If you have been at a Perl conference in Europe or North America in the past few years, and more specifically if you have been an organiser of a Perl conference then you will have an Act login and will have encountered this system.

What is Act?

Well its creators describe Act as “Act (A Conference Toolkit) is a multilingual, template-driven, multi-conference web site that can manage the users, talks, schedule and payment for your conference”. What it is for organisers is a Godsend, it successfully manages just about everything a conference organiser needs and it is styleable via template. Added to this the managers and creators of Act are helpful and professional and make the experience of managing a conference a lot easier.

Well that’s good then

It is good, though of course as good as Act is there are things that could be better. During this years YAPC::NA some of the attendees had a discussion to talk about how the system could be improved. Take note, this wasn’t that the existing system had a fault, it was that the needs of organisers has evolved along with the management of projects. They were looking for ways to improve a good system and modernise it to make a great system.

Next steps

The first step was to move the existing code to Github which would allow an easier community integration, this has now been done and is found at: https://github.com/book/Act.

There is also a list of currently requested issues: https://github.com/book/Act/issues, that you can read and add to or comment upon.

Remember that this is being maintained by the community and if you would like to contribute you can do so by joining the mailing list, for users (http://listes.mongueurs.net/mailman/listinfo/act) and developers (http://listes.mongueurs.net/mailman/listinfo/act-dev), and by helping to fix code, develop new code and expand the existing (unfortunately slightly sparse) documentation.

Act is provided free to use and is a brilliant project written in Perl but available to the open source community, it has been used to power non Perl events such as the OSDC and the Dynamic Languages Conference. There are a number of ways in which you can help further the cause so if you have the tuits come along and join in.

1. Though, I feel this title should be more the Achieving the Zen of Organisation as it concerns using Act to achieve this aim, the Act of… seemed so much nicer.