Europython 2010: Second conference day
After going to bed a little bit late yesterday I woke up at 07:45. I had a shower and I left the ETAP at 08:15, just to join Antonio Cuni on my way to the conference.
The Keynote today was really a good one. Bruce Lawson (from Opera) talked about web standards, accesibility and HTML5. He showed us some incredible examples of the <canvas> and <video> new tags, as well as some real stories about how important web standars and accesibility are. Bruce is quite a good speaker, and that's nice to find in someone giving a Keynote.
After the Keynote I went to the New Lecture Theatre to attend the Appstats talk from Guido Van Rossum. This was the second time I attended a talk from Guido about something related to AppEngine. This one was oriented to people with a background on AppEngine, as Appstats is an application that allows you to gather some statistics about how your app is performing within the AppEngine infraestructure. Guido showed us some off-line real examples (off-line because the wifi wasn't working at that moment). For me, the talk not only covered Appstats but some internal information about how AppEngine works (using RPC calls, the kinds of backends you can use, etc). So it was quite interesting and it reminds be that I should get some free time to play with AppEngine itself.
Next was this talk from Bart Demeulenaere but, more than a talk, it was a little introduction on his idea on creating a framework that improves python performance and HPC support. Then he asked the audience for ideas, searching for people willing to join him on this about-to-be-born project. I found this one not so interesting. The speaker had a strong background with Java and C++, but he missed a lot of related projects before setting up a talk like this (imho).
This one was a surprise for me, as I was expecting the talk Real time web with eventlet by Ben Ford but it was a last-minute change and Raymond Hettinger had the chance for a second session of the Idiomatic Python talk from yesterday.
Funny thing is that he forgot the VGA adaptor for his macbook, so I lent him mine and, as I lent him mine I had to stay for the talk (even if I didn't attend first part on monday). Anyway, I've to say that this talk was quite interesting and as soon as some minutes had passed, I was thinking that I should had come on monday for the first part of the talk...
Raymond just talk about things like the Collections Module, giving us some highlights like:
- When subclassing a dict, you can use __missing to modify the behaviour of the dict when searching for a key (instead of raise directly a KeyError)
- Some of the new features in Python 2.7/3.1 are Counter (a dict that knows how to count) and OrderedDict (a dict that remembers the order of the keys)
Then he showed us some tricks/hacks to simplify certain tasks.
Today's menu was sausage (really big one, chopped into small pieces) + vegetables and spicy (again) sauce. The dessert was a piece of chocolate cake. I've to say that, imho, the food is being quite better than last year. After lunch I didn't attend any talk for a while (two talks in the end) because there were no talks really interesting, so I just kept myself seated somewhere where the wifi worked almost fine, working on some stuff. It was pleasant, as I could share some thoughts with other people, talk with even more people on the #europython IRC channel on Freenode and, definitely, have more fun.
I took my time to take a look at the place where everybody was suscribing to give a Lightning Talk (mine was still not there though):
The first of the two last talks of the day was Fun with databases and django, with Andrew Godwin (the maintainer of south). Amazing talk, even if we had some problems understanding Andrew (he really, really talks too fast for any human being!). He covered all the posibilities you've to store data when working on a django-based proyect, from SQL databases to messaging queues, going through document databases or key-value databases.
He recommended strongly MongoDB and Redis as the best options right now when talking about document databases and key-value databases (respectively) to work with in Python, but he strongly encouraged us to do some tests on our own and see all the available options, because each one could be the best one for a certain environment and only through testing you would find out which db is better for your project.
Daniel Roseman showed us with this talk some really god hacks to optimize our django ORM use. For me, it was probably one of the best talks so far. I understand almost every word from Daniel (I've a lot of work with django) and I found that some of the problems he explained through the talk were problems I found myself at some point of some of my works.
Very interesting indeed the way he was able to reduce the number of SQL queries executed against the database backend with some of those tricks.
I think it would be nice to meet him and show him some code of one or two of my latest projects.
After the conference I went for a walk by the Birmingham Canals. Something I already did last year. I think it is the perfect thing to do before lunch or dinner. I've got some pictures:
This is what I've found to be very common in birmingham, you can find a lot of those really nice old-style british houses (with the clocks and things like that) and, just by them you can find really huge buildings, modern-style.
I've been there last year, having a drink (or two) with Santi. It is a really nice place by the canals, so I wanted to go back and see how it was one year later.
It was a looong walk so I took some pictures of it. This is one of my favourites.
If you ever come to birmingham and you see that building on the picture, you will be astonished for a while. It is some kind of a puzzle, and it is empty on the upper middle side of it, you can watch the sky through it!
I had dinner at nandos and then a walked to the Walkabout, where I met some really nice guys from Slovenia, Belgium and Germany. We enjoyed the live music in the Walkabout for quite some time (We've been lucky that this year's europyhon is on the same week as the Annual Jazz Festival).
Then we met some other people in the Wellington and we had a great time just drinking beers, talking about a variety of topics... I had a great time, in fact, I've been with them until some minutes ago, when I decided to come back to the hotel to write this post and go to bed (tomorrow is conference day 3!).
So, this was the second europython 2010 day, really nice, both inside and outside the conference!