PyConWeb 2017

Last weekend the Python guys went on a trip to Munich to visit a conference around the Web with it's various forms and Python, PyConWeb. This is Nikos review of the event.

The conference took place at LMU Institute of Computer Science. The location is right next to Munich's English Garden. The building is the same location used by the German PyCon last year - PyConDE. PyConWeb seemed to be organized by the same team that organized last years PyConDE. As last years PyConDE was a great conference the expectations were high from the start! Spoiler: they did not disappoint.

Why did we visit a conference aimed at the Web? opsi itself is not a classical web application but provides an interface accessible over HTTP. We use web technology and in this always evolving field of technology it is good to stay up-to-date!

There were many talks focused on Django, one very popular web framework for Python. We saw some of those and even though opsi will not switch to Django it was very interesting to see how different frameworks works.

One topic of interest were Django Channels - basically WebSockets and HTTP2 with easy integration into Django. WebSockets are very interesting for opsi because they allow us to keep connections alive and exchange information without relying on the request/response pattern. Using WebSockets would open up a whole new world of possibilities. Unfortunately just providing such a socket isn't the only thing required before we are able to harvest on this - it needs a more deeply rewrite on some parts.

I am always amazed at the presence of Plone at such events. In my perception it is a dead project but I have been proven wrong. A talk highlighting the history of the project and the influence in Python was a very interesting look into the long-term development of projects and their transformation. Did you know that the first ever Python conference - called SPAM 1 - took place in 1994? They discussed many things still relevant today back then.

My highlight of the conference sure was the Tornado workshop held by Stefan Behnel! Coming from the Twisted-side of webframeworks I was astounded at how simple it is to work with Tornado and how fast you can get results. We will look further into this for sure!

Unfortunately I could not attend all talks I wanted to but on the other hand I have to admit that there were many very interesting talks. It was by far an easy task to choose where you wanted to attend! The oranisers took into account that people probably want to switch rooms inbetween talks and there usually were a few minutes for this.

If you are yet unsure if you want to go there I'd recommend to do so if you somehow have a connection to Python and the web. The range of topics was very diverse and even though many topics were unfamiliar to me at first I always could take away some ideas and insights from talks I otherwise would not have had!

I also want to mention the catering. The coffee provided by Mahlefitz was excellent, these people love and know what they are doing! There is lunch for all attendees and coffee breaks that are built well into the schedule. Even if you are not into coffee these breaks allow you to cool down your synapses or have a chat. With the temperature getting near 30°C on that weekend I was very grateful for free drinks being offered during the conference.

If there was a downside it probably was the WiFi. There were two and one did not work at all for me and the other one while being easy to access did block a couple of things - this was the so called BayernWLAN. I had problems accessing sites through https or use an SSH connection which was a shame as I'd want to make use of the learned knowledge right away. For general browsing however it was fine and did not crash under the many users.

My final words on this conference I'd like to give to the team running the event, announcing speakers and responding to questions: thank you for being so welcoming and making sure everybody could enjoy the conference!

I look forward to next year!