Doing Stuff at PyCon

Saturday March 07, 2009
As bloggers are often wont to observe, the best thing about PyCon is the "hallway track".  This is especially true for old hands like me who are already familiar with most of the projects and techniques being introduced and described in the scheduled talks.

Usually I just wander around in the hallways and let random encounters occur as they will.  That's worked out reasonably well in the past, but I think I can get more out of the conference with a little preparation.  In particular, I'd like to use the open-space rooms to do some of this discussion so that we can really come to some conclusions rather than standing awkwardly in hallways, seeming as if we're about to leave.  So, with your help, I'd like to plan things out a little more.  Here are the things that I'd really like to do.

I am going to dedicate the sprint to thinking and talking about development on Twisted itself.  Of course I'm up for having a few meals during the conference with the Twisted developers who I don't get to see in person too often, but I talk to you guys all the time — I'd rather spend the conference talking to people I wouldn't otherwise see.

During the conference, I'd like to try to talk to people who are working on other projects.  Of particular interest to me are PyGame and Django.  There are currently no good, well-documented answers to "how do you use Twisted to make a networked game with PyGame" or "how do you use Twisted to network non-HTTP protocols with an existing Django app".  Both of those seem to be increasingly common questions.  If you are a leader of either of those projects, or can help me schmooze with one of them, I'd appreciate it.  I am, of course, just as interested in hearing from other projects that I don't even know about their twisted-integration stories.

In general I'd like to encourage other projects unrelated to Twisted to do this kind of cross-project jam session if you can.  There's a great opportunity for cross-pollenation at PyCon.

I'd also like to hear from users of Twisted, Nevow, Mantissa, et cetera, especially those who have not been particularly vocal on the mailing lists or IRC.  The best kind of user is a prospective volunteer, of course (stay for the sprints!), but both praise and constructive criticism are also welcome.

Don't underestimate the value of cheerleading!  Open source projects thrive on donated labor, and the fuel for donated labor is enthusiasm.  I can say for myself that a few kind comments at prior PyCons have motivated lots of hacking.  I don't just mean for me, though: take the opportunity to thank your favorite open source Python hacker, whoever that may be.

I'll be raising funds for the Twisted project.  If you're considering sponsorship, I would like to talk to you about how it will make you and everyone in your organization healthier, smarter, and better-looking.  (Mind-control powers and teleportation are reserved for sponsors at the gold level and higher, and only while supplies last.)

Finally, I'd like to talk about some of Divmod's less well-known projects, like Imaginary and Vertex, especially with people who are interested in helping to work on such things.  I am thinking about maybe doing a lightning talk or open space session, if it seems like there is enough interest to justify the preparation effort.

If any of these things are interesting to you, please leave a comment or drop me a note.  I doubt that I'm popular enough, or organized enough, to really do this properly, but I'd like to have at least a vague calendar of pre-planned meetings and open space sessions on my phone so I can avoid wasting any time once I'm actually there.