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DjangoCon Europe 2013 Day 1

Raphael Kimmig, 15 Mai 2013

The venue

So we've just come back to the hostel from the first day of DjangoCon Europe 2013 in Warsaw and I thought I'd do a short recap.

First of all, the venue is something special. They have organized a circus tent that they placed outside a horse racing track with additional support tents for food and registration. The contrast of watching a tech talk inside the tent and then stepping outside onto a green sunny field is really awesome.

The one thing that I really disliked is the fact that there is no real coffee to be found anywhere. The only thing you can get is instant coffee that lacks even the slightest hint of taste. But oh well, worse things do happen.

Also, because the airport is quite close it can at times be difficult to understand the speakers (whenever a big airplane is coming in low over head), but it is more an annoyance than a real problem.

Enough with the criticism. All in all I really enjoyed this day and I'd like to thank all the volunteers who make this event possible. You are awesome!

I assume/hope that videos of the talks will be made available and I'll update this post with the appropriate links as soon as possible.

The talks

If you have time for only one talk I would suggest "Profiling in Python" - it just is a great talk. For me personally "Advanced PostgreSQL in Django" was quite helpful because it made me realize that even when I did it I felt bad about embracing the features of my database of choice.

Other than that the keynote as well as Zed Shaw's talk both were a lot of fun.

Keynote by Brandon Rhodes

A fun ride with Copernic: How sticking to a beautiful idea against all evidence can lead to a better understanding of the universe, how changing the center of a system can make things much easier and how we sometimes build walls in our heads that don't allow us to think of certain solutions.

Recommendation: A funny and insightful talk, worth watching if you like the power of ideas.

Circus: process & socket manager by Tare Ziadé

A new process manager developed at mozilla that is more interactive than e.g. supervisord, based on bottle, zeromq and psutil. Gives you a shiny real time web console with live stats. I haven't tried it yet - but I will definitely check it out.

Recommendation: If you are interested in operations watch this or at least check out circus itself.

Processing payments for the paranoid by Andy McKay

An overview of how mozilla structured their marketplace and payment with a layered architecture. Introduction to django-paranoia which provides paranoid forms and sessions that can be configured to create security alerts for various suspicous operations.

Recommendation: Have a look if you are interested in secure architectures, if you just want to process payments in your django app this might not be the right talk for you.

The imaginative programmer by Zed Shaw

Thoughts about creativity and the creative process.

Recommendation: If you are not afraid of swear words you will have a good time watching this.

Advanced PostgreSQL in Django by Christophe Pettus

The gist of it is: If you are not writing a library it doesn't make sense to restrict yourself to the ORM. Your project is probably never going to switch databases so use the features your database provides to make things better now.

Recommendation: Watch this if you tend to wrestle with the ORM until it nearly does what you want it to even though one simple SQL statement would solve your problem.

Getting recommendations out of nothing by Annia Warzecha

An introduction to recommender systems. Explains the basic approaches, typical problems as well as solutions and finishes with a case studie of building a recommender for an online car part retailer.

Recommendation: If you want an introduction to the field of recommender systems give this one a spin.

How to combine JavaScript & Django in a smart way by Przemek Lewandowski

A description of the stack they use (angular/ember + coffeescript + requirejs + django-require + django-rest-framework + django-storage), and explanations for some of the choices they made.

Recommendation: If JavaScript for you means embedding jQuery snippets in your page this talk may give you an idea about some of the many possible choices that are out there.

Profiling in Python by Amjith Ramanujam

Starts off with the basics of profiling in python and ends with a fun rundown of how to write your own statistical profiler. If you want to see Amjith's work in acion there is a 30 day free trial promo for new relic pro (

Recommendation: Probably the best talk of the day - if you are a python programmer you will enjoy this talk (even if you thought you couldn't care less about profiling).

Migrating The Future by Andrew Godwin

A gaze into the future of database migrations with django by the creator of south. How django.core.migrations will fix things that are wrong with south and where things are going.

Recommendation: Watch if you are curious about the future, sooner or later you will want to look at this anyway. And it is really exciting. :-)

Having your pony and committing it too by Jacob Burch

How to get started with commiting to django. Has some nice quotes from current core developers about how starting out felt for them. Topped off with a live session of submitting a fix to django and getting feedback from Russell Keith-Magee.

Recommendation: If you want to contribute but feel intimidated, watch this talk. Even if you don't want to contribute now, just watch it - especially the interaction with Russell is very enjoyable.