My Picks for PyCon 2010

Python    PyCon    2009-12-09

Following the lead of Catherine Devlin, Jesse Noller, and other Python bloggers, I've finally had a chance to comb through the list of talks for PyCon 2010 and come up with a few picks of my own. It goes without saying that I'll probably change my mind about a few of these talks once I get there and see what the schedule looks like, but this is my must-see list of the moment.

These are the two that I won't miss, under any circumstances:

On The Subject Of Source Code - Ian Bicking

    Miss another Ian Bicking talk? Not on your life ... I just hope they have the IRC channel open again ...

Powerful Pythonic Patterns - Alex Martelli

    I took a tutorial taught by Alex Martelli at Google I/O a few years ago - an introduction to Python for programmers working in other languages. That talk broke down a lot of barriers for me, and got me more excited about working in Python than I'd ever been before. While design patterns are not of particular interest to me at the moment, I'm convinced that whatever I learn here will matter to me down the road.

I'm a data geek, limited in my experience with those of the non-relational variety, so I'm going to catch as many of the talks on that track as I can.

Dude, Where's My Database? - Eric Florenzano

    Eric Florenzano is the person I trust most to educate me about Cassandra, Tokyo Cabinet, CouchDB and the like - he's passionate about his topics. And while this talk isn't specifically geared towards non-relational DBs, I know those will feature heavily.

To relate or not to relate, that is the question - Mark Ramm

    I expect this to be a slightly more objective comparison, and I'm curious to hear what Mark thinks.

Scaling Python webapps from zero to 50 million users - A top-down approach - Jinal Jhaveri

    Lolapps is a local company that's grown dramatically over the past year - my hope is that this will be a spirited case study in how they managed (or mis-managed) that growth.

Python for Large Astronomical Data Reduction and Analysis Systems - Francesco Pierfederici

    Every year, I go for at least one "fun" talk, one that is barely applicable to my current work but promises to be entertaining nonetheless. Last year it was scientists using Python to collect environmental data at the South Pole. This year, I'm turning my attention outward.

Some appealing runners-up:

What every developer should know about database scalability - Jonathan Ellis

Dealing with unsightly data in the real world - Alexander Dutton

Of all the Django talks (and there are a lot), these three are the ones I really want to catch:

Using Django in Non-Standard Ways - Eric Florenzano

    Yep, another Eric Florenzano talk. As someone who does not work in a Python/Django shop, I've been doing my best to sneak both the language and the framework in through the back door for a year now. I've only been moderately successful, and in the case of Django, only with what I would consider non-standard projects. I'm curious to hear what Eric's experiences have been, and I'm hoping he'll inspire a few new ideas.

Managing the world's oldest Django project - James Bennett

    I have a personal interest in attending this talk, but all that aside, I want to know how James and the Ellington team deal with the ongoing challenges of managing and maintaining this grey-haired codebase.

Building Leafy Chat, DjangoDose, and Hurricane, Lessons Learned on the Real-Time Web with Python - Alex Gaynor

    Again with the case studies - I think they're the best way to learn strategies for planning and maintaining your own projects.

The best of the rest (okay, perhaps not the best, but the ones I'd also like to attend):

Import this, that, and the other thing: custom importers - Brett Cannon

Why not run all your tests all the time? A study of continuous integration systems - Dr. C. Titus Brown

Python's Dusty Corners - Jack Diederich

Finally, although I hadn't planned to get into town in time for the tutorials, I might have to adjust my schedule after all. Having gotten a preview at Thanksgiving of what James is planning to go over, I think this could be an important talk for intermediate Django users who aren't offended by the word "bowels":

Django In Depth - James Bennett