Category Archives: Pyowa

Articles about the Iowa Python User’s Group (AKA: Pyowa)

Pyowa Meeting (Feb 2017)

The local Python users group, Pyowa, was restarted last night after a year and a half hibernation. I hadn’t been to one of their meetings in a few years, but I had decided at the end of 2016 to get it going again. Once the ball was rolling, we got multiple offers of sponsorships for the meeting and ended up going with Pillar Technology for our first meeting of 2017. They call their space The Forge and they provided pizza and refreshments. They are located in downtown Des Moines.

We had around 23 or so people show up including the staff from Pillar. Our speaker was Jesse Horne from Pioneer and he talked about Chalice, a Python Serverless Microframework for AWS (Amazon Web Services). Chalice is kind of a lightweight Flask. Jesse ended up writing a very basic book database web application. While there were some technical issues, the crowd was very supportive and helpful and I thought that the meeting went quite well. There was even a robot wandering around that was remote controlled by one of the employees of Pillar.

The next meeting is currently scheduled for March 7th @ Pioneer. Keep an eye on Pyowa’s website for an update to get the latest information.

January 2012 Pyowa Wrap Up

Last Thursday (the 5th) I attended Pyowa, the local Iowa Python Users group I founded a few years ago. We had Scott Peterson from Principal Financial Group come and talk to us about Library Gadget, a cool Django-based website he created to track what library books his family has checked out. Now he has lots of users using his website. It not only tracks the books you have borrowed, but it’ll auto-renew them if it can and let you know if you’re books are overdue.

He spent most of his time talking about the backend stuff behind the website though. Such as why he chose Amazon Web Services, how he uses Puppet, Vagrant and Fabric to manage his server’s settings and back them up.

The second talk was done by myself and I spoke on my MediaLocker project, an open source wxPython application that is supposed to help you track your media library. Most of my time was spent telling the story behind the project and showing a demo. Then I took some questions.

Overall, I’d say that we had a really good meeting with 10 people showing up. Next month, on February 2nd, we’re bringing in the BIG guns though. We have Doug Hellman and Steve Holden scheduled to Skype in and talk to us.

Doug Hellman is the author of The Python Standard Library By Example, is a senior developer with Racemi, Inc., and communications director of the Python Software Foundation. He has programmed with Python since version 1.4, and has worked on multiple platforms in mapping, medical publishing, banking, and data center automation. Hellmann was previously columnist and editor-in-chief for Python Magazine and, since 2007, has blogged the popular Python Module of the Week

Steve Holden is chairman of the Python Software Foundation and author of Python Web Programming. He owns Python consulting business and does Python training.

October 2011 Pyowa Wrap-up

We had our October Pyowa meeting last night (10/07/2011) at the IMT Group building in West Des Moines, IA. One of their programmers gave a talk on the python open document (pod) library that is included with the Appy framework. The gist of the talk was that you could create template files in LibreOffice or OpenOffice using either its “Track Changes” feature or its “Field” feature and then use Appy’s pod to a merge of your data, much like a mail merge in Microsoft Word. He went on to show more advanced stuff, like using the Comments functionality of LibreOffice to create loops to make tables or insert pictures.

After the presentation, there was mention of hosting your own local PyPI and a discussion on the merits and pitfalls of Git Vs. Mercurial. There was also some talk of combining Pyowa with the local Ruby group. We also talked about having a meeting where we might discuss Mercurial, Git, and other source code management systems in the future. Also note that there was free pizza and pop at this meeting. We hope you will be able to make it to our next meeting.

June 2011 Pyowa Wrapup

We had our monthly Pyowa meeting yesterday, Thursday, June 2nd at the IMT Group building in West Des Moines. Refreshments were provided. There was pop and Little Caesar’s pizza.

We had two good talks. The first was given by Scott and he spoke on the topics of printing labels to a Dymo label printer using Python and IPP printing with Python. The Dymo printing was done using the PyWin32 library. Scott had written a module of his own that wrapped some of Dymo’s COM objects. Basically, he could pass a pre-created label file that had been created using the Dymo software to his module along with a string to print the label. For the second half of his talk, he told us about his use of the pkipplib module which allows him to print to any printer that uses IPP or via CUPS, the printing system typically found in Linux. You can read the module’s documentation for more information. From the sounds of it, you can print to the printer over HTTPS from anywhere, assuming your firewalls and the printer(s) are configured correctly.

The last talk was about Pisa (AKA xhtml2pdf ?) given by Matt. This allows the developer to create PDFs by writing HTML and then running it through Pisa. The module can use CSS to help style the report and it supports headers, footers and page breaks. Overall, it looks pretty cool.

Our next Pyowa meeting is July 7th, 2011. If you’d like to talk about something you’ve done in Python lately just email me: mike at pythonlibrary dot org or join the mailing list or leave a comment. Feel free to just come out and join the fun sometime too. We allow lightning talks too!

Pyowa – September 2010 Wrap-Up

This is for all you Pyowa home-boys out there what missed our gathering. We don’t know why you homebodies didn’t come and hang out and talk shop wit us, but we think you really truly missed out on our phat gathering. We had around 10 real homies show up to hear the jibber jabber about South, a Django data migration tool. We were supposed to hear about SWIG too, but ended up swigging pop (or soda for you southerners) and chowing down on free pizza instead.

Next time, we’ll be booking it at the Ames Public Library in (you guessed it!) Ames, IA on Thursday, October 7th. If you think you got the chops for talking about Python, drop me a line and I’ll hook you up.

August Pyowa Meeting Wrapup

We had our August 2010 Pyowa meeting last night in Ames at the Ames Public Library. Seven people attended the meeting, most of whom were regulars. I think we had one new guy or maybe he’s only been to one. Anyway, Scott presented on SqlAlchemy. He walked us through the basics using a movies example that I think get found on Jonathan Ellis’s site. He also talked about SqlSoup, Migrate, a couple other extensions and SqlAlchemy’s TurboGears 2 integration. In fact, he demoed a couple TurboGears applications as well.

Our next meeting will be in Des Moines at the IMT Group building. We are currently getting all the details nailed down for that, so be sure to check out the Pyowa website for updates or join our mailing list!

Pyowa – July 2010 Wrapup

On Thursday, July 1st, we had our July Pyowa meeting. It was hosted by Matt Morrison at the IMT Group’s building in Des Moines, IA. We had our largest attendance ever with a total of 15 men showing up. Tavern Pizza and pop were served, which was also a first…we’ve had pop before, just not any food!

We had two presentations. The first was an around 70 minutes in length and covered introductory materials about Django, a full-stack web framework written in Python. It was given by our host and he also included anecdotes about how his company uses Django and what challenges that has presented him. Next up we had a quick talk about TurboGears, another web framework. TurboGears is actually a collection of various Python modules that have been pieced together, which makes it much more modular than Django. However, Django has a lot more users behind it and there are some definite advantages to having everything builtin. Anyway, the TurboGears presentation covered a group of different web sites (or web applications) that the presenter had created. It was interesting to compare and contrast the two frameworks and see how they differed or stayed the same.

We are currently looking for presenters for our August and September meetings, so if you want to talk about how you’re using Python now, in the past or even what you plan to do with it in the future, let me know by emailing me or in the comments!

June Pyowa 2010 Wrap-up

We had our June Pyowa meeting last night in Ames, IA. There were NINE people in attendance, which is pretty big for our group. I think we’ve only managed that number of people on only one other occasion. Thanks goes out to everyone who spread the word and invited their friends.

At the meeting, I demoed a wxPython music player that I’ve been working on for around a month. It uses the cross-platform mplayer as its backend and wxPython for the front. Right now it allows the user to load a folder of mp3s into a custom list control (technically an ObjectListView widget instance) and play them one-by-one by either pressing the play button after selecting a track or by double-clicking a track. The player also displays cover art (if available), has a volume control and a playback slider.

Before I even started that demo though, I was asked about creating executables using py2exe, so I did an impromptu presentation on that subject using GUI2Exe. I rediscovered py2exe’s dislike of egg files when I tried to build the exe, so I had to unzip those so it could find the modules it needed for the project. Once that was done, the program compiled nicely.

Next time, we’ll be meeting in West Des Moines at the IMT Group building. Pizza and pop will be provided, so come hungry! The talks will be about Django, TurboGears and (maybe) SWIG. That will be happening on the 1st of July. I hope you can make it!

May 2010 Pyowa Wrap-up

Last night, we had our May 2010 Pyowa meeting. It is the only Python Users Group in Iowa and we welcome anyone who is programming in Python (or interested in learning Python) to come and be a part of our group. At this meeting, we had three good presentations. The first was given by Jim and his topic was web scraping. He uses a combination of Mechanize and lxml to scrape the Ames City website for archival purposes on one of his own websites.

Mechanize allows Jim to impersonate a browser and navigate a website. It can fill in forms, login with your supplied credentials, etc. He then uses lxml to parse the pages he wants and if he needs to download something, he just uses os.system in conjunction with wget. The beautiful soup library was also mentioned, but Jim didn’t use it. One of our other members said that their organization did use beautiful soup for a while and was pleased with the results.

Our next two presentations were given by a fellow named Kevin. He spoke on the Mercurial distributed version control system and Trac, a web-based issue tracker. Kevin walked us through how to set up a Mercurial repository, add files, branch, update, merge and more. He did all this using virtualenv, a handy way to isolate projects. After completing the Mercurial talk, Kevin showed us how to set up Trac with his Mercurial repository, add tickets, commit fixes to the tickets from within Mercurial, and various administration tools that are included with Trac. Kevin also highlighted some of the Trac and Mercurial plugins that he liked.

If you would like to come to our next meeting, it will be held at the same location, the Ames Public Library in Ames, IA on June 3rd, which is a Thursday. If you would like to share your experiences with Python or one of its many projects, that would be great! Please email me at mike at pythonlibrary dot org so we can get you scheduled. Watch our website for the most up-to-date information.

Pyowa: The Iowa Python Users Group

It’s been a while since I wrote about Pyowa, the Iowa Python Users Group that I founded. Our first meeting was September 24th, 2008 and I had high hopes for the group. However, it hasn’t grown much at all in almost two years. For some reason, we have meetings scheduled through July of this year anyway. We get 3-10 people at our meetings with an average of 4 or 5. Our next meeting is tomorrow, May 6th in Ames, IA. We’ll be meeting at the Ames Public Library from 7-8:45 p.m. Here’s what we’ll be covering:

  • Web Scraping
  • Mercurial source control
  • Trac: An Issue Tracking System

If you think you can come, let me know in the comments or by emailing me. If you have ideas for how to get more people to show up, please let me know. I could use some more good ideas. I hope to see you there!