While Pycon 2012 is now history, it keeps making waves.
The conference videos were posted quickly and steady viewing continues, except now it happens on comfy couches rather than in packed conference rooms in the Santa Clara Convention Center, where many (including yours truly) sat on the floor, learning more about Unicode, map making with Python, and more.
This year’s Pycon opened to a chorus line of knee-high, dancing robots that could really shake it, thanks to internalized Python scripts! Python for the Arduino, and other self-made devices, made a huge splash. Python on hardware was one of the major emerging themes. Jason Huggins, the inventor of Selenium, a testing framework for web applications, gave us a demo of a tablet and phone app tester of the future: robotic hands with spindle-like fingers and pattern matching eyes. He even had it play a little Angry Birds–very cool.
And speaking of cool hardware, we’re hearing quite a buzz from the UK lately, as Raspberry Pi makes its debut. Steve Holden, current chairman of the Python Software Foundation, is back in his native England to help celebrate the 30th anniversary of the BBC Micro and to chat with Raspberry Pi’s inventor, Eben Upton.
Other Pycon highlights this year included keynote speeches, some reassuring and others more provocative. In Python creator Guido van Rossum’s keynote, he expressed a real confidence in the language, and in the C-implemented version in particular. He addressed what some programmers have deemed weaknesses of the language, and explained how those features are actually some of Python’s greatest strengths.
Meanwhile, David Beazely, an accomplished teacher of all things Python, delivered a keynote about his foray into the PyPy project, where he questioned the project’s accessibility. PyPy is a version of Python implemented in a simpler version of itself and may have the potential to run faster than the C-implemented version in a production setting. That project is still experimental in nature.
Ultimately, these two seemingly disparate keynotes helped to illustrate future prospects for Python and Python programmers. David’s speech explored one of Python’s exciting, albeit enigmatic possibilities in the PyPy project; Guido’s talk delved into the language itself, its staying power, and its continued growing popularity.
As a committed Pythonista, I was pleased to see our community in such good shape. I left Pycon 2012 more informed and confident that Python will continue to be a powerful, agile, and well-supported language as we go forward.