PyCon-DE 2011 (en)

The first PyCon-DE ever is over. It was a huge success, both from my own POV and from what I heard from others. Quite a number of interesting talks from a very broad spectrum, loads of people that I either knew already, always wanted to meet, or had never heard of but found interesting to talk to. The organisation worked out impressively well, even the food was as good as it was diverse.

One of the major outcomes was the formation of the "Python Software Verband e.V." as a successor to the previous Zope centered "DZUG e.V.". The new direction will make it much easier to gather the German speaking Python community under a common umbrella, and to enforce the Python lobbying in Germany, Austria and Switzerland.

I gave two talks on Cython and lxml, as well as a tutorial on Cython. All of them were well received (although I''m still waiting for the final feedback on the tutorial) and gave the chance for interesting discussions. Both Cython and lxml continue to be best of breed tools and hot topics in the community, and I received a lot of backslapping for making lxml the one great XML tool for Python over the last few years. One of the keynote speakers, Paul Everitt, whom I wanted to meet for a while until I finally got the chance now, even put up a huge slide right in his talk with only two names on it, that of Martijn Faassen (the original author of lxml) and mine. I''m finally getting famous. ;)

I spent some time talking to Kay Hayen, who has written a static Python compiler called Nuitka. It was not surprising that he bumped into a lot of the problems that we met with Cython as well. He's right in that I''m not entirely happy about the fact that he started a completely separate project instead of helping with Cython, but that's OpenSource. People are free to reinvent as many wheels as they like. From what I understand, Nuitka aims to become a subset of what Cython heads for, just coming from a different side. Cython has originally been an extension language and is now additionally evolving into a Python compiler, whereas Nuitka is plainly targeted at being a Python compiler. But I wouldn't mind getting surprised at some point. So far, Kay has certainly shown a remarkable investment and was pretty successful.

It was nice to see in a couple of presentations that the kind of things that the company I currently work for is doing in Java is done in Python in other places. For example, an internal department at SAP is developping a Web based client infrastructure for SAP systems in Python, including a transparent object-to-SAP mapper (similar to ORMs), offline caching mechanisms, etc. From the presentation, it sounded very much like this could be useful for talking to SAP in general, not only for web clients. And it may become open source at some point.

Another feel-alike talk was about PyTAF, a graphical application integration framework for financial applications that is being developped in-house at LBBW in Stuttgart. It aims to do more or less the same as the code we write in Java, but has a graphical frontend for putting together integration flows. And, it's Python, which is a serious advantage for this kind of software. It even uses lxml.objectify internally for data processing - best choice ever! :)

It may well be that next year's PyCon-DE will take place at the same location. It worked so well that there's no reason for a change. Although Berlin would also be a great location...