PyCon 2018 – Conference Day 2 (May 12)

Day two of PyCon 2018 was kicked off with a few lightning talks. Next up were the keynotes. The first keynote was given by Ying Li from Docker. She spent her keynote talking about good security practices in the web and used a children’s book to illustrate her topic. It was kind of a fun talk and well delivered.

The second keynote was the best keynote I have seen in a long time. It was given by Qumisha Goss who is a librarian at the Detroit Public Library where she specializes in technology. She is a certified Raspberry Pi teacher and teaches Python to 6-17 years olds. It was an inspiring keynote and talked a lot about how we need to reach out across boundaries and ages and teach one another to break down barriers. I highly recommend you watch this keynote if you have a few minutes to spare!

The first actual talk of the day was Larry Hasting’s Solve Your Problem With Sloppy Python. The room was packed, so I was glad I got there early. It was a very fun talk hat I enjoyed quite a bit. His point was that you should try to find the simplest method to solve a problem and if it was good enough, move on. It was kind of refreshing, frankly.

Next up was Carol Willing’s talk, Practical Sphinx. I thought she did a good job of explaining how Sphinx works for documentation and she touched on a lot of different methods of using it to combine different documentation formats, such as RestructuredText, Markdown and Jupyter Notebooks.

The last of the morning talks that I was by David Beazley entitled Reinventing the Parser Generator. I hadn’t seen a Beazley talk in years, so this was quite the treat. I probably should have looked at what I was getting myself into though as he was basically creating a compiler / lexer from scratch, which wasn’t what I was expecting. Still, it was quite the informative talk, even though I didn’t follow every thing he was talking about.

I didn’t make the first talk in the afternoon because I needed to go for a walk to find some sustenance. This PyCon’s food selection has been kind of spotty. Sometimes the food is excellent and other times I have found it wanting or missing key ingredients. Regardless, after having a bite to eat, I got back with the program.

I have been interested in the PyBee project for a while, so I was excited to see what its founder, Russell Keith-Mcgee, had to say in his talk, Building a cross-platform native app with BeeWare. The code used to create a cross platform application using Beeware’s Toga UI toolkit was interesting. Russell described some of it as being CSS-esque, but it reminded me a bit of Tkinter to be honest. On the plus side, it is pure Python code, so it does things in a nice Pythonic way which was nice to see.

The other positive of this talk is that he was able to explain how Beeware’s Briefcase product works, which produces executables for many different platforms including mobile. While it has a long way to go, I still believe Beeware has a lot of neat concepts and I am excited to see where this open source project goes.

The last talk that I was able to attend was one by Raymond Hettinger, a well known core developer of Python. He spoke on the topic of Python 3.7’s new Dataclasses. While the talk was well attended and also well presented, I was left wondering when you should use Dataclasses and when you should not. I am interested in reading up on this new tool soon.