Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Seeing double at Pycon 2009

Jesse Noller is going to give two talks at Pycon 2009. So is Tarek Ziadé. And Mike Fletcher is as well. And Brett Cannon has a talk and a panel. So far there I have not seen any post on Planet Python about someone giving just one talk.

I would hate to be the one breaking the streak. So, I might as well announce that I will be giving two talks as well. :-)

Not surprisingly, the first one is about Crunchy. The title of the talk is Learning and Teaching Python Programming: The Crunchy Way, and the abstract reads as follows:
Crunchy ( is a program that transforms a static Python tutorial into an interactive session within a browser. In this talk, I will present Crunchy, focusing on the features that are specifically designed to be helpful in a formal teaching setting.

Not exactly Earth-shattering but hopefully of interest to anyone that has to teach programming in a formal setting or who would just be interested in showing off Python to anyone. This Crunchy talk is, of course, not going to be your traditional slide-based talk but rather more like an interactive demo using Crunchy. I am hoping to have a few surprises by the time the conference occurs.

My other talk is going to be very different. I doubt very much that I will be using Crunchy for it. The title is Plugins and Monkeypatching: increasing flexibility, dealing with inflexibility, and the abstract reads as follows:

By using plugins, one can create software that is easily extensible by others, thereby promoting collaborative development. The flip side of extensible software occurs when dealing with some standard framework whose interface is closed but which does not do exactly what is desired. In this case, monkeypatching may be worth considering.
In this talk, I'll give concrete examples of both plugin design and using monkeypatching, using small code samples from existing projects, and discuss the advantages and the shortcomings of the methods used. I will also include the design of a tiny, but flexible module for generating svg code - and compare it with other existing approaches.
I can not pretend to even come close to being an expert about designing plugin based applications. Still, I felt that I have had some potentially useful experiences to share about these topics which motivated my talk proposal. Now that it has been accepted, I have started working on fleshing out the original outline.

In preparation for the actual talk, which will not go into much code details due to time constraints, I plan to start a short series of posts about plugins. In the first post I will give an overview of a simple application (a calculator) that is written as a single file. In the second post, I will reorganize the code so as to use multiple files, with a number of modules located in a "plugins" directory, laying out the groundwork for working with actual plugins. Subsequent posts will be used to demonstrate different approaches used to transform the application into a truly plugin-based one.

Of course, the plugin model used in Crunchy will be one approach showcased. A second one (which I have already implemented) is a simple class based one inspired by a tutorial written by Armin Romacher. I also plan to demonstrate how to use the Zope component architecture approach as well as the setuptools based method (and possibly others depending on suggestions I might receive).

Since I have never actually written any code using the Zope component architecture or the setuptools based approach, I thought it would be interesting to do this in a truly open-source spirit. Therefore, once I have written the first two or three posts in this series, I would like to invite anyone interested to contribute their own code demonstrating their favourite framework. This way, experts could make sure that their favourite framework is properly showcased, and not misrepresented by me. Interested parties can contribute either by sending me the code directly or by blogging about it. (If your blog appears on either or, I will most likely read it.)

Anyone who contributes in this way to my talk will be mentioned at Pycon AND receive half of the stipend I get as a presenter. ;-)


a random John said...

This is all making me feel much better.

Congratulations though, I'll see you there, I'm especially interested in the pluggins talk.

Anonymous said...

I am very interested in this topic.

Additionally, I personally would like to see an overview of the different plugin approaches and the merits of each one.

I often find that debugging many of the in use methods today is very difficult.