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!


Noah Gift said...

Since I used to work at Disney and Imageworks I will say, yes, Python is used quite a least when Ia was there.

Maya does have a new Python API, as it seems Mel was getting long in the tooth...

Marco said...

I've recently started learning Python for this reason alone. In an effort to keep myself motivated through the learning process and to encourage others to learn Python with Computer Generated Imagery in mind I've created this little blog:

PS: I hope to make it to the next meeting