Better Software – A conference for designers, UX managers, projects managers and much more

After EuroPython,  I enjoyed a free weekend in Florence –  I went back to my favourite spots on Saturday and to Fiesole on Sunday. Wonderful ! not only am I red from too much sun but I am also covered in mosquito bites.


Monday, back to work with Better Software, now in its 3rd year. The organizer, Develer, experimented 2 years ago with the first Better Software conference here in Florence.  The feedback was so good that they decided to repeat the performance a year after when the audience doubled. This third conference confirms their success and shows a total audience of 300 people.

This conference is aimed at designers, UX managers, project managers, start ups and many more. It is a two day event covering a variety of topics. The first day saw talks on web, mobile and cloud. The next day, topics such as agile, open source etc. were covered. An entire track was dedicated to start ups with practical workshops on business plan writing, creative project presentations etc.

Most of the titles of the talks are in Italian with a few exceptions in English –

Augmented music: a case study
Gamification patterns
HTML5 audio and video – lessons from the trenches
Design is (ir)relevant
Evolutive user experience
Your browser, your database
Start small, stay small
Scrumban – a methodology fusion
Overcoming self-organisation blocks
One workshop – Storytelling for software marketing

I hope these talks give you an idea of the theme of the conference.


Alex Martelli, author of Python in a Nutshell and Python Cookbook (see my last post) gave a talk entitled Le “code review”, queste sconosciute which according to Google Translate means The “code review”, the big unknown.


Paolo Perrotta, author of Metaprogramming Ruby was kind enough to sign his book during the lunch break. Paolo ‘s forecast was to sell 2/3 copies of his book during Better Software as allegedly this technology is not particularly used in Italy. Wrong we sold the lot – 12 copies – nothing like knowing your market! He also gave a talk “Java viene da Marte, Ruby da Venere” which translates as Java is from Mars, Ruby is from Venus.

The youngest speaker is only 14 years old. He wrote his first iPhone app at the age of 13. This apparently is a very simple game called “Lucky Battles”. Simple maybe but one has to be able to do it … and to think that I am just about able to switch on my computer without crying out for help!

EuroPython – Python fans met in Florence

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.


EuroPython 2011, the largest European conference for the Python Community

EuroPython is the largest European conference for the Python community, and in the following two years the conference will be held in Florence, Italy!

The conference will take place from Sunday June 20th to Sunday June 26th. The chosen location is Mediterraneo Conference Centre in Lungarno del Tempio, 44 – near the beautiful Piazza Santa Croce in the heart of Florence’s old city centre.

EuroPython Agenda will be as below:

  • June 20th: Opening day of the conference. In the morning the keynote session will be held, with special guests soon to be announced.
  • June 20th to 24th: Regular conference, with up to 5 parallel tracks from morning to evening, and 2 parallel tracks for hands-on trainings.
  • June 25/26th: Coding Sprint. Two full days of quick hacking on Python core and libraries, with the guide of experienced developers.

Italian Track

Italy is home to a vibrant Python community that gathers together each year at the local PyCon Italia event (up to 400 delegates!). To acknowledge this reality in EuroPython and to encourage Italian pythoneers who suffer from the language barrier, we will hold an additional Italian track at EuroPython, containg only talks delivered in Italian.

EuroPython on your phone

All the juicy features for you smartphone geeks!
Enjoy EuroPython on your phone!

We are well aware that nowadays enjoying a conference goes through a superior mobile experience. This is why we have worked on providing specific support for our smartphone-powered attendees.

Special Partner Programme

Some fantastic events have been put into place – don’t be disappointed, book now:

Cruiser bike tour
Florence Centre with Dome
Wine tasting
Michelangelo, the Master
Oil, Cheese & Wine in Chianti Shire
Oltrarno district and its craftsmen
Pitti Palace and Boboli Gardens
S.Lorenzo district and food market
S. M. Novella Church, Pharmacy & District
Uffizi Gallery & Vasari’s corridor

Am I really going to work when all this is going on?

PyFiorentina: the legendary steak! (All together)

This year’s legendary gastronomic excursion in the land of steaks became European!

I have been there! Don’t miss it great atmosphere and great food. Places are going fast, so hurry up, book it now!


We remind everybody that you can follow the updates on the conference both on the official Facebook page and on the Twitter profile @Europython.

For any further question:

2011: Europython in Florence!

PyCon Italy on the webFrancesco Pallanti writes:

After a period of radio silence here we are back on air more resolute than ever! There’s a news however that we’d like to tell to everyone in the Python community.

The Python Italia association has worked in the shadows for months, then a voting took place between members of Europython organization and the two candidate teams, Italy and Germany.

It’s with great pleasure that we’re announcing the confirmation of

Florence as official venue for Europython 2011!

Python Italia APS

Our proposal won and the hard work done in the latest months has been rewarded assigning to Italy the organization of the 2011 edition of Europython.

We’re still in the early stages but we’ve identified a couple of possible venues for the conference really close to the railway station and we’re trying to secure them and develop partnerships.

Meanwhile, rest assured that the machines for the next PyCon Italy are well oiled and we’ve already started working on that; we’re finishing the new graphic layout of the logo and soon you’ll be able to browse the new version of the website.

In addition to the blog you can follow us:

If you wish to know more about the organization you can subscribe the newsletter.

Stay tuned for updates about Europython and the next PyCon Italia conference.

PyConTre in Florence

Develer Srl – a young dynamic company

DevelerDeveler Srl was founded in 2001 by the young and dynamic Simone Zinanni and was joined later on by Giovanni Bajo. Develer’s offices are situated in the heart of Tuscany in a little town north-west of the magnificent city of Florence. Simone started developing at the ripe old age of 12 and became a C++ developer/programmer – he is now the CEO of Develer. Giovanni, a Python enthusiast changed all that and the company is now using mainly Python and C++.

Develer Group PhotoDeveler provides a consulting service with full development and support mainly using Open Source technologies but able to accommodate their clients wishes with proprietary software. The success of Develer is made by the ability to respond to customer demands rapidly and effectively. Growing at a steady pace, they now employ 20 people and are always looking for the best programmers Italy can offer them.

A few years ago Simone and Giovanni with friends started l’associazione Python Italia – a national association dedicated to the broadcast, teaching and support of Python – all done on a voluntary basis. From there was born Pycon Italia, now in its fourth year with Develer as the main sponsor and organiser but allegedly helped by the national association.

What people say about Pycon –

“The conference locations were great, the organizers went above and beyond to make things run smoothly, and the food truly transcended the conference food that I’m used to.” – Brian Fitzpatrick

“PyCon Italia is a great way to meet the top coders in Italy, talk with major vendors, and either recruite or be recruited.” – Raymond Hettinger

“PyCon Italia is the conference closest and dearest to my her out of the many I regularly attend.” – Alex Martelli

“I loved PyCon Italia! It has everything: a beautiful city, a great organization, and some of the brightest coders in Italy.” – Guido van Rossum

Develer has also created its own conference – Better Software for an audience of Project Managers and Programmers. In its second year, Better Software has over doubled the number of attendees and from the feedback is going from strength to strength.

Next year, Florence will not see Pycon in May but Pycon Italia will be hosting EuroPycon. I trust they will produce one of their best show for contents, organization, fun and tourism but more on that nearer the time.