Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Changing over to .NET

After a lot of thought and meditation I have decided that it is time for a change. This change has been in the works for a long time. I want to belong to something monolithic and proprietary, and I think that .NET on Windows is the way to go.

The .NET platform empowers me with the ability to choose from a host of languages like C#, asp.NET, vb.NET, Boo, IronPython, IronRuby, and many more. And after long and careful consideration I have decided that my next language of choice will be C#.

C# is under the stalwart auspices of Microsoft itself, instead of some guy from Denmark. It has static typing and thanks to compilation most bugs are caught quickly. The curly braces clearly delineate code blocks, and the semi-colons show me when a statement ends. Partial classes will let me spread my object code across many files, and lambda expressions will let me compress complicated functionality into generic functions. Documentation is done via XML rather than the RestructuredText used across the Python community.

Of course, Visual Studio has a lot of visual elements. I am not sure what that means, but being Visual is obviously superior to the TextMates and EMACS I have used in the past. I can't afford Visual Studio yet, but if I don't buy any groceries for myself, wife, and son, I should be able to pay for my copy in only 2-4 months!

In summary this year looks very exciting.

Update: This was an April Fool's joke.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Day 3 Pycon-09 talks I'm attending

  • How AlterWay releases web applications using zc.buildout.
  • A winning combination: Plone as a CMS, your favorite Python web framework as a frontend
  • Using Sphinx and Doctests to provide Robust Documentation
  • Designing a web framework: Django's design decisions
I also plan to attend NASA BOF at 4 p.m and likely the odd Django and Pinax BOF that springs up.

Best Pycon 2009 Day Ever!

Yesterday was a day I don't think I will ever be able to top again. I think it was the pinnacle of my geeky existence, and I fear that the rest of my life will be a dull effort to recapture the glory that was yesterday. Why do I think this is so?
  • My project, NASA SMD Spacebook got mention during Katie Cunningham's lightning talk.
  • I lost one of the Django BFDL's dongle And everyone in the worldwide Python community saw it happen live.
  • Guido van Rossum talked about twitter in his keynote. He referred to a twit post which was Barbara Shaurrette helping me get a chance to gush at him like a screaming fan boy. So yes, Guido is aware that I exist!
  • NASA SMD Spacebook got multiple mentions in the Pinax talk by James Tauber.
  • In Ian Bicking's infamous pycon 2009 talk I managed to misspell Whiskey/Whisky twice! Once the Old Country way and once the New World way.
  • I got a 3 minute opportunity to gush like a raving fan boy to Guido before he managed to escape.
  • Zed Shaw kicked me in the nuts!
Best. Pycon. 2009. Day. Ever.

That said, in the hopes that I can top this magnificent effort, I am calling this post the 'Best Pycon 2009 Conference Day'. My hope is that maybe I can beat it in the future. I doubt it. Sob.

Update: I beat this day the next year when I met Audrey Roy.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Day 2 Pycon-09 talks I'm attending

My sinister session plan:
  1. The State of Django
  2. Pinax
  3. State of TurboGears
  4. ORM
  5. Google App Engine
  6. Plone in the cloud
  7. Topics of Interest

Friday, March 27, 2009

Day 1 Pycon-09 talks I'm attending

This looks to be a very test heavy day. I'm going to be very familiar with the ABC ballroom. I'm wearing a t-shirt with Maurice Sendak's awesome Where the Wild Things Are characters on it.

  • Using Windmill
  • Building a config-driven test framework with Twill
  • Strategies for testing AJAX applications
  • Building an automated test infrastructure using OS python tools
  • Coverage the testing: Good, bad, and ugly
  • Building tests for large, untested code bases
  • Behind the scenes at Everyblock.com

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Pycon Tutorials attended by me

I'm attending four tutorials. My choices in the tutorials were driven by work I see coming towards me and my own greedy desires.

Session 1 - Working with Excel Files in Python
I chose this tutorial because whether or not I like Excel is moot. What is of importance is that people often want exports in Excel. Some customers can really spin Excel, and it is part of their critical tool set. Supporting this need ensures more work for me (and Python at NASA SMD) going forward. Notice how I don't mention Excel imports?

Session 2 - Django in the Real World
We are using Django for the NASA SMD Spacebook project. I've gotten what I think is a pretty good handle on Django, but a nice reinforcement might save a lot of headaches down the road.

Session 3 - Scrape the Web
I love to use BeautifulSoup (BS) for web scraping. BS makes it more a game than a chore. Mechanize needs to get into my toolset ASAP. My goal is to pick up some handy new tricks for scraping.

Session 4 - Internet Programming with Python
I'll admit a weakness. My understanding of network protocols is negligible. I'm going to use this class as a springboard to more knowledge.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Heading off to Pycon 2009!

Tomorrow I'm boarding a flight to go from Washington, DC to Chicago, IL to experience another Pycon. Pycon is the big Python Conference here in the USA.

You can thank the NASA Science Mission Directorate and Indyne Incorporated for sending me to Pycon 2009. I would like to toss out a hearty thank you to the following people for helping me get to this conference:
  • Ruth Netting
  • Jim Consalvi
  • Corin Turner
  • Kathryn Luke
  • Malik Abdul Mahmad
  • Candace Solomon
  • Meredith Mengel
  • Vicky Niblett
You can thank these people in person at Pycon:
  • Katie Cunningham
  • James Saint-Rossy
  • Chris Shenton
I can't wait to meet old friends and make new ones. To again gawk at the feet of Guido van Rossum and other luminaries like a gushing schoolgirl over a boy band (All with the proper decorum of course).

While I'm there I guess I need to sheepishly admit to Bruce Eckels an apology. My idea was off. Lets just say that Pycon needs to keep corporate endorsements in the vendor area. It doesn't need help anywhere else. ;)

I am taking a whopping four tutorials, then attending the full conference, then working hard through four days of sprinting. I had thought of volunteering to help with a session or two but backed off since I am not paying my own way there. Instead I will stay focused on the task at hand, which is learning, networking, and contribution to various projects that NASA SMD is interested in supporting.

Look me up if you are there. I'll be playing with the other Python, Django, Plone, Pinax, and Zope kids.

My conference schedule:

For those of you who sent me resumes, you are not forgotten! We had hoped to get formal responses to everyone by Pycon but that was not in the cards. Feel free to chat if we bump into each other.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Looking for work?

I work for NASA doing python, plone, and django. My groups has lots of work (developing new applications and maintaining existing ones) and a need for more staff. We are looking for both hungry beginners new to python and experienced pythonistas. We would prefer to hire for local (Washington, DC) full-time positions, but we are also open to consulting from afar.

You do need to be a U.S. citizen and willing to undergo a basic background check. Besides, that, anything goes!

If you are interested, please contact me emailing daniel dot greenfeld dash 1 at nasa dot gov.