Registration for PyCon 2007 is now open

Online registration for PyCon 2007 is now open. Please go to us.pycon.org/TX2007/Registration for instructions and a link to the registration form.

Register before January 15th to get the lower early-bird rate.
And don't forget to also book your hotel room before February 1st
to get the conference rate; see us.pycon.org/Addison/Hotels
for details.

This year's pricing is:
Regular Student
Early-bird registration (before Jan. 15 2007) US$195 $125
Online/mail registration (before Feb. 16 2007) US$260 $150
At the conference US$360 $250

Our apologies for the delays in getting registration open.


Notes on proposal selection

Now that the schedule has been drafted, here are some more notes on the proposals this year.

Thanks to the program committee, who wrote brief reviews of all the proposals:
  • Chair: Nicholas Bastin
  • Aahz
  • David Ascher
  • George Belotsky
  • Michael Bernstein
  • Brett Cannon
  • Kendall Clark
  • Catherine Devlin
  • Mary Gardiner
  • Grig Gheorghiu
  • David Goodger
  • Garry Hodgson
  • Peter Kropf
  • Ivan Krstić
  • Michelle Levesque
  • Duncan McGreggor
  • Anna Martelli Ravenscroft

104 proposals were submitted. The first estimate of the available time added up to about 50 talks, but the posted schedule has space for 69 talks. Despite this increase, a number of good talks still weren't accepted for various reasons; for example the proposal might have overlapped with another accepted talk, or we may have wanted to fit in more talks about a different application domain. If your proposal didn't get accepted, sorry; please consider giving a lightning talk or holding an open-space session.

Last year about 80 proposals were submitted. This year's number of 104 is roughly a 30% increase. Maybe this is because we did more publicity for the Call for Proposals, or maybe more people in the central US became aware of PyCon after last year's conference. I don't know if this means that the conference will also get a 30% increase in attendees; we'll see.


An abundance of lightning talks

The lightning talk session is invariably one of the more popular blocks at PyCon. Lightning talks have a strict 5-minute time limit, so ten or eleven talks fit into an hour and the audience learns about several projects or ideas very quickly. The short length also forces speakers to dispense with preliminaries and concentrate on
two or three major points. Speakers like lightning talks because they're easy to prepare; three or four slides, perhaps a quick demo, and you're done.

This is why PyCon 2007 will have four lightning talk sessions.
  • Friday, 12:45 PM (during lunch; sponsors have first priority).
  • Friday, 5:30 PM.
  • Saturday, 5:55 PM.
  • Sunday, 4:25 PM.

The lunchtime session on Friday is for PyCon sponsors to give lightning talks about their product, job openings, or whatever they wish.

See the LightningTalks wiki page for information on signing up to be a speaker.

Talks and tutorial lists announced

After much delay, the slate of talks and tutorials for PyCon 2007 is now public.

An early draft of the conference schedule is also available. This schedule is still subject to change -- speakers may report conflicts that will require some rearrangement, and session times may still shift around a little. Be especially cautious if you're selecting what time to leave on Sunday; if the Sunday afternoon talks are shuffled, you might have to miss an interesting session.

This draft of the schedule is published using Google™ Spreadsheets as a temporary measure; soon we'll switch to using our own conference application for the schedule.


Poll: T-shirt and tote bag slogans

The PyCon organizers have established a short online poll to collect input from the Python community regarding the shirts, tote bag and slogans to be used at PyCon 2007, being held in Addison (Dallas), Texas Feb 23-25 2007.

When we put out a prior call for slogan suggestions, we received 104 submissions. We've since reviewed them, narrowed them down to a number reasonable for voting on, and now you can help us decide the winner! Actually, two winners: one slogan for the T-shirt and another for the tote bag.

Please take the poll at the following page. We've tried to keep it short, to respect your time.



Keynote Speakers for PyCon 2007

The PyCon organizers would like to announce the slate of keynote speakers who have accepted our invitation to speak at PyCon 2007!

For photos, biographies and more, click on the link above.

Ivan Krstić (speaking Friday AM)

Topic: "The Python machine: Python and One Laptop per Child"

Adele Goldberg (speaking Saturday AM)

Topic: TBD (probably something related to Zope 3 and Education)

Guido van Rossum (speaking Saturday Lunch)

Topic: "Python 3000"

Robert M. Lefkowitz ("r0ml") (speaking Sunday AM)

Topic: "The Importance of Programming Literacy"


Last call for PyCon tutorials

Last call if you're thinking about submitting a tutorial proposal: the deadline for submitting PyCon tutorials is Wednesday, November 15th. See the Call for Tutorials for more information.


Wanted: suggestions for sprint kickoff activities

Last year, there were about 80 people who stayed after PyCon for the sprints that began on Monday. 80 people are a mini-conference in their own right, but on Sunday the scheduled events ran down around 3PM because most attendees are leaving to catch flights out.

Co-chair Jeff Rush has suggested that we should have more activities (whether technical or simply fun) on Sunday evening for the sprinters. Do you have any suggestions?

Rearranging the rooms

(Reviewing of proposals is still going on; nothing to report at the moment.)

PyCon 2007 is in the same hotel as the 2006 conference, and we have the same set of rooms available to us.

At a chat session of PyCon organizers on October 30th, we decided to make some radical changes in how we'll be using the rooms. Credit should be given to Doug Napoleone for suggesting this rearrangement. Here's the plan:

  • Ballroom A-E, Ballroom F-J: refereed talks (just like last year).
  • Mesquite (last year's quiet room): 3rd track of refereed talks.
  • Preston Trail and Bent Tree: will both be divided into 3 rooms each = 6 small rooms total. 5 of these rooms will be available for open-space discussions; the 6th will be the conference logistics and storage area.
  • Addison (last year's conference storage room): will be the quiet room.

This rearrangement has a bunch of potential advantages:

  • People complained that Preston Trail was too long and skinny for talks; if you were in the back, the screen is very far away. Mesquite is more rectangular, but only seats 15 fewer people (210 to Preston Trail's 225) in theatre style, not much of a loss in seating.
  • 2006's conference had too little open space: available slots were snapped up very quickly. Having 5 smaller rooms that seat about 50-60 people each will make more slots available; I expect the attendees will still manage to fill all the slots.
  • Staff won't need to run all the way to Addison to get supplies; instead we'll use the Bent Tree room closest to the registration desk for storage.
  • Because of its remote location, Addison should have fewer people talking outside it and be quieter than Mesquite.


Proposal submission closes

The deadline for submitting talk proposals was yesterday, and the submission application is now no longer accepting new entries.

102 104 proposals were received. (Two proposals arrived a little bit past the deadline.) We expect to accept 50-60 talks for PyCon 2007; the exact number will depend on the final balance of 30- and 45-minute talks. This means we will have to decline roughly half of the talks.

We received many more proposals than last year's conference.
We received 71 proposals for PyCon 2006, and ended up accepting 56 of them.

(The planned lower number of acceptances for PyCon 2007 is because the draft schedule has more lightning talk sessions than 2006's schedule.)

Now the hard part for the program committee begins: reviewing all these proposals! The process is described on the ReviewerNotes page.


Two panels added on web technologies and on python-dev

Doug Napoleone is encouraging people to organize panel discussions; see the Call for Proposals for details.

Two panels are already being arranged. Titus Brown has asked for ideas for a Web Framework panel, and there will also be a python-dev panel.

PyCon proposals: one week left!

Remember, the deadline for submitting talk proposals is October 31st, exactly one week away. Everyone always seems to send things in at the last minute, but don't delay too much longer; use the proposal system to submit your talk.

Talks at PyCon that Teach How to Be Better Programmers

I've been looking over the mix of talk proposals we have so far for PyCon 2007. We're got 17 so far, with a good number of case histories. Now case histories are good, don't get me wrong, we want Python to be successful and it is interesting to hear how it is being used. But according to the feedback forms from last year, we need more talks that actually teach you how to be better programmers, especially if we want to bring new talent into the community.

Where are the talks about how to best use select features of the language, that demonstrate how to use some of the more powerful design patterns in Python? Python 2.4 and 2.5 have added significant new capabilities to the language and we need the advance scouts to help some of us just now discovering them. Many of us do not adopt new features as soon as they appear.

Often at PyCon we have looked to people like Alex Martelli to get down and dirty with aspects of the language, but unfortunately he is unable to make it in 2007. Who else is good at explaining how and when to apply language constructs?

Not sure where to start? For brainstorming here are four talks I've not seen at recent PyCons and that I think would be well received.

How to Optimize Your Python Programs?
  • optimization - speed or memory?
  • common mistakes
    • use of repeated append on strings
    • not using PyNum when doing array operations
      • such as graphics, sound
    • close your handles, release your objects where possible
    • what slows Python down?
      • looping?
      • function calls?
    • methods to speed things up
      • pre-binding
      • push looping into C extensions
      • code in C extensions releases global lock and speeds up execution on multicores
      • shrinking your memory footprint
Key Python Technologies You Should Know
The idea of this talk is to highlight some of the cross-domain technologies that a programmer would find useful in his toolbelt as he moves among problems or job positions.
  • criteria for inclusion in talk:
    • cross-platform
    • cross-domain
    • of general use, not obscure or a niche
  • docutils, reST docstrings, READMEs, page templates, wiki markup, doctests)
  • interfaces/adapters
  • eggs
  • unit test frameworks
  • DB-API?
Taking Your Programming Environment to a New Level
What do skilled Python programmers keep around them that makes them better programmers?
  • pymacs, pyvim
  • pylint
  • ipython and other command shells
  • brief walk-thru of GUI IDEs
  • keeping docs at your fingertips
  • books to keep at your side
(this talk could be run as a panel among experts)

What the Heck Does "Pythonic Programming Style" Mean Anyway?
The term is often tossed at someone on the list, but what the heck
are they talking about? How can a newbie learn the style?
  • common idioms you see in source code
  • attributes versus getters/setters
  • package dir layouts
    • import all in __init__?
    • fully name-qualify all imports?

I've included links to the wiki pages holding the outlines in hopes that people will suggest additional topics to cover.

To give a talk, visit the conference proposals page.

Jeff Rush
PyCon 2007 Co-Chair


Reminder: Bids wanted for hosting PyCon 2008

I'd like to remind everyone that the PSF is still looking for bids for hosting PyCon 2008. Groups interested in hosting the 2008 conference need to have a proposal ready at the time of the 2007 conference, which is at the end of February 2007.

For more details on preparing a bid, please read a posting in the PSF weblog titled "So you want to host PyCon 2008..." and read the list of location requirements.


Hotel registration now open

The hotel's registration page for PyCon is now available; follow the link from the us.pycon.org hotel page to reserve rooms at the convention's room rate of $79 for 1-2 people or $89 for 3-4 people.

Most people will want to see the conference program in order to figure out the length of their stay, so I don't expect many people to make reservations now. The conference program should be published some time in the last two weeks of November.

Educator activities, and panel discussions

Jeffrey Elkner has created a wiki page for education-related activities at PyCon. If you're interested, please sign up!

Doug Napoleone is drafting a call for panel discussions. Some ideas for web-related panels have been added to the Talk Ideas wiki page, and Jeff Rush explains further. Brett Cannon is thinking about organizing a python-dev panel. What other panel topics would be good?

For people not familiar with panels: they're moderated discussions where 3-5 people discuss an issue. A moderator keeps the discussion moving and also has a list of topics for discussion so that the conversation doesn't die out. For PyCon, panels may end up being 45 minutes long; 30 minutes of discussion between the panelists and 15 minutes for audience questions and comments.

And remember... only two weeks are left to submit proposals!



I arrived at PyCon in time to catch lunch and a repeat of the history of Python talk that Guido gave at Google NYC on Wednesday. The first regular talk I went to was Adrian Holovaty's talk on Django. Steve Holden posted a nice summary of the Django talk. I'm still getting caught up on email and finishing my slides so I'll limit myself to one or two additions to Steve's post.

I like the scheme for mapping URLs to Python functions that provide the implementation. There is a regex-based mapping scheme that allows you to change the implementation (call a different function) without changing the urls. Adrian observed that the mapping file is also a great catalog of the software running in the site.

The key components of Django are:
  • A URL dispatcher
  • A database wrapper
  • A template system
  • An admin framework
There's nothing particularly surprising about this list. I like the emphasis on modularity he described. You can use any of the components in isolation (or none of them at all). It's nice to keep the components independent in this way. Zope, for example, is less modular. There are deep entanglements between Zope and ZODB, some of which I never figured out. I'm less certain about Zope3. Can you use individual components without also using the component model?

More random comments on my personal blog.


PyCon 2006

The PyCon schedule for 2006 was just posted. Three Googlers are giving talks this year.
The discount registration rate is available for two more weeks: register for PyCon.