Thursday, March 17, 2005

What Do I Want to Learn at PyCon?

PyCon is coming! The most valuable part of the conference is connecting with people and catching up on their lives and work. As there have been more and more good talks, I've gone to fewer and fewer of them.

Another goal this year is to learn more about how people are using Python. I haven't had much opportunity to use the newer features of Python. I've never used or implemented a decorator. I haven't had much time to experiment with itertools and generator expressions. It's been a while since I've thought about metaclasses and whether there are good design techniques for using them. It looks like Alex Martelli is giving a couple of tutorial talks on these topics.

I think these would make ideal open space discussions. I'd love to see a session where people present some of their best example code and the audience asks questions and reviews it. A moderator could try to capture good design techniques and best practices. A good talk might cover similar ground, but I'm interested to see a diversity of approaches. If I can find some other people interested in these topics, I'll schedule some open space time for them.

There are also several talks I want to see. I've always favored talks about implementation techniques. There's a session with talks by Armin Rigo, Brett Cannon, and Jim Fulton that looks quite good. I'm also quite interesting to see Richard Saunders and Clinton Jeffery's work on profiling and visualization. Evan Jones is going to talk about some low-level work on obmalloc, which might be interesting, too.

I'm somewhat interested in the talk about Durus, an object database inspired by ZODB in the same way that Quixote was inspired by Zope; now that I'm not doing any ZODB development, the interest is primarily academic. I went to a talk about ATOP but didn't find it very satisfying because there was little discussion of the core design decisions for an object database. I should try to catch up with the developers this year and see how it is going.

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