Hi, I'm Daniel Greenfeld, and welcome to my blog. I write about Python, Django, and much more.

Beginner's Guide to PyCon 2013 Part III

Sunday, March 10, 2013 (permalink)

This is Part III in a series of blog posts about PyCon US 2013. The goal is to provide a handy reference guide for first time attendees of the world's largest Python conference. Part I was mostly about tutorials, Part II was mostly about the first day of talks, this third post in the series will be about the second day of talks.

Early Saturday Morning

The PyCon 5K Charity Fun Run begins at 7 AM. Registration for this event is seperate from PyCon, and all proceeds go to the John Hunter Memorial Fund and the American Cancer Society.

Saturday Morning

After breakfast ends at 8:30 am, don't miss 30 minutes of lightning talks!

Then get ready as noted Python experts and proven speakers Jessica McKellar and Raymond Hettiger deliver keynotes to remember. They've changed communities and lives with the speeches given around the world.

10:50 AM talks

  • Getting started with automated testing (Carl Meyer) - This talk will get you moving into good test automation practices, and is presented by one of the maintainers of Django, pip, and virtualenv.
  • 5 powerful pyramid features (Carlos de la Guardia) - Pyramid is a minimalist, modular web framework that encourages excellent coding patterns. Carlos will give you a tour of some of the great features that makes this such a powerful tool for application development.
  • So Easy You Can Even Do It in JavaScript: Event-Driven Architecture for Regular Programmers (Glyph) - Asynchronous frameworks are said to be the new hotness, but Python's Twisted framework has been around for over 11 years. The creator of the project isn't just a master developer, but an illuminating speaker capable of explaining the most sophisticated concepts in a beginner friendly way.

11:30 AM talks

  • Who’s there? - Home Automation with Arduino/RaspberryPi (Rupa Dachere) - Automate your home with Python! Learn how to use a Arduino or RaspberryPi to notify you by SMS that packages have arrived.
  • Copyright and You (Frank Siler) - Using and writing open source software involves a basic understanding of licensing and understanding of copyright law. The presenter, a licensed attorney, will cover the fundamentals needed to work safely in the open source world.
  • Scaling community diversity outreach (Asheesh Laroia, Jessica McKellar, Dana Bauer, Daniel Choi) - Leaders of community groups around the USA will explain how they get people of all backgrounds not just coding, but helping each other in order to grow the diversity of the technical community.

12:10 PM talks

  • Why you should use Python 3 for text processing (David Mertz) - The presenter literally wrote the book on text processing using Python (many of his techniques have since made their way into core Python). In this often technical talk he explains why Python 3 is the tool you should be using.
  • What teachers really need from us (Selena Deckelman) - Noted speaker and developer, Selena Deckelman, explains what the what the Python community can do to help K-12 teachers need to forward programming education.

Saturday Lunch (12:40 PM)

Food! Chow down! Don't forget the meal tickets you picked up during registration.

PyLadies Lunch at PyCon (12:30 PM)

PyLadies have organized to host a lunch for women attending the conference who love Python, or who want to learn more about Python or PyLadies. While the event is filled up, you can register to get on the waitlist.

Saturday Afternoon

1:40 PM talks

  • Designers + Developers: Collaborating on your Python project (Julia Elman, Mark Lavin) - Like many developers I've had good and bad experiences with designers. We both play our critical roles in projects, and it will be good to hear their presentation on how to collaborate and work in tandem as part of a team.

1:55 PM talks

  • Teaching with the IPython Notebook (Matt Davis) - The IPython Notebook is an unbelievably incredible tool. Imagine a Python shell that allows you to embed images and graphs right into the REPL. Designed by and for scientists, the IPython Notebook is useful for developers of all levels. You have to see it in action to believe it!

2:35 PM talks

This is a rough spot because there are four really beginner good talks by four great speakers happening at the same time. Since all of this are going to be wonderful presentations, I'm labeling them all as 'must-see'.

  • Who are we? A sociological analysis of the indigenous Python tribe (Jackie Kazil) - Journalist and computer scientist at the Library of Congress, Jackie Kazil uses her amazing skills to analyze the Python community's code bases across thousands of projects to determine where we've been as a people and we are going in the future. If you want to see how an expert analyzes trends in the Python-verse, this is a talk that can't be missed!
  • Building full-stack scientific applications in Python (Luke Lee) - Did you know that Python is used in high performance scientific applications? Tools like SciPy and NumPy are built on top of very robust, optimized C and Fortran libraries. Luke will cover their use and also how to present the data using tools like PyQt. If you are into big data, you can't miss this talk!
  • Customizing the Django Admin: The How and the Why (Lakshman Prasad) - Following my talk is a deep dive into Django's famous admin interface. I was fortunate enough to get a sneak preview of the talk and I can say with confidence this is going to be an incredible presentation. Don't miss it!
  • Location, Location, Location (Julia Grace) - Django, via the GeoDjango toolkit has amazing support for building GIS based applications. Julia's an experienced developer and great speaker, making this a can't miss talk!

3:15 PM talks

There isn't a beginner-focused talk in this slot, so I'm going to make this the roller-coaster slot. In other words, I'm going to steer you to the most intensely advanced talk at this time. Attend, buckle in the safety harness, and drink in the extreme knowledge!

  • Making Apache suck less for hosting Python web applications (Graham Dumpleton) - It is not hard to find developers who will tell you that Apache sucks for running Python web applications. Is there a valid basis to such claims or have they simply been misguided by the views of others? Well, Graham understands how Python serves up web pages and won't hold back on technical detail.
  • Numba: A Dynamic Python compiler for Science (Travis Oliphant, Siu Kwan Lam, Mark Florisson) - Numba is a compiler for Python syntax that uses the LLVM library and llvmpy to convert specifically decorated Python functions to machine code at run-time. It allows Python syntax to be used to do scientific and numerical computing that is blazing fast yet tightly integrated with the CPython run-time.

4:15 talk

For this time period there is a single talk specifically aimed at beginners. There are some other useful talks around this time, but they are aimed at educators and integrators over beginners.

  • Crypto 101 (Laurens Van Houtven) - Cryptography is a tricky subject, and the goal of this 4:15 PM talk isn't to turn attendees into cryptography experts. Instead, you'll have a basic understanding of how some common systems compare, and also a sense for detecting and exposing snake oil.

4:30 PM talk

5:10 PM talks

  • MTO On Blast: Using Python's Natural Language Toolkit to Model Gossip Blogs (Robert Elwell) - Python's powerful Natural Language Toolkit will be featured as the presenter gives an overview of Natural Language Processing.
  • What is the Python Software Foundation? (Brian Curtin) - This talk aims to engage us in thinking about what it takes to further Python. Whether it's an idea of code, community, or otherwise, it will jumpstart us into helping the very positive community that has brought us together for the amazing event that is PyCon.
  • Asset Management in Python (Robert Kluin, Beau Lyddon) - Coffeescript, Less, SASS, and all those other exciting new front end asset tools can be a challenge to deploy when doing web development in tools like Django, Flask, and Pyramid. The presenters will introduce webassets, a library designed to make deployment of assets quick and easy.

Evening Activities

Saturday night will be the evening of a huge number of fantastic fun. Two items of note (more to come):

Part IV

Stay tuned for Part IV of this series where I cover the third day of talks best suited for new Python developers!


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