PyCon 2013 report

PyCon 2013 is now over and it was awesome (as usual)! As seems to happen every year, there were a few themes at the conference.


For those of you who don't know, people are giving it another go to try and straighten out packaging in the Python world. The difference compared to the previous attempt is that Nick Coghlan, who is leading this endeavour, is working directly with pre-existing tools to gain consensus on things instead of trying to get the stdlib to handle it all. This means, for instance, he is working with the installer projects (e.g. pip) to agree on what should (and should not) happen in the evolution of packaging. This seems to have done a good job in energizing key people into supporting Nick's overall view (more on that later).

This means the stdlib is not going to try and solve all problems. The current thinking seems to be that the stdlib should house modules for which PEPs exist and then tools are to be built on top of that. This allows for all tools to act on metadata and such in a uniform way, letting them innovate on higher-level details (and keep the stdlib out of the installer game). Think PEPs 425, 426, and 427 details being handled by distlib.

He is also working from the top down on the stack. This means installer now, build-related stuff later. This has the nice benefit that the thing that most people directly interact with the most should get fixed first, rather than worrying about behind-the-scenes details later.

What does all of this mean? Eventually people will be able to get an installer, be able to securely install from the Cheeseshop (or any other package index of their choosing), and have it all bootstrap up on their system easily. A proposal (PEP 439) even went out this week to basically include a pip bootstrap script in Python which will install the real pip if it has not already happened and then continue on with the installation, making it all seamless. You can follow the discussion of this specific proposal on distutils-sig.

If all of this interests you I suggest you watch the packaging panel when the video goes up.

Python 3.3

I gave my Python 3.3 > Python 2.7 talk again (video here; PyCon Argentina video here although I think I like the US one more) where basically I pointed out all the wonderful features of Python 3.3 and that performance-wise you don't have to care which version you use (unless you have memory issues in which case you will want to use Python 3.3). I honestly was expecting some pushback since I have become a little jaded over the past 4+ years of Python 3's existence. But you know what? No pushback at all (but maybe it's because Armin wasn't there this year =). It was a really nice change of pace to not have to defend something I believe in and have worked hard to foster.

I heard numerous people tell me that they had finally been able to start using Python 3 and that they really enjoyed it. Jacob Kaplan-Moss of Django fame gave a talk on porting Django apps to Python 3 (no video yet) and told me that he not only liked Python 3, but that the no-argument version of super() made him "irrationally excited". David Beazley said that since he wrote the 3rd edition of the Python Cookbook for Python 3.3 he finds Python 2.7 a bit painful to use. It continues to be the case that almost everyone who gives Python 3 a fair shake ends up really liking it.

Diversity & Outreach

Watch Jesse Noller's opening statements. Then watch Eben Upton's keynote. Then realize that 20% of attendees were women. Then realize there was also a Raspberry Pi programming class for kids. Then really make sure you watch Jesse's opening statements if you ignored that initial link. Makes me want to be a better person and try to help people even more.

Everything else

I gave my "How Import Works" talk (US video here, Argentina video here and this time I prefer the latter thanks to having more time and thus feeling more relaxed).

The language summit happened. You can find numerous other summaries of what happend out there (Nick Coghlan, Kushal Das), so I won't rehash it here.

I wasn't able to stick around for the sprints this year (first time since the founding of the conference) past half of the first day. But hopefully next year I will be able to make it work out.

As I said, overall it was a great conference. Thanks to Jesse and everyone else who volunteered to help make it a great week.