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Pyowa - October 2009 Meeting Wrap-up

We had out October Pyowa meeting last night and I thought it was very interesting. We had an executive from a local technology company called Priority5 come out and he told us how he got started with Python and how they use it at his current employer's. We also had a talk on Optparse, ConfigParser and ConfigObj.

The Priority5 representative used an HP touchscreen that looked like a Touchsmart (similar to this one) to demo one of his company's coolest projects. Unfortunately, it is a product used for national defense so we couldn't record the demo. Anyway, he said that this product (which looked like a globe that you could zoom down to street level with) was made using C++ for the low-level and Python for the high level stuff.

The GUI was created with pyQT while the internet connectivity was done with Twisted. They used SqlAlchemy as their ORM. He told us how they had to reverse-engineer the serial ports on one of their touchscreens using pySerial. He also mentioned how his organization helps pyQT & Twisted by contributing patches and how they helped develop Py++. They also use SCons for their builds and Trac for bugs (that last one might have been what he used at his previous organization...he wasn't very clear on that point).

It was fun to watch him zoom down on Washington DC's streets and view live feeds from cameras. The talk was also really interesting when the speaker would start expounding on how the system was used at the presidential inauguration or other important events or just listening to how their program's simulations work.

The next presentation was on Python's standard library plus a 3rd party package, namely Optparse, ConfigParser and ConfigObj. While this talk was good in its own right, it paled in comparison to the first. We should have reversed the order of the talks. Anyway, he used the Iowa GIS Repository to illustrate the example to great effect.

While we only had 6 people at this meeting, I think we all got something out of it. Hopefully more will come next time. Speaking of which, the next meeting will be Monday, November 2nd, 2009 from 7-9 p.m. at the Marshall County Sheriff's Office. See the official Pyowa website for details as they become available!

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