PyCon 2019: Open Spaces

October 16, 2019

PyCon US 2019 absolutely blew me away.

And, yeah, I realize it was nearly six months ago. But there have been some things that have been lingering in my thoughts that I need to share.

The first thought is about:

Open spaces

At PyCon US, organizers set aside rooms for what they call “open spaces.”

If you have a topic you want to discuss, collaborate on, or play with, you would write that topic on a provided note card, and stick it on the grid. This reserves a particular room for a segment of time.

These open spaces are an incredible component that made my experience at PyCon better than any other conference I’ve been to. It really allows you to drill in on topics that you want to know about and meet other people in the Python world.

In particular, one of the open spaces I attended was for asynchronous web development.

I was excited to see this topic as an open space. I was hoping to learn some of the emerging best practices for developing websites to take advantage of the new asynchronous web frameworks, hear stories of what gains other developers have found, or learn from the challenges others have experienced.

Instead, I experienced the most impressive open source collaboration I’ve ever seen.

What I saw were three maintainers, one each from Django, Flask, and Twisted, at a table discussing challenges with enabling the asynchronous workflow.

This was impressive to me, as in the weeks before PyCon, I read many discussions where someone was asking for recommendations for python web frameworks. Most of the commenters treated these questions as an opportunity to promote one framework and bash another.

And yet, here were three of the top maintainers of the very projects being bashed, effectively saying to the others, “The package you maintain is truly important to the python ecosystem, and I want to help make it stronger.”

It was quite inspiring to me.

It made me realize that while there’s a segment of the Python world who spread negativity, there are also a lot of friendly, smart, and amazing people that are worth meeting and knowing.

So thank you, Amber Brown, Andrew Godwin, and David Lord, for showing me one of the best parts of the python community.

It’s your turn

I’m so very thankful that I had the privilege to have been in that room.

I realize that everyone’s situation is different, but I would encourage you to see if you can go to PyCon next year, or another conference near you.Also, you should read my thoughts about meeting people at PyCon.

In fact, now would be a real good time to start the conversation about going.

PyCon US 2020 is six months away. But more importantly, chances are your manager or your manager’s manager is starting to think about next year’s budget.

Many companies will use funds from employee development or training to send people to conferences, and for good reason. A great conference, like PyCon, can give you a boost that will benefit you and the company.

If you go, let me know. I would love to meet you!

Over the last ten years, I’ve learned many ways to mess up a python project. From dependency issues to messing up web deployments, I’ve lived through many headaches.

Now, I’m collecting good practices I’ve learned into a book, to help you avoid hours of stress.

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