Tuesday, October 11, 2011

PyCon DE 2011 - The First

What a conference. 200 Pythonistas met for the better part of the last week in Leipzig.

We started out with a tutorial day. More than 80 people took advantage of the opportunity to attend 13 tutorials covering diverse topics including algorithms, database programming, web frameworks, scientific data analysis and Python introduction.

In parallel to the tutorials we had a barcamp with about 30 people that discussed different topics and had lightning talks. Topics included web frameworks and SQL/NoSQL compassions.

The core conference had three parallel tracks with 30-minute and 60-minute slots. Our rather rigorous time management worked out: all presenters stayed within their allocated slots. It is a German conference after all. ;) Over three days we had 55 talks. The topics covered a wide range. Web development and scientific applications were the two largest themes but many other topics such as teaching Python, migration to Python 3 or Python compiler were covered.

All talks are on video and will be posted as soon as the upload bandwidth allows. We had a multinational team of video filmers form the US, UK, Norway and Germany. Thanks for your effort and the great job you did.

We had three keynotes with very different focuses, one at each conference day. Jan Lehnhardt of CouchDB fame provided a perspective on the Python community from the outside. Paul Everitt, early-day Zope activist, draw from his large experience of doing things well ahead of its time. He gave some insight into the past that provided lots food for thought how do things right and how to be successful. Andreas Schreiber, scientists at the German Aerospace Center, showed the impressive use of Python in high-tech. The only conclusion can be: "The future
is all Python!".

The weekend was reserved for sprints. About 30 people gathered at the first sprint day and worked on Python, Cython, Zope and other software packages as well as on the Germany Python website. The second day saw a few less people continuing their work.

All technical and organizational things worked out smoothly. The Wi-Fi was stable over the whole conference, not a single complain. People liked the food (part of it was vegan), projectors and microphones worked. Minor problems were solved in record time by the house technicians. The city tour and the social event were well received judging by the feedback from the

But the most important thing, you could feel the community. Quite a few people knew each other before. But many saw others the first time in real live. It was the biggest gathering of German speaking Python folks after all. The hall way track was always well attended. People were hanging out late to talk, discuss and deepen connections. The atmosphere was positive all over the place. Everybody could feel it. No email, twitter, irc or skype comes even close to live human interaction. After all, this is what made us human over the last few hundred thousand years.

PyCon DE 2011 is also the birthplace of the Python Software Verband e.V. an organization comparable in scope to the PSF but for the German speaking Python community. It's a good start because we can build on many years of organizational experience of DZUG e.V., the German Zope User Group organization that widened its scope to become the Python Software Verband e.V.  This should give the organized German speaking Python community a head start.

Everybody left high spirited looking forward to PyCon DE 2012 that will happen. Details coming soon. 

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