Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Quick conferences report: Presentations

My lovely Fiancée, Audrey Roy, was invited to be the opening keynote speaker at both PyCon Australia on Diversity in Python (video) and PyCon New Zealand on Python on the Web.

As for me, I managed to get talks into both of those conferences AND DjangoCon US. I co-presented on three of them, and I share all credit for success with my cohorts. The talks I gave at the conferences were (I'll post videos when they get up):

Confessions of Joe Developer (PyCon Australia, DjangoCon US)
The genesis of this talk was as a lightning talk at I gave at the Hollywood Hackathon. It is a talk about admitting that us mere mortals need to ask questions, take notes, and follow good practices in general. I gave it again at LA Django this summer, extending it to a full length talk complete with lots of technical content. At PyCon Australia I toned down the technical content because I was nervous, and while the response was positive, it  could have been much better. So for DjangoCon I ramped up the tech-talk and it worked much better. I've now given the talk 4 times, and I'm leaning towards retiring it.

Python Worst Practices (PyCon New Zealand)
This talk grew out of a SoCal Piggies lightning talk which I gave for the purpose of humor. Often we as Python developers are smug in the clarity of the language that we don't realize just how easily we can obfuscate code. In fact, I contend that Python is fully capable of a code obfuscation contest. This talk rejects a lot of crazy practices I've either done myself or had to debug from other people's work. For New Zealand I added a ton of content and tested things pretty diligently. The variable naming pages stumped some people I really respect and I was quite happy with that result.

Django Packages Thunderdome (co-presented with Audrey Roy, DjangoCon US)
Audrey did most of the work for this presentation. In this talk I helped review a horde of Django Packages across 7 different categories. It was nerve wracking because every part of our talk would get judged - but Audrey kept things really positive and made it clear we were providing constructive criticism. I think she got her message across to most people, and more importantly, it got a lot of people thinking about what ought to be normal community standards. I'll probably blog on those community thoughts and statements later, but I think Audrey (with help from me) accomplished what she aimed to do.

View more presentations from Audrey Roy

Advanced Django Form Usage (co-presented with Miguel Araujo)
Some time ago Miguel befriended me and helped resurrect the django-uni-form project. He graciously agreed to help me present on Django Forms and we decided to make the talk as sophisticated as possible. Previous Django form talks have been good, but focused on the fundamentals and we wanted to do something really different. This talk was hard because Miguel and I were on opposite sides of the planet, so we did a lot of github pull/pushes. In both doing research and presenting Miguel did an unbelievably good job and I hope he does more of this in the future. The response was extremely positive and I'm certain that our plan of getting our notes/work/transcript into Django core is well on it's way.

Ultimate Django Tutorial Workshop (DjangoCon US)
I got about 10 professional Django experts in a room, including Django core developers, and had them help me coach nearly 20 people through a modified version of the Django tutorial. Students seemed to learn tons, lots of socializing happened thanks to some happy accidents, and the experts got a chance to really see where the Django tutorial needs work. PyLadies organizer Esther Nam spent her sprint days working on something that ties the slides into the Django Tutorial - and for now I'm holding off on sharing my work until she says her work is done.

These were amazing opportunities to speak and will hopefully make a difference. I wouldn't have traded all of this for the world. It was a lot of work, and I doubt I'll ever go quite at this pace again. My plan is to do fewer talks and make them much better.