Last week, I visited the lovely Bay Area to attend the 0th Pylons Miniconference in San Francisco. The idea for a miniconference was the brainchild of Whit Morriss of SurveyMonkey . Unlike other brains, Whit's brain actually birthed this idea with some violence. Whit cajoled, begged, and threatened in order to make this conference happen. In the space of two weeks, he put together an amazing talk track and secured two great venues. I am extremely grateful to him and Kareem Issa of SurveyMonkey, and of course to the other folks at SurveyMonkey who sponsored this conference singlehandedly, including venue fees, catering and my own trip expenses! To be honest, I still can't believe Whit, Kareem, and SurveyMonkey pulled it off. Without them, we would have all been sitting in our respective houses or apartments eating snack mix instead of conferencegoing! Thanks also to NextSpace and Yelp for providing facilities. And many thanks to all the people who agreed to present!
The first evening I got there (Thursday), I gave an "Intro to Pryamid" talk to a somewhat sparse crowd (shame on you if you didn't show up, but more beer for us!) of Python folks at SurveyMonkey headquarters. This event served as the christening of the Palo Alto Python/Pylons user group too. We had a good time. I wound up later at a diner in SF with Mark Ramm, eating a burger, after Whit was nice enough to ferry us from Palo Alto into San Francisco.
The next day (Friday), we had a stream of great talks, starting at about noon at a venue named NextSpace (a coworking facility). First, Ben Bangert gave a keynote about the Pylons Project, in which he discussed the need to bootstrap more folks into Pyramid and other Pylons technologies. A bunch of good discussion ensued. I then gave a mediocre talk about Pyramid Views which was received mostly with crickets, but I had fun all the same. We then heard from a panel of folks including Scott Chacon of Github, Eric Florenzano of Convore, Evan Cooke of Twilio and Jinal Jhaveri of Log(n) about "Technological Decision Making for Startups". The world of startups is mostly opaque to me, so I was interested to hear what they had to say.
We then moved over en masse to Yelp HQ, where we continued the talk track. Yelp was very gracious to us, letting us drink (the majority of) their beer (on tap: "The Denogginator" at 10% ABV, quite dangerous). At Yelp, Frank Wierzbicki of Jython fame gave a talk about "Writing Code For Different Pythons", where he explained more or less how to write implementation-portable code. Then David Cramer of Disqus took the stage to talk about "Continuous Deployment with Python" in which he discussed Disqus' approach to always being ready to release software; very informative. At this point, I'll note that we were a full 30 minutes behind schedule, mostly due to the Denogginator I think, but it really didn't matter. Rob Miller of Mozilla (and formerly of MochiMedia) then gave a talk about "Porting Pylons 1.0 Apps to Pyramid", which was my personal favorite talk of the conference. Rob cracks me up. Shannon jj Behrens gave a talk about Behavior Driven Development, which included some demonstrations of the DSL-based system they use at Twilio to do acceptance testing. I thought that talk was good, albeit maybe a little too hostile to unit testing as a concept for my tastes, but still informative. We then had lighting talks . Then a happy hour, which to be honest was just extraneous for me as I was already Denogginated. Friday night found me looking to procure Dave Chappelle tickets from a scalper, but it was not to be. Later we went to see a midnight showing of The Room (which is the worst movie ever made) at the Red Vic somewhere in SF. The attraction of seeing the movie was that everyone just screamed insults at the screen for its entire showing length, kind of Rocky-Horror-picture-show-style. Complete entertainment.
On Saturday, we had a sprint back at NextSpace. There were about 10 attendees. I planned for this day poorly. I had aimed to do some work on SourceForge's "Allura" software, which is their new project management system (Wiki, source control, tracker, etc), recently ported to Pyramid. But I was in a particularly strong "dont wanna" mode at the sprint, so I basically did nothing; I didn't even get the thing installed. I did dick around with a buildout for it, but it went nowhere. Michael Bernstein is the only person I know of who has provided evidence of getting anything done at the sprint (particularly impressive given the stop energy I was laying on him). He created a cool buildout for Pyramid on GAE . A group of us then wound up going out for refreshments at an Irish bar, after which we crashed Philipp von Weitershausen's housewarming party. Also good times.
Obligatory photos (these were the only ones that turned out reasonably, sorry):
Apologies, I still don't have a completely composed idea of where videos of the conference or other talk slides have ended up. But these are the likely places that info will be (or is already):
There is talk of another upcoming minicon in NYC in June. I'm sure to post more here when I know more about it. Thanks again to Whit and SurveyMonkey for a great time, and a positive outcome for all involved!