Friday, August 24, 2007

Notes from the SoCal Piggies meeting on 08/22/07

Just a few words about the meeting we had this Wednesday August 22nd at Caltech.

Tommi Virtanen aka Tv presented on "Git for Computer Scientists". I liked the fact that Tv didn't go as much into how to use git as into how git operates under the covers. While geared towards the needs of the Linux kernel developers, it looks like git is approaching a user friendliness which might make it suitable for the general public too (don't try any version older than 1.5). And this thing is FAST! As an alternative in the area of distributed revision control systems, Tv recommended Mercurial over Bazaar, in terms of both features and performance.

Michael Carter gave us an introduction to Twisted. He talked about the Twisted asynchronous model, about reactors, deferreds, in general about the low-level plumbing that makes Twisted so useful. The take-away idea was that Twisted is for you if you want to make use of the incredibly large amount of network protocols that it implements, and not so much if you want a general-purpose Web application. Tv also pointed us to his review of the O'Reilly 'snake-ball' book on Twisted.

Michael also showed us some code based on Twisted that he wrote for his Web IRC client which is using orbited. He also encouraged us (and you readers) to join the orbited mailing list and start contributing to this project.

I (Grig) showed a short demo of Selenium RC, making use at the same time of the Selenium IDE. Old news for regulars of the SoCal Piggies meetings, but hopefully useful for new people who hadn't been exposed to the Selenium tools. Of course, if you want to know more about Selenium, go buy the book :-)

Thanks to Tv and Michael for presenting. As usual, we had some lively conversations outside of the presentations, and we partook of the delicious pizza provided by Prof. Dr. Titus Brown.

Before I finish this post, I want to say that we heard during the meeting, from a reliable source that shall remain unnamed, that all major animation studios (Disney, Dreamworks) use Python for their day-to-day scripting needs; even Maya, the 3D rendering engine, dropped its proprietary scripting language in favor of Python. Nice!

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Cambridge Python Podcasts and Slides Available, Silverlight and Storm

The audio for the July and August Cambridge Boston Meetups are now available.

The July 18th meetup was a dive into Silverlight by Chris Bowen of Microsoft. Unfortunately, the audio is of very poor quality, and the real value of the presentation was watching Silverlight, IronPython, and FireFox in action. Most of the applications required no client side code or plugins, which is no small feat, and rather unexpected given Microsoft's history.

The August 15th meetup was all about the new ORM from Canonical, Storm. Chris Armstrong from Canonical gives a fantastic dive into the database front end. He started the presentation asking that people hold off on questions about how Storm differs from other ORM's out there, and then proceeded to answer those questions before they were asked. The slides for the presentation are also available. We have switched to some better audio equipment, so the audio is audible. (NOTE: 170Mhz wireless mic + 170Mhz wireless mouse = interference.)

(Sorry we do not yet have ogg versions)
  • Cambridge Python Meetup, July 18th - Silverlight, Chris Bowen - Microsoft (mp3, ogg)
  • Cambridge Python Meetup, Aug. 15th - Storm ORM, Chris Armstrong - Canonical (mp3, ogg, odp)