Monday, July 9, 2012

Review of talks I attended or was recommended at Europython 2012

This is a quick jotting down of recommendations with video links related to this years Europython.
It is really intended for other developers in my workplace.
But in case it has wider relevance I have posted it to my blog. Appologies for the rough format - and remember that with 5 tracks and 2 trainings, I only got exposed to a small portion of the talks.

YouTube channel of all talks

Inspiring / Interesting talks

Permission or forgiveness
Linking women programmers, and the approach of Grace Hopper, inventor of the compiler to the wider implications of her approach. To enable creativity in an organisation, the rules, that ensure its survival, must be broken. Since middle management's inevitable behaviour will default to blocking permission for innovations, just ignore them wrt. anything technical, for the greater good!

Music Theory - Genetic algorithms and Python
Fun and enthusiastic use of Python to rival the masters of classical music!

State of python
So general view of dyamic langs being on the up ruby, js etc.
Seems that static typing snobbery is Guido's bugbear.
Increase in popularity shown by 800 at ep12, compared to 500 at ep10
Then bunch of internal python language decisions stuff, and dealing with trolls

Stop censorship with Python
Tor project used to allow uncensored internet in China, etc.

The larch environment
Every wanted to write code with pictures rather than boring old text?
Pretty amazing what this PhD student has put together.

Aspect orientated programming
Possibly inspire you to stretch a paradigm as far as it will go (even to breaking point?).

SW Design and APIs

Scaling or deployment (for Django)

Django under massive loads
Good coverage of scaling django especially wrt. running on Postgresql. Coverage of classic issues wrt. performance and the django ORM. So for example using slice with a queryset always loads the whole queryset into memory.

 How to bootstrap a startup with Django
Coverage of the standard add on components for a medium scale django deployment


Have released geordi, django-dogslow and interruptingcow to handle issues.
  • geordi provides a URL based means of getting full PDF profiling reporting back for pages
  • dogslow does monitoring and email reporting of hotspots with traceback from live systems.
  • interruptingcow allows setting of nested timeout levels for doing expensive over lighter operations for the web server

Spotify question session
Useful insights into scaling - particularly for a large scale Python applications using Cassandra.

Need to be careful with compaction routine.
So half load capacity due to it making spikes. So it has to sometimes jump if overloaded
dont see error - to fix this last percentage is very hard. Instead go for pretend its working approach. Just retry to catch failiures. Cassandra - dont upgrade .8 to 1.0 
NB: Employed oracle guys who worked on JVM to fix some of cassandras issues - well JVM/Cassandra bugs it revealed at load!

What I learned from big web app deployments - how to scale application deployments (zope particularly)

Concurrent programming made easy. Example was bulk processing of a big Apache log. Ditch the old separate multithread or multiprocessor libraries for this python 3 (and backport 2) package.

Language approaches

Using descriptors - useful to know some of the use cases for these language features
PyPy JIT - a look under the hood now I know that RPython is not R + Python, but restricted Python.
PyPy keynote - coverage of current activity in pypy development

Big Data / Mining 

pandas and pytables - amazing simple API to mine data (in this case financial)


Useful insights into testing
Set up included jenkins, nose etc. Run tests concurrently to speed up test suite.
Note that selenium was painful for them - Far too brittle!

The presenter said this may be a little basic level for me - and a bit crowded so I went to other stuff in the end.

Other talks I attended

  1. Let your brain talk to computers
  2. Ask your BDFL
  3. Becoming a better programmer
  4. NDB: The new App Engine datastore library
  5. Advanced Flask patterns (cancelled)
  6. Big A little I (AI patterns in Python)
  7. Increasing women's engagement in Python
  8. Minimalism in Software development
  9. The integrators guide to duct taping
  10. Guidelines to writing a Python API
  11. Composite key is ready for django 1.4
  12. Heavybase: A clinical peer-topeer database
  13. Beyond clouds: Open source edge computing with SlapOS
  14. Creating federated authorisation for a Django survey system (my talk!)

Lightning talks


1 Transifex django translate .po file generator

2 spotify help page

3 windows conversion

4 egenix pyrun

5 django lukaz comic django re-engineering - 'I regret nothing' - story

6 the scraper wiki guy - julian

7 sqlalchemy tim - add audit history

8 PSF - all can go! Napoli

9 recipe share - flask based

10 fund raiser

11 rededdy online student python math runner

12 - ui interface toolkit - mobile

13 python brochure for marketing

14 pyscopg and pypy - help out with moving to pure python ctypes implementation

15 micro framework


1 PCRE - perl like regex instead of re

2 october pycon s africa

3 docbook to sphinx

4 will hardy - nlp and geocoding

5 moin moin - whoosh search

6 python anywhere

7 pycon uk Sept Coventry

8 controlling telescopes South Africa

9 music analysis with nlp and ai

10 massage man

11 jbart rest based mobile mashup toolkit

12 social fitness game -

13 pyramid antipatterns & pycon japan

14 django is too simple - new made from bits sqlalcemy jinja


Didn't record them I am afraid.


The best lightning talk was the 'I regret nothing' one, and the most impressive was the South African guy controlling the largest radio telescope array in the world live - via python desktop app - showing via videocam of the array moving around.
NB: Also Higgs boson got some coverage during the conference since the data sensing input and big data parsing software is largely Python.

Books from the O'Reily stall, I noticed may be an entertaining read

Confessions of public speaker - scott berkun
7 langs 7 weeks
Maybe time to download and read

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