[Dev] PyCon trip report

Katie Capps Parlante capps at osafoundation.org
Fri Mar 3 17:50:45 PST 2006

Thoughts about pycon this year...

I used Chandler 0.6.1 throughout the conference to look at the schedule 
and pick sessions, after importing the pycon calendar. I also ran the 
trunk, and gave demos of both throughout the conference. Several people 
approached me about wanting to collaborate with us, but were not staying 
for the sprints -- I hope to see some of them show up on the list. I 
think I talked to even more people who were interested in *using* 
Chandler than interested in hacking on Chandler. (I'm not sure what that 
means). When I asked about why they wanted to use Chandler, they tended 
to mention cross platform calendaring for a small group, especially if 
it handled timezones and free-busy well. Several people mentioned 
wanting Chandler to interoperate with exchange (presumably because of 
their work environment).

My biggest obstacle to using chandler at the conference was the 
performance (particularly on my mac). I'll write up my dogfood feedback 
in more detail for the design list.


Though it wasn't technical, I found the first PyPy talk to be very 
interesting. Their relationship to the consortium of organizations that 
fund them, and the EU, reminded me of our relationship to Mellon and 
CSG. They talked about the "complicated balance of interests" between an 
open developer driven project and a funder that wants to track goals and 
meet deadlines. To coordinate, they meet weekly on irc for 30 minutes. 
They also sprint regularly, getting together in person every 6 weeks for 
week long sprints. They noted that these core sprints weren't optimal 
for the larger community, but very useful for the core team to 
collaborate. They also do conference sprints, where the objective is to 
grow the community.

People at the wxPython BOF were tackling a lot of the same problems that 
we face, including printing and text/html editing. The projects at that 
BOF envied our large team and the resources we are able to put into wx. 
They all tend to work at the Python layer, and don't often venture into 
widgets proper. The question of automating testing came up -- I think we 
could do an interesting talk about our work in that area for some future 
conference (PyCon or OSCON).

People at the Chandler BOF were very interested in tagging -- I think 
they'll be jazzed to see 0.7. One person was impressed with the data hub 
capabilities that we have given the twisted back-end -- he suggested 
that we mention it more explicitly on the website/wiki/documentation.


By the time we got to the sprints, we were all sort of sleep deprived 
and brain-fried. Jeffrey managed to have a good vobject sprint and we 
had a good discussion about data/schema upgrades (both described 

Reflecting on last year's sprint, I think this year's Chandler sprint 
demonstrated that the schema API work paid off handsomely -- the parcel 
written by Ralph, our sprinter, was written quickly and fairly 
painlessly in comparison to last year. To learn more at the next sprint, 
I think we need to have a different kind of exercise.

Grant and I worked on vtodo and vcard import, respectively. It shouldn't 
be too hard to finish this up, once we get everything working with the 
new and improved vobject. We do need some refactoring work to the 
import/export framework (some of which is already logged in bugzilla) 
before an external contributor could make use of it. I also have some 
suggestions for improving the documentation based on the sprint (and the 
earlier sprint in January) -- I'll add this to the 0.7 plan.

Notes from the conference and sprints here:


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