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Wednesday, September 30, 2009

PyCon India 2009!

Before I forget, I must pen down this energizing experience at India's first ever PyCon that happened in IISc Bangalore on 26th and 27th September, 2009. I also happened to find Amit from GSoC 09's Delhi meetup and @hnprashanth.
Day 1, we were a little late, "My adventures with Python" was a miss. I, along with Rohan and Prabhat moved to much needed "Introduction to Python". It cleared a lot of doubts I had and we tried out some List Comprehensions, Dictionaries, etc. I knew that xrange is faster than range, but I had not cared to explore why. The myth was busted when Noufal talked about generators which are like functions frozen in time, no other words can better explain them. I immediately remembered how cool was the Prime generator I had seen months back.
The next talk we attended was "Test driven development in Python", again an eye opener to quality code, which is less error prone and easy to maintain. I got bored by the time they compared different test frameworks, I guess for a beginner, knowledge of a concept is enough, the latter part of talk was beneficial to actual practitioners.
The next talk - Idiomatic Python and other language features - What an excellent talk on the language by Sykora. Like, did you know a try... except block could be faster than an if.. else in a loop. This has been tested by Sykora. Differences between upcoming Python 3.x and 2.x were clearly highlighted, and I personally loved the way Sykora presents.
I headed for "Django: A blessed webframework for perfectionists with deadlines", I guess it overflew schedule or something, I just saw the same talk over youtube yesterday, and have been waiting to try Django soon. Btw, I just realized I had seen the guy giving the intro somewhere on twitter, it happened to be @scorpion032 !
Coming up next was "National Mission on Education through ICT & Python", Wow! what an awesome plan! Imagine being actually able to use a computer to solve your daily problems, thanks to Python. MHRD has planned to embed in Python into college curriculum. They distributed Ubuntu live DVDs customized for Python, along with video tutorials on Python. Python being the only human readable programming language unarguably suits the purpose. Maybe I won't see such a day, but future generations would do :) It led me to think about why not Python at Schools, which has become an ongoing discussion on ilugb and bangpypers mailing list. So many are pissed off with non standard TurboC++ which belongs to pre-historic ages of 4kb RAM luxury as Robert Lafore put it. I personally feel Python is excellent replacement for GWBASIC.
Its sad that we missed those T-Shirts, with that cool antigravity xkcd comic strip all over on the back of it. PyCon's T is too good enough. Well, that was day 1 of PyCon. The IISc area was so clean that we could'nt find any cigarettes at all. I guess we made Amit wait a lot at majestic while fagging, thanks to Rohan for engaging him over in-depth discussion on KDE and GNOME dev. Back home Prabhat was really excited about Python, and tried it out whole night. Btw, also found out bpython, which happens to be an excellent Python interpreter ( a mod of ipython actually ) for any beginner.

Day 2 was lighter, again we missed the first talk on Mayavi/TVTK. Road To InPyCon 2009, but Noufal was a much needed talk on how it all happened. I wish it was scheduled as last talk. The we headed over to Test Driven Development by @sai_venkat from TW. Yes, it was entertaining, but as I don't develop softwares as a profession, the latter part of the talk didn't make much sense. But it did make sense of Software Engineering as a subject, I've been questioning its existence ever since this semester started, now I don't for I can relate it to things in real life. Today's S/w Engg lecture on Unit Testing at college was much more interesting than usual.
Come Lightning sessions to be ended in BOF. Various lightning talks, Pyglet one worth the mention. Friends pushed me to show web2hunter and I wondered whats there to present in it. Having pushed over and over I had to yield, so we talked with Mr. Senthil who humbly gave me permission, and to my surprise, he actually knew about web2hunter! Ahh damn, having not spoken to a huge crowd ever was making me feel nervous. But I finally gave it, a short one for 10-15 mins I guess. Some found it really lightening, others found it neat. I still have to watch it again, I feel I was too fast while explaining the code, some people were yawning... but by end I could hear some loud claps, I guess that did it, 'taste of food lies in eating'. What I wished to stress was code-re-usability made easy in python. You know, web2hunter is a small script which evolved from a small terminal script to a webapp on the fly, thanks to Python. Btw, while making web2hunter, I also realized that the if __name__=='__main__': block can actually come handy when writing tests for modules.

We moved to airport after that, Ishan had flight to Delhi that evening, hectic trip though. Ah we also worked on some PHP script, got trapped with a 0770 /etc/sudoers, resetting the password from GNOME helped... while at airport and had the usual anime exchange.

The snakes who made it possible

A memorable experience indeed, an invigorating, energizing one! A truly Pythonic one :)
Looking forward to PyCon 2010 with great expectations.

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At October 11, 2009 at 12:53 AM , Blogger Noufal said...

Due to the short time, I glossed over a lot of stuff. xrange objects exhibit something similar to the on demand generation that generators do and so I used it as an example.

In reality though, it's a separate type that represents a read only list that consumes the same of memory regardless of the 'size' you pass to it. It's implemented in the language core.


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