Python Ireland September meetup | Profiling, lambada, cloud computing

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The talks

I attended the September event of Python Ireland yesterday night, another great meetup! The first talk ended up being the long awaited "Distributed profiling with Redis", instead of 'buildout' as the speaker was sick (initially the Redis talk was planned for August, but got postponed due to sickness as well... Could the Python folks be more fragile?!). That talk made me curious to look more into profiling, and to also dig into what other gems Python core might be hiding. Sadly the only command I remember out of the talk is this:

python -m cProfile --sort=cumulative my_program.py

but I'm sure that'll be enough to come up with some awesome things! I'll poke a bit at the examples once the speaker makes his code available. It was the sort of code that jumps at your face in a "OMG what is this all about!" kind of way but I'm sure it'll make more sense once I can actually play with it. It was built such that it could also be used as, say, a profiling middleware in Django, which sounds fairly cool.

There was then a lightning talk by Rory about "Lambada", a way to do functional programming using Python. I wish I had a code example to show what this was all about, but. At the same time, I mostly don't. It was funny though! ;)

Alan concluded the talks with "Python for Cloud Computing" which gave us a nice overview of the different cloud services available out there, and what kind of Python is available for them. Infrastructure as a Service, Platform as a Service, Software as a Service, Google AppEngine with Python (limited to certain modules, no C allowed), Google AppEngine with Java and Jython (good for XSLT), all with NoSQL databases, Amazon Web Services with EC2 and S3 and, stuff. Very buzzword-full but with explanations too! Boto looks like a very nice Python API to explore, as a front-end to communicate with AWS.

The pub

We ended the evening in the lovely Trinity Capital Hotel again, where Vishal showed a few of us the Python app he wrote for his Android phone and some of the code, in preparation for his OSSBarCamp talk. Many people asked me how the course was going, which delighted me, people are really curious about it! I nearly feel bad that I don't have many Python-related nuggets to share, I'm mostly learning how to teach. It would all be a hell of a lot harder to do without Python, but at the same time there is no "Python is awesome!!" chant at the beginning of every session nor Python prayers at the end. It's just the language we use and have fun learning with.

I brought up with a few people my idea of teaching a Python "crash course" over an afternoon, for people with previous programming experience. I was actually kind of losing enthusiasm about it, thinking about standing up in front of a bunch of hardcore programmers ready to dish out all sorts of real-life flaming but people thought it was pretty cool and had helpful suggestions. I guess I was kind of forgetting that it would be mostly people with an interest in learning rather than common Internet trolls :) The idea would be to get everyone's environment set up, have a quick overview of the syntax (I reckon no more than 20-30 minutes) and then give people something to do to have them cut their teeth on a cool Python project. It wouldn't happen before November, but I'll need to find a few good ideas -- suggestions welcome!! It could be real fun, done well.


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