February 24, 2006

PyCon Has Started!

Well, the tutorials are over, for better or worse. If anyone who attended either (or both) of "An Introduction to wxPython" or "Using Databases with Python" happens to read this I'd be very interested in your feedback. There was no formal process for capturing attendee opinions, so I'd really like to know what went well and what could be improved.

During the runup to the conference there was some debate about whether tutorials would be worth organizing, but I think the attendance figures have left little doubt that the community's opinion is in favor.

As I sit here I'm listening to the PyCon 2006 keynote by Alexander Limi and Alan Runyon, and enjoying the rather strange experience of not having to do anything to help with the organization. After three years it's a huge change to be able to attend sessions and just chew the fat with people I meet every year. Signs are that Andrew Kuchling and the support team local Texas user group have done an excellent job.

More later, when the keynote's over.

4 comments:

Bruce said...

Steve -

I was in your 'intro to wxPython' tutorial, and you requested comments...

You're a fine presenter, & the material was good. (I commented as such at my http://mostlypython.blogspot.com) However, I'd been learning wxPython over say the previous 3 weeks or so, and had already grokked most of it.

I'd tried out most GUI builders (for desktop apps) prior to PyCon, and was finding that process very painful/tedious/unproductive. However, since your tutorial, and the short talk on wxGlade, I've found the SPE/wxGlade combo quite useful & productive.

I've enjoyed your cool/calm presence on the mailer lists; keep it up.

Steve said...

Thanks for your complimentary remarks, Bruce. It's always valuable to get feedback from the people who've taken classes, especially when the classes themselves don't collect formal feedback.

I suspect that spending three weeks learning wxPython just before you attend a tutorial entitled "Getting Started with wxPython" is probably asking for a disappointment; you were probably in the more knowledgable tail of the bell-shaped curve all experienced instructors have to plan for.

Nevertheless, the fact that you are now "getting" how to use Glade effectively implies to me that your learning in the tutorial did move you forward. Surely that alone was worth the extremely reasonable fee?

Try as I might, I can't thing of any way I could have made the tutorial more attractive to you without detrcting from its value to the others in the room. That doesn't mean no such way exists, though, and if you have any further thoughts you can either reply here or email me if you'd prefer a less public forum.

Catherine said...

I was at both your tutorials (it was coincidence, I'm not trying to be a groupie, although it helped that I knew in advance you'd communicate well). I appreciated them both quite thoroughly.

wxPython was especially helpful, because the only documentation I'd ever found on any GUI toolkit appeared to be directed at people who were already familiar with using other GUI toolkits. Now I feel equipped to try any of them, and will be able to understand the lingo of the docs.

In fact, this is probably exactly what PyCon needs more of: gentle intros, not to Python as a whole, but for specific topics around the borders of Python.

For the DB stuff, I didn't really need the full basic-to-advanced sweep personally, but I'm glad that you did it, because DB newbies probably get all the same frustration GUIs gave me. And, since I'm trying to make myself a topical expert, I wanted to fill in my gaps (and indeed, you found and filled some).

Steve said...

Thank you, Catherine. It was difficult to know quite at what level to pitch the tutorials. In the end I decided I'd use a treatment that allowed a more or less complete beginner with a little Python to get into the topics. Obviously in your case the wxPython background material has led to a wider appreciation of the whole area, and that's useful feedback.

It's especially helpful to know that the database tutorial was useful to someone with your level of experience. Knowing you worked with Oracle I was somewhat dubious about whether you'd be wasting your time when I saw you in the audience.

The really great thing about the PyCon tutorials, of course, is that because they are so modestly priced students don't have to get fifteen clues a minute for them to deliver value for money. This does allow a presenter some leeway and relieves the stress a little. I hope they'll be an even bigger feature when we're back in Dallas next year.