For Session 2, I decided to volunteer as a Session Chair, which means that I basically would introduce the speakers and try to keep them from talking too long. My first speaker was Tarek Ziade and he spoke on The State of Packaging. He spoke mostly about distutils, setuptools (easy_install) and pip during the first 15 minutes. Then he switched to various PEPs that he has supported, written or is involved with (such as PEP 314, 345, 386 and 376). The idea is to force developers to embed more information in their script’s meta-data when using distutils or something similar. He also spoke on the various problems with each distribution method. It was very interesting overall.
The second talk was How Does Enthought Distribute Packages? by Dr. Ilan Schnell. He works for Enthought and seemed quite knowledgeable on his topic, but he was also rather boring. Alas, we are all not blessed with good presentation skills. I know I’m not.
My last talk was the one I was looking forward to the most and was one of the reasons I decided to chair this session. It was done by Stani Michiels and Nadia Alramli. The talk was entitled Cross Platform Application Development and Distribution. They were the most prepared speakers that I have seen so far at this conference. For those that do not know, Stani is the creato of the Stani Python Editor (SPE) and Phatch. They used the latter in their presentation to show how to associate extensions with binaries, drag associated files onto a shortcut to run Phatch on them and various other cool tricks.
They went on to cover how to develop for Windows, Mac and Linux, the tools they use and the pitfalls to watch out for. All in all, it was very good and well received.
Other notes on being a Session Chair. I think it’s a good way to learn new things and to meet new people. However, figuring out how to use the equipment was difficult and no one else seemed to know how to do it either. If I go to PyCon next year, I hope they use the same equipment so that if I volunteer, I’ll be able to help more effectively. Overall though, it was a positive experience.