Tag Archives | Python

Notes from Python SIG, 23-Oct-2008: unittest and Sphinx

An even dozen (or maybe an odd dozen…) folks attended the October Python Special Interest Group meeting, held as usual on the fourth Thursday of the month at the Amoskeag Business Incubator.

It was a busy and exciting meeting. Vigorous conversations filled the first half hour, as we welcomed a few new members, a few members not seen in a long time, caught up on news and what’s new in the Python world, and made a round of introductions.

Kent S. Johnson presented a new episode of Kent’s Korner, talking about the unit testing facilities available in Python. Python has a couple of options, including a xUnit-clone version and a more Python system in nose. We got into a great discussion on the philosophy of unit-tests, the test-first-fail-code-test cycle, test-driven development, and so forth. It was quite enlightening.

Arc Riley made the second presentation on the Sphinx documentation generator for Python. Arc talked about the history of Python documentation, with docstrings and EPyDoc and ReStructuredText (not to be confused with ReST, Representational State Transfer!). Sphinx seems to be a popular project name these days, as I heard about a different project by the same codename both at the RubySIG and maintainer Patrick Galbraith’s presentation at MonadLUG).

Arc provided us with the slides to his presentation, available on the gnhlug site here: [TBD real soon now, once we get the site restarted]

Links and notes from this meeting and past meetings can be found at Shawn O’Shea’s blog at http://eth0.net/ — thanks, Shawn!

Thanks to Arc and Kent for great presentations, to Bill and Alex for organizing and running the meetings, to Janet for the incredible cookies, to the Amoskeag Business Incubator for the great facilities, and to all who attended and participated.

Notes from PySIG, 25-Sept-2008: What’s New in Python 2.6

Fourteen people attended the September meeting of the Python Special Interest Group of the Greater New Hampshire Linux User Group, held as usual on the fourth Thursday of the month at the Amoskeag Business Incubator in Manchester, NH, 7 PM – 9 PM.

Our presenter of the evening had to postpone, due to family obligations, so we had a general night of discussion. It was vigorous and interesting. I was a tad late to the meeting, so I missed Ray Côté’s description of a gotcha using Python. It pays to show up early to the meetings! Bill Sconce brought along a two page agenda and list of topics, focused on new features in Python 2.6. This lead to a lot of discussions, clarifying what can be done in earlier Python versions and how the new version works, including many times when we dropped to the shell and started python to test out our assumptions.

Janet provided yummy cookies, as always — thanks, Janet! And Ben was harassed in absentia. Thanks to Bill for arranging, announcing and herding cats to run the meeting, the Amoskeag Business Incubator for their great facilities, Janet for the cookies, and all for attending and participating.

Notes from PySIG, 24-July-2008: Improv Intro

Seven attendees made it to the July 2008 meeting of the Python Special Interest Group of the Greater New Hampshire Linux Group, despite the heavy rains. Due to some last-minute conflicts, our planned speaker, Ray Côté, had to take a rain check for a future meeting, but cookies were made and we resolutely carried on.

There were two first-time attendees, one with a novice level of knowledge of Python and the second very little. Lead by the PySIG leader, Bill Sconce, we launched into an improvised session introducing Python and talking about its power, range and flexibility, comparing it with other languages, heckling Ben Scott, demonstrating several IDEs, talking about procedural scripting and object-oriented programming, showing off some working code, migrating database applications from proprietary platforms, and much, much more. A good time was had by all.

Prominently mentioned were the great tutorials available directly off the Python web site and the Tutor mailing list.

Great thanks to Janet for a delightful variety of cookies, to Bill for not only running the meeting and providing the projector but also bringing the milk, to all for participating, and to the Amoskeag Business Incubator for providing the fine facilities.

(Note: despite the organizational support of the GNHLUG, members running all sorts of OSes are welcome. A typical meeting has people running Python on OS X, Linux and Windows. All should expect equal-opportunity heckling.)

Notes from PySIG, 22-May-2008: IPython and Frangoes

Twelve folks attended the May meeting of the Python Special Interest Group, held as usual at 7 PM on the fourth Thursday at the Amoskeag Business Incubator in Manchester, New Hampshire. Vigorous discussion, idea exchange, job openings and, yes, Python, was discussed in depth.

Bill Sconce was the master of ceremonies and lead off with his usual printed agenda of items: Welcome, Announcements, a round of introductions, Janet’s Famous Cookies (this week, Frangoes! Awesome!), open announcements and discussions of gotchas.

Sample Q: how to debug binary text that may or may not be Unicode? A: Mark Pilgrim’s Universal Encoding Detector, [link updated, tr] originally part of his famous Universal Feed Parser.

Sample Gotcha: scripts with a she-bang line might not always be transportable between Windows, Unix and OS X because of line ending differences. If your parser complains about invalid commands on the she-bang line, make sure your line endings are correct for the platform.

Shawn K. O’Shea arrived and proceded to note every passing mention (with links!) in his great blog entry at: http://www.eth0.net/blog/?p=12 — thanks, Shawn!

Kent asked about using Python to interface with an existing C++ code and a lot of useful suggestions were forthcoming.

Arc updated us on the state of PySoy: the major bug that was crashing PySoy seems to have been isolated, and the code is orders of magnitude more stable. Bug fixing is proceding apace and an end-of-summer major release appears feasible.

Discussion on the upcoming Software Freedom Day got an enthusiastic reception, with several folks considering something in their communities.

On to the main presentation: Kent presented his monthly Kent’s Korner featuring the IPython interactive shell. IPython is slick, with a slew of features and quite a bit of documentation as well. IPython is not just a shell, but also an embeddable library that can bring scripting features into your application, and can also be used as a non-blocking interface to graphical environments like GTK, Qt and Wx (unlike the standard Python shell, which only works against Tk). Anyone doing a lot of work with Python from the shell needs to check out IPython!

Thanks to Kent for the presentation, to Bill for running and promoting the show, to Janet for the awesome Frango cookies, to Shawn for the excellent capture of the night’s events, to ABI for their great facilities and to all for participating!

Notes from PySIG, 24-April-2008: Questions, Answers, Brownies!

Eight attendees had a great time last night eating all of Janet’s brownies, cookies, cupcakes and Ray’s milk while discussing Python, news, questions, life, the universe and everything. The April meeting of the Python Special Interest Group of the Greater New Hampshire Linux User Group took place as usual on the fourth Thursday of the month at the Amoskeag Business Incubator in Manchester.

Shawn K. O’Shea took some great notes with links to dozens of the topics on his blog at: http://www.eth0.net/blog/?p=11 (what a cool domain, eh?)

Thanks to Bill and Alex for arranging the meeting, to Janet for the awesome confections, to Ray for bringing the milk, to the ABI for the great facilities and to all for attending and participating!

Listening last week to… April 5, 2008

Backdating this post a bit, as I didn’t get it posted yesterday,…

In Fresh Ubuntu, Harlem and Peter lead off this week with a conversation with Michael Ramm about productivity and GTD in “Michael from Blackbelt Productivity.”

PyCon2007 had a good and a not-so-good set of audio recordings: “Python and wxPython for Experimental Economics” was quite interesting, though there wasn’t as much deep programming insights as an interesting diversion about experimental economics. “Iterators in Action” (slides) was a flop, though. The recording was in the back of an echoing hall, and cut off in a little less that twelve minutes. I’ll ping the organizers to find out if that can be resampled.

Clay Shirky talks to Moira Gunn on Tech Nation “Here Comes Everyone.” Clay did one of my favorite presentations of all times, audio available on IT Conversations and a white paper here. Clay’s got a new book out and he’s marking the rounds of the media. I heard him on “On the Media” last week.

Tim Spaulding talks with Jon Udell about LibraryThing. in Jon’s “Interviews with Innovators” series on IT Conversations. I mention LibraryThing two years ago on this blog, and have been a regular visitor to the site. They continue to come up with intriguing features and make browsing through the stacks a lot of fun.

What I’ve listened to this week, 29-Mar-2008

PUI (Podcasting Under the Influence), Peter Nikolaidis is “drunk with the power” of swapping roles with his co-host Harlem for this week’s podcast of “Fresh Ubuntu,” titled “Peter’s Big Break.” These two guys put on a very good show each week, with high-quality audio, the week’s Linux/Ubuntu news, a “man page minute,” software reviews and more. Worth a listen. (Yes, they read a letter from me in this episode. At least I didn’t write too gushy a fan letter. How embarrassing.)

Over at The Conversations Network, Executive Director, Doug Kaye has a brief posting and audiocast on the new features of The Conversations Network. They are a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that provides tremendously useful audiocasts for any computer professional. I’m a donor (the fact that I’m a “major” donor is an indication of how underfunded they are!) and encourage you to take a listen and contribute if you find it as valuable as I do.

Jon Udell has a regular “Interviews with Innovators” show on IT Conversations. This week, he talks with Ward Cunningham, famed creator (and co-author of the book of the same name) of “The Wiki Way,” about his latest venture and some of things he’s learned along the way.

Cyndi Mitchell had a sponsored keynote at RailsConf 2007 promoting the RubyWorks stack for the enterprise.

The Essentials of Stackless Python” from PyCon 2007, NOT from the Conversations Network, but direction from python.org

Notes from PySIG, 27-March-2008: urllib2 and PySoy

Seventeen people attended last night’s Python Special Interest Group, one of many active chapters of the Greater New Hampshire Linux User Group. It was a long meeting, starting at 7 PM with a round of introductions, discussions of gotchas, announcements, problems people are working on (creating a lamda that does ‘Nothing’ — for a certain definition of Nothing!), subclassing Array.Array, learning a few new tricks about SciTE.

Mark had great news on his progress in getting Open Source in the Lawrence Library in Pepperell. The librarians have been very receptive, setting up an area to display information, promoting ongoing meetings, etc. Go, Mark!

Kent put on a very good Kent’s Korner on urllib2, and Arc Riley gave a very interesting presentation on PySoy, a powerful 3D gaming engine driven with Python.

Sean O’Shea provides extensive notes with even more links at his blog — thanks for the great notes!

Thanks to Bill for organizing and announcing, the Amoskeag Business Incubator for providing the great facilities, and to all for attending and participating!

PySIG, 27-March-2008: PySoy and urllib

Organizer Bill Sconce announces the monthly Python Special Interest Group to be held on Thursday, March 27th, at the Amoskeag Business Incubator in Manchester, NH. The main presentation will be on PySoy, a 3-D gaming engine. The Kent’s Korner will feature urllib2, a utility module for working with http, ftp and similar protocols, with supports for POSTs and GETs, authorization and so forth.

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