Djangocon.eu 2011: Day 1

Posted on Jun 7, 2011
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DjangoCons are awesome, and this year’s DjangoCon Europe 2011 is about to fit into this category quite nicely :-) Monday morning started with an …

Opening Talk

… by Remco Wendt about some usual organisational topics as well as showing how far DjangoCon’s have come over the years. A big “Thank you” to all the volunteers and sponsors who made and are still making this event possible. And also to the one who got the idea of having a dedicated open-space area throughout the whole conference.

From static to real-time

Next was Eric Florenzano with his keynotes describing the evolution of a simple idea through multiple iterations to a highly complex web application. Something that is facilitated by Django’s rather flexible architecture. He also highlighted that techniques such as WebSockets may be the new best thing since sliced bread, they are often overkill. For many problems even short-polling is still the right solution.

Also, a shout went out to help port Socket.IO to other platforms or improve the already existing ports. Socket.IO is a JavaScript abstraction layer of WebSockets and similiar techniques implemented in Flash et al. originally written in JavaScript for the server as well as the client side.

Large Django sites at Mozilla

After a short break it was Andy McCay’s turn to tell us all about the cool sites and tools Mozilla is been working on of the last couple of years in their effort to port their frontend infrastructure (like Mozilla Add-Ons) from PHP (through CakePHP) over to Django. Having a site that generated more than 150 million requests per months must be an awesome test-bed ;-) Since writing about all the tools mentioned by Andy would probably fill multiple posts on their own, I’ll just list them:

  • cache-machine caches Django ORM objects and querysets
  • queryset-transform (by Simon Wilison)
  • timing-ware
  • bleach strips unwanted HTML out of user input
  • flake8 checks Python source code for PEP8 violations
  • django-qunit integrated qunit into Django’s testing infrastructure.
  • arecibo collects e-mails generated by multiple nodes in order to annoy the admin only once per error.
  • mozilla-playdoh is a base-template for Django applications.
  • django-secure provides a middleware and helpers for checking your django project against a set of security guidelines.

How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Python Packaging

After this whole bunch of new toys to play with, Jannis Leidl gave an overview and history lesson of the parts of Python that make adding them to your project possible: Python’s packaging system. But he went beyond what is in the standard lib and also described tools like pip and virtualenv as well as gave some tips for how to better use them?

But this whole infrastucture is in flux right now with distutils2 being on the horizon with its move away from the rather annoying setup.py and on to a setup.cfg file. That bundled with a standardized API for resolving dependencies and a backport to Python 2.x makes it something I’m really looking forward to :-)

Django and PyPy

The successor to Psyco, PyPy, is now at the level of CPYthon 2.7.1 and native Python applications should by now work out of the box. The problem is still the integration of c-extensions, but there are a couple of solutions out there. Alax Gaynor gave a nice overview of them and described the state of database driver support with PyPy with psycopg2 probably still being the best option right now.

And I won’t go into benchmarks here ;-)

3 CMS in 45 minutes

The next session was split into 3 parts where 3 CMS systems were presented by their respective contributors:

One size fits all

After a break it was time for something completely different: A frontend talk by Idan Gazit about using Compass/Sass in combination with other frameworks like Less (not the Sass competitor but the grid framework ;-)). But the main focus was on responsive webdesign and how to get a project in that direction with the mentioned tools.

Lightning talks

A set of lightning talks marked the end of day 1:

  • Tom Christie introduced his take on a REST framework for Django.
  • GSoC student Gregor M├╝llegger presented the current state of his Django forms refactoring as part of the summer of code.
  • Nate Aune gave a short introduction into DjangoZoom
  • Roald de Vries presented a simple form creator written in Django.
  • JetBrains gave out personal licenses of PyCharm and Dmitry Jemerov gave a small feature tour.
  • Last but not least Peter Kese was looking for people wanting to help with running multiple sites using a single Django instance and improving the already existing support available for that in Django.