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My First DjangoCon

I recently returned from Wales and a week of learning and hacking at DjangoCon EU - where I met a whole lot of lovely people and learned heaps of new things. These are my notes.

DjangoCon Europe was held for a week in Cardiff, Wales. It was my first conference and I was very excited to finally meet a lot of people within the community who I knew via twitter, email and IRC.

Talks

I enjoyed the vast majority of the talks and managed to take something out of almost every one of them. Without a doubt the most memorable talk was a lightning talk by Russell Keith-Magee, where he talked about his feelings of doubt and inadequacy and disclosed that he had been going though a major depressive episode. In his talk, Russell used his own position within the community to urge others to seek help if they need it - including with the Cardiff University wellbeing team who the organisers had arranged to be on hand for three days of the conference. Thank-you Russell, and get well soon :)

On a practical level two other talks stood out to me - Hanna Kollo’s Avoiding monoliths and David Winterbottom’s How to write a view. Both were really talks about application and code structure - topics that I’ve been considering more and more as Connect has grown.

A few other things I learned:

  • Load testing is not that difficult! If you can unit test you can load test. This was quite a revelation for me as I had always assumed it was some kind of dark art that only the most senior software engineers are qualified to practice. Turns out, it’s not and there are libararies that can help you do it.
  • Pytest is awesome and I should totally be using it. And (apparently) it’s not at all difficult to make the switch.
  • Security is hard…

… and web accessibility is important!

Sprints

After speaking to a few people about Connect, I decided to open source the code with the intention of launching a mentoring platform for the Django community.

After sorting out some installation bugs, we ended up with seven people hacking on the code and making general improvements. There’s lots planned and I’m looking forward to leading my first open source project!

Community

Finally, I wanted to make a note on community. I was overwhelmed by the friendliness, generosity and openness of the community. Never once did I feel as though I shouldn’t be there, participating and contributing. To all of the people I met - thank-you! You made my first DjangoCon awesome!

15th June, 2015

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I am available for new design and development work via Kabu Creative. To discuss a particular project, please contact me at n.harris [at] kabucreative.com.

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