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EuroPython – Python fans met in Florence

2011 June 27

Over 600 Python fans met in Florence on a gorgeous week of June. EuroPython has moved out of Birmingham  for the beautiful Florence – and beautiful, Florence is just that.


When I left Gatwick, it was bleak – cold, rainy and I felt very miserable – our summer seems to have ended weeks ago. Here in Florence, the sky is blue, the temperature is well in the thirties and there is a nice breeze which makes it tolerable. I am experiencing my first conference booth in a kind of half covered courtyard – so al fresco, just missing the Pims. I am sure you did not want me to talk about the wonderful weather but about EuroPython.

I met some old friends or new friends –

  • Adewale Oshineye, Developer Advocate at Google but also programmer, writer and photographer and author of Apprenticeship Patterns. Unfortunately Ade has been rather busy and did not have time for a good chat instead he gave an impromptu talk on machine learning with Andrew Dalke on Thursday. We made up time later on during the week.
  • Alex Martelli and Anna Martelli Ravenscroft: the “Python Couple”, two PSF members who met through Python, fell in love, married, and many years later are still deliriously happy with each other AND with Python (O’Reilly’s  “Python Cookbook” second edition  is special because these two worked on it together: they tell me that to have a love affair survive the strain of writing a book together is the best proof that the relationship is destined to endure and thrive throughout life’s own challenges over the years – you and your spouse should give it a try!) Alex is also the author of Python in a Nutshell, second edition.
  • Raymond Hettinger: few know that this amazing conference speaker and Python core contributor started his career as a CPA – so much for the stereotype that accountants are boring people, since Raymond’s charm clearly gives the lie to this old idea!
  • Our youngest attendee, Marco who at the ripe age of 14, is already a dedicated Python programmer – a rising star.

And not to forget the people of Develer among the organizers of Python Italia Association – Thank you Simone, Giovanni, Francesco, Lorenzo, David and all the others for inviting me, feeding me and carrying my boxes in and out of the building.


What did I learn?

  • I was told by Nicholas Tollervey that FluidDB has now been renamed Fluidinfo. Hopefully, Nicholas will write a post for us in the not too distant future about the new development of FluidInfo.
  • Talking to several people, I found out that with the update of Python 3x, some of the libraries are lagging behind such as the scientific libraries and Django. I suppose this is keeping the Python community out of mischief and programming madly – sore fingers all around.
  • Antonio Cuni and Armin Rigo gave a PyPy talk. I am told that PyPy is one of the most important project in Python. It is allegedly the fastest Python interpreter, and the most compatible and most stable ‘alternative’ one. (That’s a lot of “most”! I am sure you will tell me if you defer.) More information can be found here. PyPy is funded by Eurostars Eureka – a cross -European funding collaboration that targets small firms which produce research.

Interesting topics:

Looking through the program I found lots of interesting topics – not that I know what they mean but the titles appealled to me.

Merengue: The new surprising and refreshing Django based cms

Advanced aspects of the Django ecosystem: haystack, celery & fabric

Data plumbing with Python

Every time you use viri, god kills a sys-admin;)

PyHP and the art of dating girls

Plac: more than just another command-line arguments parser

Man page of the warrior of light

New beauty in Camelot

Snakes on a Cloud: the new rousing OpenStack open-source cloud project

Python and the elephant: the best DB, PostgreSQL, and the best language, Python, work great tog ether!

When reading these titles, I thought of food, circus, science fiction and possibly nasty diseases. I won’t tell you which is which. You can read more about the programme here.

I also like the names of the rooms – spaghetti, lasagne, ravioli, tagliatelle, tiramisu etc. Very easy to remember and likely to give you some appetite which reminds me – the food here is great.

Room for improvement:

After some discussion with the delegates, I found out that our prize draw forms are not clear enough. Be assured that, should enter the draw, we will send you one email only offering you to opt-in so that you can receive info from us but if you don’t want to, you will never hear from us again. So do feel safe when giving me your details – we will not misuse them, we follow the EU best practice guidelines. So for me it’s back to the drawing board!

Talking about prize draw, I won a license for the Komodo IDE. What it is? I don’t have a clue.  We have arranged to sell it at an auction for the Python Foundation.


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