I had the pleasure of attending the very first DjangoCon this last weekend.
I’ve attended a lot of conferences; big conferences, small conferences, very targetted conferences and very broad conferences. I think DjangoCon may have been the best conference I’ve ever been to.
Over the years what I’ve learned to truly value about a conference is; meeting with people in the community, learning and understanding things I care about that would be harder to learn from reading than listening to a speaker, and just generally having a good time. DjangoCon was fantastic on all fronts. Being so targeted (people who use Django) there weren’t many talks that I didn’t care about and the people speaking were in all cases the best person to be speaking about a particular topic. The Django community is my favorite open source community, beating out the larger Python community by a small margin. Everyone is nice, helpful, and rarely suffer from even a marginal amount of smugness. Add food, decent wifi, and Cal’s talk “Why I hate Django” and you definitely cover the “having a good time” bit.
I messed with AppEngine for a couple weeks when it was first released. There were some serious rough edges that I decided I couldn’t deal with and I really didn’t completely get my head around the datastore.
Seeing Guido’s talk I noticed that those rough edges have been smoothed out and the development environment seems nicer, not to mention the documentation seems to have significantly improved. I’ve also been doing a lot of CouchDB work lately so I’ve internalized the “Document Store” concept and once I saw the Expando class provided by AppEngine I felt like I was now in a place where I can really understand Google’s datastore. It’s also not documented very well but Google’s datastore supports some geo data, which has always been a concern of mine putting too many eggs in the CouchDB basket right now. Add the fact that I absolutely hate managing infrastructure and I made a quick decision to invest once again in AppEngine or an upcoming project.
Why I Hate Django
I don’t think anyone will disagree that the highlight of Day One was Cal Henderson talk “Why I Hate Django”, he was absolutely hilarious. The video will be up eventually and I highly suggest everyone watch because it’s just too damn entertaining. I pulled a series of CC pictures from flickr in the meantime that illustrate the humor of the talk.
Something like two years ago I wrote a patch to add live server support to the Django Test Framework (based on unittest). That patch fell out of sync with trunk and on the floor at some point. Eventually an intern at Disqus came along and got it working again and made some really nice improvements.
Although the patch didn’t make it in to Django 1.0 I’m told it should land soon and will be in 3.1, but Disqus has been running with it all summer, using it for some Selenium tests. Well I couldn’t stand idle while Selenium test were running with Django and Windmill tests weren’t so I put my head down for about an hour during one of the talks and committed Django support to Windmill trunk. I ported the current patch for live server support in Django’s Trac so that it dynamically adds what is needed to Django and you can use this with Django 1.0 unmodified, and created a TestCase class that will launch your Windmill tests from within the normal Django python mange.py test runner. I wrote up a bit more about this