelated to Perl, and towards the end there were a few minutes where he talked about the Perl client. This seems to have been an issue, with Roman's previous presentation as well. Still, the presentation was nice.
Empire is a real-time strategy game that is very sophisticated (so much that a computer cannot play it effectively). It is played by a relatively small number of players around the world (about a 100 persistent ones). Roman demonstrated a map for a game that supposedly took place in Tolkien's Middle Earth. He said it took him and another guy two weeks to prepare it. Then he showed the map at the end of the game, that was entirely filled with the colours of the countries that took over all the territories. He said, the game takes place around the clock, and often several people from different timezones team together to co-operate a certain country. (so that when one of them sleeps, the other can play for him). He also said that his girlfriend gave him an ultimatum to stop playing Empire when he played it, and said there were records of other players around the world who ended up with family crises because of the game. (reminds me of MUDs and other games like that to me).
During the recess, I spent most of the time talking with Oded Resnik and with Elhanan Maayan. The latter was using Microsoftish technologies on Windows, and was using Perl for test cases and the such. (he was not using it for anything of production yet as he is new to perl) He talks very quickly so I had trouble understanding him. Also, the father who came with his sons asked why there were such meetings for Perl, and not for C++, Python or Java. We tried to explain that to him as best as we could, but here's a more thorough explanation:
Java - there's similar activity for Java in Israel as there is for Perl. We like Perl, so that's what we like to meet and talk about.
C++ - I think Microsoft has a forum for MSVC users, but don't know if there are such forums for different implementations of the C compiler. In any case, C and C++ are not as exotic as more high-level languages, so they may not warrant their own cultures, especially in a limited environment as Israel.
Python - I know of quite a few Pythoneers in Israel. However, they are under-oraganized. The Israeli Python Mailing List has had less messages in its entire lifetime, than the Perl-IL mailing list commonly has in a month. A Python meeting took place some time ago, but it amounted to nothing. There are the occasional Python-related presentations in the Linux forums, but nothing that is Pythoneers for and about Python. It is highly possible, that no-one took the initiative to organize an active community for it, as happened for the Perl community.
Then came the next presentation by Uri Bruck about writing a Perl SOAP service. The presentation was very interesting and there was a lot of Perl code presented there. Uri explained that it was relatively easy to write SOAP services in Perl, and we also discussed the limitations of the existing functionality in CPAN. This was a good complement to the previous lecture about writing a SOAP::Lite client by David Baird. The presentation sparked a lot of questions and commentary from the listeners, which indicated it was stimulating.
As far as book exchange is concerned, I returned the book about Algorithms, which I did not read as it did not seem interesting, and got the "Refactoring" book in its place. I also wanted to take the "Effective Perl Programming" book, but it turned out it was already present in the library, and was intended for give away for later conferences. So I have to wait until next meeting to get it.
Afterwards, many people went to the pub. I helped Thomas carry the books to his car, and he gave me a ride home.
These meeting summaries were written by Offer Kaye and Shlomi Fish.