Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Two panels added on web technologies and on python-dev

Doug Napoleone is encouraging people to organize panel discussions; see the Call for Proposals for details.

Two panels are already being arranged. Titus Brown has asked for ideas for a Web Framework panel, and there will also be a python-dev panel.

PyCon proposals: one week left!

Remember, the deadline for submitting talk proposals is October 31st, exactly one week away. Everyone always seems to send things in at the last minute, but don't delay too much longer; use the proposal system to submit your talk.

Talks at PyCon that Teach How to Be Better Programmers

I've been looking over the mix of talk proposals we have so far for PyCon 2007. We're got 17 so far, with a good number of case histories. Now case histories are good, don't get me wrong, we want Python to be successful and it is interesting to hear how it is being used. But according to the feedback forms from last year, we need more talks that actually teach you how to be better programmers, especially if we want to bring new talent into the community.

Where are the talks about how to best use select features of the language, that demonstrate how to use some of the more powerful design patterns in Python? Python 2.4 and 2.5 have added significant new capabilities to the language and we need the advance scouts to help some of us just now discovering them. Many of us do not adopt new features as soon as they appear.

Often at PyCon we have looked to people like Alex Martelli to get down and dirty with aspects of the language, but unfortunately he is unable to make it in 2007. Who else is good at explaining how and when to apply language constructs?

Not sure where to start? For brainstorming here are four talks I've not seen at recent PyCons and that I think would be well received.

How to Optimize Your Python Programs?
  • optimization - speed or memory?
  • common mistakes
    • use of repeated append on strings
    • not using PyNum when doing array operations
      • such as graphics, sound
    • close your handles, release your objects where possible
    • what slows Python down?
      • looping?
      • function calls?
    • methods to speed things up
      • pre-binding
      • push looping into C extensions
      • code in C extensions releases global lock and speeds up execution on multicores
      • shrinking your memory footprint
Key Python Technologies You Should Know
The idea of this talk is to highlight some of the cross-domain technologies that a programmer would find useful in his toolbelt as he moves among problems or job positions.
  • criteria for inclusion in talk:
    • cross-platform
    • cross-domain
    • of general use, not obscure or a niche
  • docutils, reST docstrings, READMEs, page templates, wiki markup, doctests)
  • interfaces/adapters
  • eggs
  • unit test frameworks
  • DB-API?
Taking Your Programming Environment to a New Level
What do skilled Python programmers keep around them that makes them better programmers?
  • pymacs, pyvim
  • pylint
  • ipython and other command shells
  • brief walk-thru of GUI IDEs
  • keeping docs at your fingertips
  • books to keep at your side
(this talk could be run as a panel among experts)

What the Heck Does "Pythonic Programming Style" Mean Anyway?
The term is often tossed at someone on the list, but what the heck
are they talking about? How can a newbie learn the style?
  • common idioms you see in source code
  • attributes versus getters/setters
  • package dir layouts
    • import all in __init__?
    • fully name-qualify all imports?

I've included links to the wiki pages holding the outlines in hopes that people will suggest additional topics to cover.

To give a talk, visit the conference proposals page.

Jeff Rush
PyCon 2007 Co-Chair

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Reminder: Bids wanted for hosting PyCon 2008

I'd like to remind everyone that the PSF is still looking for bids for hosting PyCon 2008. Groups interested in hosting the 2008 conference need to have a proposal ready at the time of the 2007 conference, which is at the end of February 2007.

For more details on preparing a bid, please read a posting in the PSF weblog titled "So you want to host PyCon 2008..." and read the list of location requirements.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Hotel registration now open

The hotel's registration page for PyCon is now available; follow the link from the us.pycon.org hotel page to reserve rooms at the convention's room rate of $79 for 1-2 people or $89 for 3-4 people.

Most people will want to see the conference program in order to figure out the length of their stay, so I don't expect many people to make reservations now. The conference program should be published some time in the last two weeks of November.

Educator activities, and panel discussions

Jeffrey Elkner has created a wiki page for education-related activities at PyCon. If you're interested, please sign up!

Doug Napoleone is drafting a call for panel discussions. Some ideas for web-related panels have been added to the Talk Ideas wiki page, and Jeff Rush explains further. Brett Cannon is thinking about organizing a python-dev panel. What other panel topics would be good?

For people not familiar with panels: they're moderated discussions where 3-5 people discuss an issue. A moderator keeps the discussion moving and also has a list of topics for discussion so that the conversation doesn't die out. For PyCon, panels may end up being 45 minutes long; 30 minutes of discussion between the panelists and 15 minutes for audience questions and comments.

And remember... only two weeks are left to submit proposals!