December 9, 2014

Python Training Day Feedback

After a day at The Church House I am happy to say that the Intermediate Python repository is in much better shape to move forwards.

Work on the Repository
About eight people turned up throughout the day, with the stalwarts being Kevin Dwyer and João Miguel Neves. With their help I investigated some thorny problems I had created for myself in the area of git filtering. It turns out that there is a subtle bug in Python's JSON generation which has existed for quite a long time.

We eventually worked around it by adding import simplejson as json for now, though I suspect a better fix might be to explicitly add a separator specification. Anyway, with that change the filtering then started to work predictably, and we could move forward with a review of the notebook contents to ensure that changes I made during the teaching were incorporated into the main code base.

With three of us hacking away that work didn't take very long, but before it could commence there was a certain amount of git-wrangling that I confess I probably wouldn't have managed anywhere near as quickly without Kevin's and João's help.

Training Market Discussions
All in all quite a success, and we also spent time discussing the UK training market for Python. I've a few more ideas now about how to approach that market, but if you, dear reader, have any ideas I would be happy to here them either in the comments below or through my web site's contact page.

Thank You
Thanks to everyone who turned up or merely wished the enterprise well. I am really looking forward to spending more time in the UK and helping to encourage even more Python use. Thanks also to the staff at The Church House for their excellent attention. We couldn't have been better taken care of.


anatoly techtonik said...

One of the biggest problem is to find a place to meet. Companies are eager to propose their hiring grounds, but it disrupts the atmosphere as their HR managers start to evaluate their hiring performance and start to "improve conversion".

An alternative trend is to charge money from companies indirectly to provide an space for "communities", but that again is a business that have nothing to do with the word "open" in it. People there are again HR managers, who put money first and are easy to piss off people who don't earn much and don't own a Lamborghini.

So, there is high demand for open source friendly spaces that are neutral and not business oriented, but I assume that it is a rarity even in developed world. Is the CHCC such a place? Is it expensive to rent it for open source sprint like this?

anatoly techtonik said...

On bug - - don't you feel that backward compatibility is a flawed concept in regard to this bug?

I faced with the bug myself and really didn't like the community conclusion to threat trailing whitespace as a backward compatibility feature of Python 2.7.

It seems that it is some hard form of obsession - JSON specification don't care about trailing spaces at all, but people insist that it breaks compatibility. I think that's stupid - it could have been fixed 2 years ago.

Steve said...

Well, I bit the bullet and paid for this event out of my own pocket. I have to get back in touch with the UK Python communities, and this was one experimental way of doing it.

I agree venues aren't easy - Church House is in effect a commercial conference center, so its prices are relatively high. Some companies are better than others at lending space. In the UK both Google and Mozilla have been helpful and relatively non-intrusive for open source groups, but this wouldn't extend to commercial training activities.

Steve said...

Anatoly, sometimes when we work as part of a community the decisions don't go the way we think they should. My approach is generally to try and avoid striving for perfection, since this makes it possible to achieve much more progress.

Javier Estraviz said...

Hi Steve! I was trying to find your "Intermediate Python" course on O'Reilly but it appears as not for sale... Why is that? Can it be found somewhere else?

Thank you in advance!!


Steve said...

I am sorry to say O'Reilly withdrew that video course after a year. I believe they now have another intermediate class presented by Jessica McKellar, who presented their introduction to Python? I have a full-time job now, so the only work I have time for besides is the third edition of "Python in a Nushell" with Alex Martelli and Anna Ravenscroft.

Javier Estraviz said...

Thanks for the answer Steve. Sorry to hear that.