PyCaribbean Retrospective

I went to PyCaribbean this past weekend. It was a marvelous experience.

I’m told not all conventions are like this – so I’m inclined to share my perspective on this one and congratulate the CodeTiger crew for an excellent event.

The talk lineup was great, the presenters knowledgeable and from all walks of python development. The food was amazing, too, as well as the setting.

So, here are some things I’m happy about:

  • Leonardo Jimenez’s idea to kick off the event with a instrumental tropical music group was amazing. The song selection was pretty good, and the performace really tasteful. I’ll forever think that Happy should include an interlude in Bachata style.
  • Brandon Rhode’s keynote was beautiful. I loved the way he seemed to ramble for a bit, just to tie the thread back into the whole opus. Yes, Python is born of thoughtful syncretism, just like natural languages, just like cultures.
  • The talks were plenty – four tracks, three in English, one in Spanish. We were tight for time once or twice, but the chatting on the breaks was blissful. No posturing, no bragging – just people talking about their awesome work, discussing the insights shared in the talks.

Alas, I couldn’t go to all the talks. Particularly, I’m eager to see the talks uploaded to drink Andrew Kuchling’s “Computer Recreations or, Rediscovering the 80s for Programming Fun” and Georgia Reh’s “How to Teach Git”.

There were some talks which resonated with me and follow a thread:

  • Allen Downey’s application of Python features to semantically map a domain into the language was very spot on. Reminded me of Lisp DSLs, which was the whole point of it. Exploring a domain through mapping of concepts to operators is a great way to create a framework for expressive exploration of our mental model. Going from thought to executable model? Bravo!
  • Geoff Gerriets’ insight about the similarity between coding and writing is flawless: we become better through revision, and our code becomes better as we revise it. Programming, just like writing, is not merely typing away – but also chipping away at what we already typed, reforming concepts and pacing and merging or separating concerns. I find this plays well with Allen’s talk.
  • Thomas Ballinger’s “REPL-Driven Development” was all I was hoping for. And believe me, after seeing what’s possible with Lisp, I was eager to see what we can do in Python. This is a perfect conclusion to the “I’m coding smartly, in a way similar to how I would express myself, and I want an intuitive grasp of the language I’m using to express myself in.”

They’ve inspired me in so many ways – the analogies, the topics, the fluidity and segues… I’ll use that to fuel and improve (revise!) the talks I’ll share in the communities.

As a friend of mine would say “10/10 would play again.”

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