This was the 9th PyCon that Clayton and I have attended since the first one in 2003 where we were 2 of the 250 that were in attendance. This year was amazing and there were around 2200 people this time. The organizers deserve a huge pat on the back for a job well done and they set the stage perfectly for us all to learn and connect with the Python Community.
This year we participated in the PyWeb Summit organized by Michael Ryabushkin and Chris McDonough. If the goal was to get us all in a room and start talking with one another, it worked, which was critical given the lack of conversation happening on the Web SIG mailing list. There was much discussion about deployment and packaging, but most suggestions seemed geared toward small site deployments with little additional needs.
The most interesting part of the day was probably the lightening talks and the "State-of multi talk". Each of these provided interesting windows into what was coming up or how things were going in the various projects. For instance, there appears to be work toward making all of the major web frameworks Python 3 compatible, but most of the folks in the room aren’t using Python 3 yet. Certain projects, such as CherryPy and Twisted, are at a point where they are very stable and considered complete. Other projects such as the Pylons Project are experiencing a surge in growth as they adopt new technology like the Pyramid web application framework.
As many have said already, any event that kicks off with dancing robots is an awesome sign of things to come during the conference. The keynote sessions were very enlightening and all very different from one another. Stormy’s talk about community was a great reinforcement of the things I have learned while participating in the Plone community.
One of my favorite tracks this year was the maker track that was full of awesome talks about hacking Arduinos to control pyrotechnics, printing 3D models with MakerBots and even using Python and computer vision to track and shot squirrels in your backyard. Python people do the coolest stuff on earth.
If you were into the more serious topics, there was a great mix of advanced Python talks about web, data processing and scientific topics. In addition, this year also had some great talks that were only loosely Python-related, such as how to do better sketches and a historical look at asking for forgiveness vs. permission.
The most important track though, as usual, was the hallway track. The layout of the conference and the expo hall was highly conducive to this great form of catching up and meeting new folks. How else do you recruit people to participate in your next FedEx Day or find out cool tidbits of information such as the fact that Industrial Light and Magic uses Plone internally. People are truly what makes PyCon one of the best conferences to hit all year.
Ready, Set, Sprint
I didn’t get to stay for much of the sprints, but just the sight of an estimated 700 people working on Open Source is breathtaking and inspiring. This community is a model to be emulated. I was in the Pyramid room where they had to bring in additional tables just to handle all of the people who wanted to help with the project.