[Dev] PyCon trip report

John Anderson john at osafoundation.org
Thu Mar 2 10:28:58 PST 2006

This was my first PyCon after attending OSCON during the last two 
years.  PyCon was more about programming and more relevant to Chandler.

The keynotes were uninspiring except for Guido's "The State of Python", 
which gave us a glimpse of upcoming Python releases. Python 2.5 will be 
out in August. My favorite upcoming features incude: Exceptions will 
finally become new style classes. Eventually all exceptions will be 
derived from a common BaseException class. The new "with" statement 
eliminates the need of a try/finally block to clean up resource 
allocations. A try block will be able to contain both except and finally 
blocks. Python programs will soon be able to take advantage of more than 
2Gb of memory on 64 bit processors. New generator enhancements can be 
used to implement coroutines. The integration of the new AST parse tree 
will allow Python programs access to program parse trees. Now that Guido 
is employed by Google and spending half time on Python, the language 
seems to be evolving more quickly. Guido said that Python 2.9 will be 
the last release before Python 3000. Phillip Eby has become an 
increasingly important contributor to Python.

TurboGears and Django are two new Python projects, inspired by "Ruby on 
Rails", aimed at easy AJAX application development. These projects 
generated a huge amount of interest. I think we'll see giant improvement 
in these frameworks over the next few years.  I don't think it will be 
long before reusable AJAX widget libraries are built which can be shared 
by the different platforms, which "just work" on modern browsers, and 
require little or no programming. I also don't think it will be long 
before we'll see direct manipulation Interface builders built out of 
AJAX widgets.

In my unscientific sampling of non-OSAF attendees, Grant's Zanshin talk 
was the favorite. Overall, I think the OSAF talks were above average.

The sprints were more productive than last year. Jeffrey's vobject 
sprint was a big success, however, only 2 people participated in the 
other Chandler sprints. I worked on Macintosh performance. The take home 
message so far is that Python runs about half as fast on a Macintosh 
laptop than a Windows laptop. I hope to have more performance data soon. 
On the second day we had a great schema evolution discussion with pje.


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