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PyCon Day 1

Friday was the first full day of talks at PyCon. There were tutorials yesterday, which I did not attend, but which seem to be receiving positive reviews. The morning opened with a keynote by Alexander Limi and Alan Runyan of Plone fame. Not an incredibly technical talk, but interesting to hear how organizations from Oxfam to Burning Man are using Plone to improve their web offerings or collaboration.

After the keynote I went to the Python for Series 60 talk , given by Matt Croydon of unoffical-series-60-python-wiki fame. I didn’t realize that Nokia had pushed their Python implementation out as a SourceForge project , and I was also interested to hear about the existence of libraries for iCal, xpath traversal and jabber. Maybe I’ll finally get that sudoku for series 60 code bundled and shipped.

The second talk of the morning was Python Can Survive In The Enterprise , given by Mike and Dave from AGI. I know Mike from a chance encounter at the Cleveland airport on the way to PyCon 2005, but didn’t know he was presenting until the talk started; glad I caught it. I’m still not sure what it means to be “an industry leading supplier of emoticons” (I paraphrase from their brochure, but not much), but the talk was well done and interesting. The bandwidth and page views they support during peak times (like VD([STRIKEOUT:veneral disease]Valentine’s Day), etc) is incredible. For example, 11 million visits per month on an average day, 35 million during peak months, and 90 million page views on VD itself. And they do it with Python. Of course there was plenty of hand-waving and corporately required vagueness, but very interesting.

The last talk I attended before lunch on Friday was about using PyParsing to build an interactive adventure game engine. Probably not something I’l be using in the near future, but PyParsing does look interesting. So hey, if you need a recursive descent parser…

During lunch Guido gave a history of Python talk, describing what influenced it (besides ABC, which we’ve all heard about). I was particularly interested to hear about the influence of Modula 3 on Python’s method call semantics. Along with GvR’s “State of Python” keynote the following morning, these two talks provided nice bookends on the language’s evolution.

After lunch I went to two back-to-back web framework talks, first on Django, then Turbo Gears. So both contiune to impress, but I’m not certain if its their technical acumen I’m impressed with, or their rapid uptake. What will be interesting, I think, will be to see not only where the frameworks are in a year or 18 months, but where applications written with them today are. I mean, are these tools for long-lived, growing applications, or one-off, deadline driven projects? Not that one of those is necessarily better than the other, they just seem like two different constituencies.

The last talk I attended on the first day of PyCon was on Zanshin , another project being developed at OSAF as part of Chandler. Zanshin is a CalDAV library built on Twisted and used for calendar syncronization in Chandler. I have to admit that I don’t understand the difference between CalDAV and WebDAV, but I really enjoyed this talk. Mostly, I think, because the presenter, Grant Baillie, spent time talking about why some design decisions were made (ie, abstracting the actual connection the way they did) and about the “zen” portion of zanshin. In my notes I have “the temporariness of connectivity” written down and underlined. I know that ccPublisher does not handle disconnects well. It should.