Preparing for EuroPython2011, Florence here I come

Waking up on a Monday morning in Florence with a European Python conference to look forward to is going to be a blast. Cappuccino and brioche typical breakfast in one of the most beautiful places on Earth, then talks by the likes of Raymond Hettinger and Alex Martelli on something as fun and brain expanding/optimizing as Python in the ellegant spaces of Grand Hotel Mediterraneo (photos here), architecture and ice cream (both Italian and Ben&Jerry’s), meeting people both known and soon to be known. So motivating too, to be reminded you are not the only one for whom programming and creative uses of programming are more then just a job!

Don’t waste your time on being sad, if you can’t go. Soak up the enthusiasm and knowledge from the PyCon Italy website, which offers very good videos of last year’s talks (like Hettinger’s talk on AI with Python). Just go to the website of any of the previous editions and then to the speaker’s page inside the website. Just remember that this year’s edition’s website doesn’t list the previous years’ talks for the speakers, so if you don’t see any listed it doesn’t mean it didn’t happen. I’ll provide some useful links at the end of this post. I’ll also be tweeting from EuroPython, live, so you can check that out too.

Florence and Tuscany appear to be a bit of a Python capital in Italy. Italian PyCon organizers are great (Python Italia non-profit organization). I’ve enjoyed the last year’s edition very much, and find their energy and approach to be really inspiring. Totally looking forward to meeting them again.

European Python programming language conference Florence EuroPython2011 PyCon

A person travels three times, they say. When you prepare for the trip, when you actually arrive and afterwards, when you recollect your travels. Accordingly to that theory, I am already travelling as I write this post and you are travelling with me as you read it. Click “continue reading” if you want more details, and follow this blog and my twitter account for updates.

Click “Continue reading” for more highlights from EuroPython2011.


Ok, these are longer than they should be. But it’s all good useful info! Plus I’m only scratching the surface, there are many other talks that I don’t even mention! Some decisions maybe are easier then they look, since some talks seem to be available on multiple days. Enjoy.


We start off in greatness with Martelli on API design and Hettinger (who gives his own API talk Tuesday) on what makes Python so awesome. I can certainly benefit from improving my API skills. Writing software that other people’s software needs to interact with is a fine and necessary art!

In the afternoon there will be choices to make. At the moment I am keen on seeing the talk about the Merengue Django based CMS (content management system) by Manuel Saelices of Yaco Sistemas.

Sure, the Gevent talk by Denis Bilenko is intriguing as well, but I don’t know how much highly-concurrent network and web applications will I be writing this year, so I should probably stick to CMS stuff for now. And miss the MongoDB stuff, though it sounds interesting.

Then I have to chose between creating a hosting platform, Python projects for Ubuntu (Paolo Sammicheli) and 5 years of bad ideas (Armin Ronacher). The last one sure is inviting, since I’m all about learning from mistakes, I even made it a category on this blog. I’ll see.


Samuel Fuentes
I wouldn’t mind starting my Tuesday with the Samuel Fuentes’ talk about architecture of successful web projects. How is that not a subject one can’t know too much about, if working in that particular field? The speaker looks nice and interesting (see photo, taken from his site). If I chose that, I’ll be missing out on Python 3, messaging between computer systems, and the Hettinger’s API talk. I’ll guess I’ll have to decide if the Martelli’s API explanation was enough at that point or shall I need more and right away. We’ll see.

Then I think I’ll go for Mark Ramm-Christensen’s talk on relational and non-relational databases obviously entitled Relate or !Relate. Even though I wouldn’t mind knowing more about Python 3’s abandoning of the int type in the favour of the long type (Python Long Object). Hmm…

And I’ll also have to chose between scalable web applications (by David Cramer, start thinking about it before it’s too late, they say in the talk description) and Spatial Data and GeoDjango by Bruno Renié. Which would mean missing out on the talk about writing a parallel and distributed tool for backing up a multi-terabyte data by Marco Nenciarini and the Clojure talk by Enrico Franchi. Ugh. Choices, choices. Maybe I’ll go fo the Nenciarini backup talk anyway? How can I know? Right now, I can’t.

Tuesday afternoon is  a moment of difficult decisions. In a good way. Do I prefer Javascript for Python programmers (Jonathan Fine) or Python in the cloud (Gisle Aas) or Hettinger’s advanced Python or advanced Data plumbing (Pavlos Christoforou) or else? Or even Every time you use Viri, God kills a Sysadmin 😉 It’s about managing large sets of computers with Python scripts, that I might be going to in the afternoon. The speaker is Marc Garcia. And that’s just the 14:30 stuff.

Afterwards I might go to the Andrew Dalke’s talk about less well known data collections in Python (deque, heapw, bisect module, …). Though the Sqlkit and ORM and sql access widgets talk sounds interesting as well, by Alessandro Dentella. More I think about it, harder it gets to decide.

And then API mashups with Johan Euphrosine or plac: more than just another command-line arguments parser by Michele Simionato?

After all that, I will definitely be needing the Rob Collins talk about neck and shoulder massage training. No doubt about it.


Wednesday morning offers a debugging and profiling talk (by Giovanni Bajo), one about developing a CAD application in your free time (by Matteo Boscolo) and one about the pitfalls of continous depoyment (by David Cramer)

Then I’ll have to chose between two talks both about a data mining and mashups: the one about using OpenStreetMap data with Python by Andrii Mishkovskyi and the one about smart web apps by Deepak Thukral. Hmm.

Later there will be talks about organizing your company in a distributed way with Python by Maurizio Delmonte of,  Stefano Brilli’s (of Develer) talk about exploiting your GPU power with PyCUDA and friends, and the PyInstaller talk by Giovanni Bajo also of Develer.

The afternoon offers: a Deep-Dive Into Python Classes by Mark Smith, the challenges in building large Django sites by Simon Willison, fun building complex web applications by Andrew Mleczko, libcloud talk by Tomaž Muraus, and CPython’s bytecode exploring by Floris Bruynooghe.

This post is going on and on and this is only Wednesday. Wow.


Thursday morning will contain: Social Network Analysis in Python by Enrico Franchi, Python enhanced generators and beyond by Erik Groeneveld, Jacob Hallèn’s refactoring PyChart talk, Benno Luthiger’s on the political implications of free software/open source, Nate Aune’s one about deploying web applications to the cloud, Tom Christie’s about the Django REST framework, Christine Moran’s about visualization and analysis of large data sets.

Thursday afternoon will bring a mix of: Hettinger’s talk about some Python’s newer tools (Counters, named tuples, new string formatting, and the LRU cache), a Magnus Hagander’s talk about web caching, Hettinger’s tips and tricks and idioms in Python, Simone Federici’s talk about Python to improve the enterprise, the Matti Arias’ QT introduction, and Miroslav Stampar talk about sqlmap, sql injections and security, and high performance computing in science with Python by Andreas Schreiber, Jonathan Fine about objects and classes in Python and JavaScript, Brian Fitzpatrick’s about the Myth of the Genius Programmer.

What an afternoon!


Friday morning is about machine learning and web usability thanks to Victor Miclovich, the use of the XMPP protocope for inter-process communications in scalable web applications with Achiel van der Mandele, semantic stuff with Django-rdflib thanks to Stefan Talpalaru, Martelli’s Python Design Patterns, Storm ORM with Jamu Kakar, and Python development process with Ezio Melotti, Italian moved to Finland.

Afternoon will bring Hettinger’s art of subclassing but also Mirko Urru and Stefano Cotta Ramusino’s talk about scraping techniques to extract advertisements from web pages. I don’t want to miss the talk about The London Python Code Dojo, a community organised monthly meeting for Python programmers in the UK by Nicholas Tollervey.

Not to forget the PyQT talk by by Lorenzo Mancini e Matteo Bertozzi and the Python + Oracle one by Todd Trichler.

Afterwards it’s code sprint time!


* Raymond Hettinger talks: EuroPython2011, previous years EuroPycons
* Easy AI with Python, video of Raymond Hettinger’s talk at PyCon3, 2009
* Alex Martelli talks: EuroPython2011, previous years EuroPycons
* Alex Martelli on Lo Zen e l’Arte della Manutenzione delle Astrazioni, Cosa sono i Design Pattern, Design Pattern Comportamentali, etc.

* PyCon 1 (2007)
* Pycon 2 (2008)
* Pycon 3 (2009)
* Pycon 4 (2010)
* EuroPython2011 Schedule


About apprenticecoder

My blog is about me learning to program, and trying to narrate it in interesting ways. I love to learn and to learn through creativity. For example I like computers, but even more I like to see what computers can do for people. That's why I find web programming and scripting especially exciting. I was born in Split, Croatia, went to college in Bologna, Italy and now live in Milan. I like reading, especially non-fiction (lately). I'd like to read more poetry. I find architecture inspiring. Museums as well. Some more then others. Interfaces. Lifestyle magazines with interesting points of view. Semantic web. Strolls in nature. The sea.
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