24 September 2012

Geek goes to PyCon PL 2012 - day 1

Last week, I went to my first programming conference ever - PyCon PL 2012!

Here's what I wore on the first day:

I fooled a few people that I worked at Google, which wasn't my intention, but this misunderstanding was promptly explained.

Day one was mainly the trip there and being too tired afterwards to party like it's PyCon 2012. Still, the lectures were rich in content and very interesting.

Łukasz Langa talked about Ralph, an asset management system for your data centers. Written in-house to manage the biggest cloud in Poland, it is now open-source. Łukasz talked about how Ralph was born: out of need, when adding new admins wasn't helping to keep the huge and varied infrastructure in order. The beginnings were tough, as there was only one developer and no process like scrum was in place. This one developer wanted to do everything for everyone, which of course couldn't work well. The solutions for this situation were:
  1. more devs
  2. applying scrum by the book (I never knew that in the real scrum, a task from outside the sprint cancels the entire sprint!)
  3. git workflow
  4. one good changelog
  5. one good backlog
  6. thematical sprints.
 The second talk was by PyCon PL's youngest speaker ever, 18-year-old Marek Šuppa. He talked about programming Lego NXT robots with Python and how he taught it to kids. He created his own IDE, nxtIDE, complete with a simulator, for that purpose. The show was the best part:

 The third talk was by lvh, about fractal architectures. Big data is big these days and everyobody is scaling up - but why not scale down first? Why not, for example, shard your data by user and for every user, set up a separate SQLite database? Once you've scaled down this much, scaling up is easy. Well, except when it's not. Some problems arise, like wide queries for statistics, global, non-user-specific data, handling transactions... Depending on your project, these issues might be bigger or smaller and a fractal architecture can be a good solution for you or not. It's not a silver bullet, but definitely an interesting concept.

The last talk on that day was about forms in Python, their challenges and existing solutions. Szymon Pyżalski presented them, along with a framework of his own: Anthrax. (See his page for PyCon materials and more on Anthrax.) Szymon works for STX Next, the daughter company of my previous employer. Having dealt a lot with forms at that job, I knew exactly what Szymon was talking about. :) Since my current job is so different, however, (I basically have one big form!), I wasn't very interested in the details and didn't take many notes.

After the talks, I had a few drinks with STX Next people, then went to sleep.

To be continued...