Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Afterward: PyCon on the Charles

The Boston mini-PyCon went well. The Beta House was at max capacity with 30+ in attendance. I met Jesse Noller for the first time; I'm not sure how this managed to be a first because he's a python dev and has been at the last few PyCons. I'd bet there are pictures on flickr that have both of us in frame.

Noller's talk was a thousand foot view of the plethora of multiprocessing/concurrent/messaging/you-name-it frameworks in python. He compared the current proliferation to the mess of competing web and ORM frameworks of two years ago. Sounds about right.

Taylor's talk was about Reinteract, his spreadsheetish interactive python shell. I expected to sleep through this but the app is actually interesting. It falls somewhere between IPython and Resolver One in functionality. I'm sure he and the Resolver guys will have lots to talk about.

My talk went OK. Half the slides are new (again) and I really like the individual slides, but in the rewrite it lost its narrative (the "Radically Simple" of the title). I loved the idea of jumping in on the second slide with an example titled "Why this is Cool" but it fell flat because the first slide didn't explain the pains and foibles of doing without class decorators. I also need to reinsert the longer explanation of what decorators (and metaclasses and mixins) are. The PyCon crowd will be more savvy than the Cambridge user's group but not that much more savvy. A few people said "that looks really cool but I have no idea WTF you are talking about." My talk is flagged as "advanced" in the program but beginner/intermediate/advanced is ignored by attendees (and usually isn't on the printed schedule).

Bruce Eckel will not be giving a keynote as he broke his leg badly while skiing. This is a mixed blessing for me because Bruce's keynote was about class decorators and metaclasses. Good for me because people won't skip my talk for his keynote. Bad for me because I wanted to see his talk and was looking forward to talking to him. Oh, and now I have a useless T-shirt that says "Bruce Eckel Stole My Talk" on the front and "I Stole Bruce Eckel's Talk" on the back.

Ned Bachelder gave his PyCon talk A Whirlwind Excursion through Python C Extensions at the previous meetup. Do click the link, it includes his slides interspersed with his own commentary. I did a similar talk titled "Writing Your Own Python Types in C" a couple years ago so Ned & I traded notes. One of the slides is a nod to our conversation. It isn't as egoboo as the time time Guido gave me full slide w/ attribution in his "State of Python" address, but I'll take it.

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