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PyCon2005 day 3

  • The third day's keynote is delivered by Greg Stein from Google. He gave some insight about evangelizing Python in his last few companies. Small companies are more readily to adopt Python and consider it a competitive advantage. Whereas large company would hold on until the support environment is present. Nevertheless he believes the growth of Python has passed the tipping point and it was never a problem to train any new programmer Python.

    He went on to describe the use of Python in Google and emphasized SWIG as a great glue for integrating code build using various languages.

  • Andi Vajda, whom's search engine PyLucene is what powers my MindRetrieve project, is giving a talk in PyCon. He outlined the challenges to compile a Java application into C executable and making it into Python extension library using GCJ and SWIG. The issues including different memory management, different thread model and cross language error reporting. The success of PyLucene draw a lot of interests in compiling other Java projects into executable and provide more language binding.

  • I enjoyed yesterday's lightning talks so much that I have stepped up to demonstrate my own MindRetrieve project today. Again the room was packed. I'm glad that I went thought the 5 minutes presentation reasonably well and as at least a few people seems to appreciate my idea.

    Geek biker Peter Kropf has made a cross country motorcycle trip. With the bike was a custom built hardware censors and cameras recording everything. He made his videos available on his website .

    Chris Tismer shown a web demo using stackless Python to maintain server state. Stateless Python sounds like a mystery. But his few lines of code is a great introduction.

I thoroughly enjoyed this three days of PyCon, met lots of great people and learned a whole lot. I cherish this supportive open source community and look forward to more exciting development in the coming year.

Read more about day 1, day 2 and day 3 of PyCon.

2005.03.25 [, ] - comments

 

PyCon2005 day 2

  • Guido van Rossum delivered the State of Python keynote on the second day. First he mentioned a security issue in the Python standard library was reported recently. While the scope of this issue is limited, this has prompted the development team to setup a structure to response to future security problems. He then described some incremental improvement proposed. This is followed by some contentious "optional static type checking proposals". We can expect Python would continue its slow growth policy with few major change in coming releases.

  • I am missing more formal sessions because of the continuous discussion of web development in python. Shannon Behrens is giving a improvised tutorial of his Aquarium web framework to a user. Using this fairly straightforward framework he has covered the essence of web development within an hour. The Aquarium framework is comprised of mere a few thousands lines of code. This gave another perspective to the framework proliferation problem. Python is so productive that it is well within a single talented developer's capability to build a complete framework.

    The open source movement give great opportunities to geeks to produce and contribute independently. But that could also leads to divergence is most apparent in Python's web development environment. A truly successful project will need not only technical excellency but also the ability to find consensus and to build coalitions.

  • Richard Jones has shown us the Roundup issue tracker. It seems to be well build and has rich functionalities. If you are starting a new project it is definitively an alternative to Bugzilla. Another similar project mentioned is trac with also has subversion integration.

  • PyCon has two sessions of Lightning talks make of of a series of informal 5 minutes presentations. This provides a low pressure environment and encourages people to show case smaller projects or ideas that might not warrant a full session. Given its unofficial nature I'm surprised to find the lightning talks is actually very well attended.

    Armin Rigo has demonstrated a neat collect class that build a sequence from iterator on demand.

    The Holger Krekel and Armin Rigo team has even more neat tools to show. The rlcomplete2 seems to be a must have command line completion tool. shpy enable people on two different computers to share screen and edit the same file simultaneous. That's what you call pair programming!

    Wayne Yamamoto from Rustic Canyon Partners come to solicit talents to build startups base specifically on Python technologies. So far the Python community seems to be remarkably uncommercial. Many being merely closet Pythonistas. I think we really need to do more to let the larger world know how incredibly productive these Python technologies really are.

  • A few more sessions worth mentioning. Christopher Gillett from Compete Inc described the use of Python for large scale data mining. Michael Salib try to save all of us from the software patent machine. He has built a US Patent Database using Xapian as the search engine. Anna Ravenscroft shown us some important libraries dealing with date and time including Dateutil and pytz.

Read more about day 1, day 2 and day 3 of PyCon.

2005.03.24 [, ] - comments

 

PyCon2005 day 1

I am really excited to go to PyCon for the first time. This is some notes about what happened in this 3 day conference in Washington D.C.

  • PyCon2005 starts with a keynote from Jim Hugunin from Microsoft, who started the IronPython project that ports Python on Microsoft's .NET platform.

    Coming from Microsoft automatically put one into defensive when confronted with the non-Microsoft community. Jim certainly knows when to crack Microsoft jokes and what to say when a demo crash. Putting this aside he did delivered some great demos and made a strong case about the value of python on .NET platform. On the other hand I can't help thinking about how much ill will and negative publicity Microsoft has created.

  • The next interesting session is Holger Krekel talking about a novel testing tool py.test. He find the JUnit inspired unittest.py clumsy to use. With his test tool, user create test cases just using the assert statement, instead of the function call based unittest module, which he find quite clumsy. He then done some clever analysis when there is exception and generate an informative report.

    He then went on to show another tool that bring a twist to RPC. Instead of the usual approach of transferring the objects to the remote host, he simply creates a two way channel and let the local and remote code communicates in their own way. Smart tool! Unfortunately the website http://codespeak.net/py seems to be down throughout the conference.

  • Next session Grig Gheorghiu cover a lot of ground about agile testing. He touches on various tools and the XP principles. Finally he demonstrated using wiki to let customers design test cases and provide instant testing and feedback. Don't you think all software should some have something like that? Check out FitNesse and Selenium.

  • I really love the PyWebOff presentation Michelle Levesque gave in the afternoon. She hit the nail on the head that having far too many web application frameworks in Python causes great confusion to the users. It was a fabulous and very entertaining presentation. The message is clear, users need a clear guidance on what framework to use given certain requirements.

  • Ian Bicking's talk about WSGI is exactly an effort to bring order to chaos about the proliferation the frameworks. While it is good to define a standard interface between certain layers, it is less clear to me if this effort would weed out the number of frameworks, at least not in the short run.

I think Python is missing the opportunity to establish itself as a premier web development platform due to these issues. Otherwise it could easily double or triple its user base. Instead it is losing market to some less capable tools like PHP. I was so passionate about this problem that I have spent most of the afternoon discussing this in open sessions rather than attending talks.

Read more about day 1, day 2 and day 3 of PyCon.

2005.03.23 [, ] - comments

 

Google Translate

Below is how my last blog entry translated into Japanese using Google translate. It looks cute that the translated page keeps the original formatting.

2005.03.13 comments

 

Hong Kong chief executive resigns

After rumours of his resignation has been widely circulating for 10 days, Hong Kong's chief executive Tung Chee-hwa finally make his resignation official. This brings much relieve to the public and a renewed hope for a better leadership.

Under Tung's 8 year reign Hong Kong has suffered from the crash of real estate market, prolonged economic problems and the SARS crisis. The way he avoided responding to the public about his impending departure for full 10 days is just one last example of him being an indecisive and ineffective leader. All these backroom politics make it all too clear that the chief executive only reports to Beijing and not to the people of Hong Kong.

Still Tung is the first chief executive after the historical return of Hong Kong to China under the "one country two systems" policy. We very much want to recognize some, if any, positive legacy he has left. Sadly perhaps the only thing that would make history is that he failed to complete his second term.

2005.03.10 [] - comments

 

Yahoo API

I got to try out the newly released Yahoo API. Yahoo's move to open up its services to developers is a good news. But specifically I want to applaud them for designing a very developer friendly interface. Registering an application ID a breeze (and it doesn't seems to be mandatory for a quick experiment). They have the sensibility to use REST services over SOAP. It takes me 2 minutes using the web browser and text editor to experiment with their services and come out with a good understanding of what it can do. All these can be done without specialized tools required by SOAP. Google should have go this way in the first place.

2005.03.02 [] - comments

 

past articles »

 

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