EuroPython - Pasta, red wine, and snakes in the cloud!
by Sheila Louis

Sheila Louis, July 1, 2011

One of our Senior Developers, Gisle Aas, just got back from EuroPython 2011. He suffered through the pain of being in Italy in the spring (really, who wants to be in Florence as the flowers are blooming? :) ) and wanted to share his thoughts on the event. We've also included a link to his talk, Best Practices for Python in the Cloud, at the bottom of this blog entry.

Check out Gisle's trip report:

"About 600 people attended EuroPython and it appears to have been a great success. The conference ran very well and the local organizers had almost everything figured out. They had some issues with the wifi, but I guess just too many people crowded together.  The Italian food was excellent.  Red wine and fancy stuff for lunch every day!  It was warm as well (about 30ºC), which is a bit too much for me, but it made for really nice evenings.

Raymond Hettinger mentioned ActiveState in his keynote as one of the first things that made Python awesome, "Because Python needs commercial support to be awesome"!

My talk, Best Practices for Python in the Cloud, was just after lunch on Tuesday.  About 100 people showed up.  Quite a crowd!  There were a few questions after the talk , but if you're still wanting to know more about the talk or Stackato, just let me know!

Cloud is hot.  There were quite a lot of talks related to this.  Besides ours, there were talks by Spotify and Disquss that talked about how to deal with scaling issues, sessions about Google's PaaS, libcloud, and a practical talk on Deploying Web Application to the cloud with Python. Unfortunately I missed that last one, since I was only able to attend for three days.

Otherwise there was, as usual, lots of things going on, with no chance of attending all the talks I wanted to.  There were too many to choose from! Luckily I will be able to get back to it later when the videos and slides become available on the EuroPython site. If you missed the event, you can check out all the talks there as well.

Some of the other talks I attended, along with my thoughts, are below:

Good API Design (by A. Martelli)
- This is an interesting subject with funny anecdotes and examples (of bad API design)
- Alex is a good presenter
- Alex' favorite API in the "Google App Engine"-one

How Python is Awesome (by R. Hettinger)
- I had to watch from the overflow room (via video) (popular talker, popular talk!)
- Made people pretty excited, very nice pep talk!
- Raymond seems to be Python's answer to Perl's D. Conway

Spotify (by @joon)
- Built their system with many small services
- A lot of them done in Python
- Very pragmatic approach
- They are on their way to take on the US and need to hire lot of people

GEvent (by D. Bilenko)
- A co-routine-based approach to network programming
- Stackless --> greenlets --> gevent
- Scalable as trad callbacks, single process, drop in replacement for multithreading
- Yield is the key

API design: Lessons Learned (by R. Hettinger)
- Alright, I didn't get into this one. Too popular again, and sadly no overflow arrangement :-(
- Will have to get back to it later on the EuroPython site

Relate or !Releate (Lessons from Sourceforge)
- Postgres will in most cases do just fine
- MongoDB isn't too bad; but you better have somebody on site that understands it

- Started out selling it as a better getopt library but then turned into something to create app specific shells
- Lots of examples of things that could be done

Pitfalls of continuous deployment (more lessons from Disqus)
- How to release your apps more often
- Need tests
- gargoyle, jenkins
- Deployment with Fabric, virtualenv
- Use Sentry to deal with django errors (don't make it send email on failure)

How to Build Super Awesome Web Apps (by Deepak Thukral)
- Using AI techniques to build recommendation systems or automatically cluster things
- Made you want to try it; did not appear all that difficult to pull off
- Deepak lives in Oslo (I'm from Norway, too) and I got to know him pretty well

- Similar to Perlapp in our Perl Dev Kit but for Python
- Portable py2exe competitor

Libcloud (an Apache project)
- Allocate and manage cloud server (IaaS level) through a common Python API
- Storage API
- Load balancer API
- Drivers for EC2, Rackspace and many others

After my three days in Florence, I headed to the airport only to find that they had canceled my flight.  I got scheduled for a hotel room in Frankfurt and early next-morning flight home.  Somehow I managed to get home during the night, as the Bergen plane was late as well, as it happened to be the very same one I've taken from Florence."

We're glad that Gisle made it home, and we look forward to sponsoring EuroPython (and other great events!) in coming years. Download the slides from Gisle's "Best Practices for Python in the Cloud" presentation or sign up to give Stackato (cloud platform product) a try! We'll upload the full presentation video (add it to this blog post) once EuroPython has sorted out their video archiving.

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Sheila Louis is Director of Marketing, Developer Tools at ActiveState Software. Her passion is communications within the high-tech field, and her background is in software development, customer service, tech support and marketing.