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Packaging, testing, pypi and my Pycon Russia adventures

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A few days ago I talked at Pycon Russia on packaging and testing and a new PyPI Server implementation and workflow tool i am working on, codenamed devpi. See the slides and the video. The slides are converted from my hovercraft based presentation which you can find here (needs javascript).  devpi tries to solve the “standardization” problem around Python packaging by offering a good index server and a “meta approach” on configuring and invoking setup.py/easy_install/pip, incorporating existing practises and facilitating new ones.  The slides and the talk hopefully clarify a bit of the reasoning behind it.
Besides the good feedback and discussions around my talk, i just had a great few days. It was my first time to Russia and i saw and learned a lot.  One unexpected event was going to a russian Sauna with Amir Salihefendic, Russel Keith-Magee and Anton, a main conference organizer. Between going into the Sauna we had glasses of nice irish Whiskey or walked outside to the snowy freezing cold.  Afterwards some of us went to the conference party and had good (despite being somewhat drunken) discussions with people from Yandex, the biggest russian search engine and several russian devs. All very friendly, competent and funny. The party lasted until 5:30am – with my fellow english-speaking talkers Armin Ronacher, David Cramer (a weekend in Russia) and me being among the very last.

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David, Amir, Russel, and our russian hosts

The next days evening saw Amir, David, Armin and two russian guys visiting an Irish pub past midnight. It turned out there is no such thing as a “russian pub”, the concept of “pub” was imported in the last decade mostly in the form of english or irish ones. And it seems IT/Python guys can meet everywhere on the planet and have a good time 🙂

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Ice, Ekaterinburg at night, and an anonymous shop

Going back to content, i felt particularly inspired by Jeff Lindsay’s talk on Autosustainable services. He described how he tries to provide several small web services, and how to organize cost sharing by its users. As services need resources, it’s a different issue than Open Cource collaboration which does not require such to exist.

I heart several good sentences from my fellow talkers, for example one from Russel Keith-Magee describing a dillema of open source communities: “There are many people who can say ‘No’ but few who can say ‘Yes’ to something”. Amir Salihefendic desribed how the “Redis” database solved many problems for him, and some interesting concrete usages of “bitmaps” in his current endeavours like bitmapist.cohort. And of course Armin Ronacher and David Cramer also gave good talks related to their experience, Advanced Flask patterns and scalable web services respectively.  With Armin i also had a good private discussion about the issue of code-signing and verification.  We drafted what we think could work for Python packaging (more separately).  With David, i discussed workflow commands for python packaging as he offered some good thoughts on the matter.

Around the whole conference we were warmly cared for by Yulia’s company it-people.ru who overtook the physical organisation, and by Anton and his friends who organized the program.  Maria Kalinina in particular had cared for the keynote speakers and many other aspects of the conference, and without her, i wouldn’t have made it.  Anton drove us to the Asian European geographic border, and Yulia to the skyscraper of Ekaterinburg, overlooking the third largest city in Russia. Russel and me also took the opportunity to walk around Ekaterinburg, looking at Lenin sculptures, buildings made of ice, frozen lakes, and the many shops and noises in the city.

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Iced lake, Lenin forver, The Asia/Europe border

Lastly i went to the university with Russel to talk for two hours to students about “How Open Source can help your career” and we had a lively discussion with them and the lecturer who invited us.  I offered my own background and stated that the very best people in the IT world are today collaborating through open-source.  It’s a totally dominant model for excellence.  (Which doesn’t mean there are not some good proprietary projects, they are just fewer i’d say).

So i can join the many russian participants who thought Pycon Russia was a very good conference. It’s of course mostly interesting for people speaking russian, as only seven talks were in english.   For my part, the intense time i had with both the russian hosts and developers and the english talkers was verymuch worth it – i think there might be a few new collaborations coming from it.  More on that in later blog posts hopefully  🙂

Two days ago i left Ekaterinburg and felt a bit sad because of the many contacts i made, which almost felt like the beginning of friendships.

Written by holger krekel

March 1, 2013 at 12:38 pm

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