Andy McKay

Sep 15, 2009

DjangoCon 2009 review

This was my first DjangoCon and the first conference I've been to where I felt I didn't know a large number of people. I'd always gone to conferences with more than one person, or where I knew a large amount of people. It wasn't quite "social skydiving" as my friend likes to call it, because as it turns out I knew lots of people there.

Tuesday was the first day of the conference and the first talk. I was surprised by Fake Jacob who gave a very witty first talk that had us all laughing - a good way to start the conference. The conference was a big room, enough for 200, with tables running across the hall. Everyone had a laptop and pretty much they were a Mac. In some ways I prefer not having a table to make people look at the speaker.

Some of the highlights were:

  • "Almost a Vancouverite" Avi Bryant's talk, which was interesting on a few fronts. The last 5-6 sites I've built have all had just a REST and JSON interface, but for me the catalyst of this was jQuery, JSONP and Google App Engine which allowed you build and mashup sites really quickly. I covered this at Open Web Vancouver.
  • Simon Willison's talk about the Guardian work was excellent. Based on stuff I knew already, there were still some interesting snippets in there.
  • Going out for an excellent fondue with a whole bunch of new friends and then meeting up later with others for some fine Portland Ale. If I listed everyone, I would offend the people I left out. One person it was cool to see later was Michel Pelletier.
  • I missed Ian Bicking's keynote, I'll blame it on the beer, but had a good chance to chat to him afterwards.
  • That night a whole bunch of us got together to talk about the Django Software Foundation and that was cool. It's something I'm very keen to help out on and definitely an area I can contribute on. Not much was decided but lots of ideas and enthusiasm.
  • Wednesday had some great highlights with Ted Leung's talk which was interesting as ever.
  • I really liked the Custom Signals For Uncoupled Design talk. I'm a big fan of signals and the idea of just sticking them all of the place, such as pre and post form creation, seem like great ideas. And Justin Bronn's talk was great - short and informative. Both talks I can bookmark and know I'll come back to one day.

All in all it was a great conference and met a whole bunch of cool people there, I'll know next DjangoCon I can walk in and it will feel like meeting a bunch of old friends.

I did two talks (both in this blog) and they went pretty well, the malnutrition one seemed to particularly well received. For those in the audience on the debugging one I'm sorry - last time I used those font colours and combinations it worked really well. The projectors were quite overwhelmed by the lights and I couldn't see the slides on the project due to the setup. Wish someone had said, something. I spent a while making them clearer for the next one.

It did seem at this conference that quite a few things went wrong, with speakers not turning up and confusion about the talks. But Robert Lofthouse was around, helpful and responsive and that's great. Looking forward to the next one.