PSF core grant, day 36: maintaining a website is a pain, Hg, and Python-Dev In a Box

I'm this close to having the data maintenance aspect of the "secret" website done, but came up short when I forgot that entities in App Engine cannot be stored in a transaction unless they are in the same entity group. Since I have tens of thousands of entities, putting them all in a single entity group seems stupid, so I will simply have to break out another worker to be called from a task queue in order to process each entity one by one (at least I can still batch the external network calls). Bah. So close!

While nothing to do directly with me, on the behalf of himself and Georg Brandl, Antoine Pitrou announced a test Mercurial repository for (C)Python. I'm obviously excited about this since I spearheaded this whole debacle movement to switch from svn to hg back in late 2008, making the decision of hg with Guido at PyCon 2009. It looks like there is a slight chance we might actually get this done in the near future (since Antoine and Georg are pushing this the last little distance I can't speak to whether they will get it done by PyCon 2011, but it would be neat if they did).

A rather nice side-effect of switching to Mercurial is the smaller amount of space that a Mercurial repo of Python takes up compared to Subversion. This led to a slight discussion #python-dev about creating a Python-Dev In a Box. The idea is that to help spur contributors one could put the Mercurial repo, the devguide (pre-built, but also along with the hg repo), Mercurial itself (including TortoiseHg), pre-build the docs (so that people have a copy of Sphinx and such which can also be used to build , and anything else I could think of (PEPs checkout? Visual Studio Express installer? coverage.py along with coverage results?) on a CD or flash drive so that people have everything they need to start hacking on Python. And by putting it on physical media it makes it easy to bootstrap everyone in the room quickly without slamming the network. It also provides everyone even the ability to get going while offline (e.g., "Can't stay for the sprint? Take a CD and start on the plane home (if you are not on Windows as that requires downloading Visual Studio Express)!"). Hell, think if this became a bag stuffer at PyCon! I wonder if that would increase contributions?