PyCon India 2019 Experience

What an experience it was! This was my second time attending PyCon India and third time attending a Python Conference. I have been a part of the organising team of PyConf Hyderabad 2017 and PyCon India 2018 (Hyderabad). Each time it has been a fulfilling experience and numerous takeaways and new bonds of friendship made. I haven’t blogged about my experiences in past conferences. So this will be my first blog post regarding my Conference experience.

The last 2 times I had attended Conferences close to where I was presently living. This time PyCon India was held in its 11th Edition at Chennai. Being organiser in past Conferences I knew about the wonderful experiences that I was involved, so I decided to be part of the Volunteering team for this year’s PyCon. I was eagerly waiting for the event from when it was announced. PyCon had become a mandatory event for me now, where I get to meet old friends and make new ones.

Day 0

I reached Chennai on 11th Oct night, before the Conference to help out with volunteer activities. I went straight to the Conference venue at Chennai Trade Centre where many volunteers had gathered for helping out with Pre Conference activities and goodie bag packing. This is like a fun event where we introduce ourselves and assign tasks for the upcoming days. I met HydPy folks – Ram, Murthy, Gokul; Dgplug friends – Rayan, Devesh, Chandan, Bhavin and many more friends whom I met at last PyCon. Chandan was co-ordinating the Volunteer team. I also met Vijay, Naren and folks from Chennaipy who were the organisers this year. After Dinner we started packing the goodies bags and sorting Attendee ID cards and getting prepared for the big day. It was almost 2 am when we left the venue to our hotel. Unfortunately my Oyo booking was cancelled, thanks to Murthy who shared his accommodation for the night.

Day 1

It was the first day of the Conference. I reached the venue around 8 am, there were already people coming in for registration. So I sat at the Registration Desk to help with Registration. I met with Kuntal (@hellozee) from Dgplug and Rayan who helped with the Registrations. Within no time there was a big queue of people. After sometime when the crowd lessened I went for Breakfast where I met Chirag, who came for the day. We discussed regarding the Upcoming PyConf Hyderabad 2019 event. After that I met all folks from HydPy who had come up for the conference. Here’s our group photo

After that I went to attend Pradyun‘s talk on Python Packaging . It was a really insightful talk explaining the pip ecosystem. Soon after the talk I started going around Sponsor booths to know more about their business and also to solve the puzzles they were gibing out to get some goodies 🙂 This year PyCon India had a long list of Sponsors – 41 of them ! Kudos to PyCon India team!

Post lunch there was Poster Presentation Scheduled where I was going to talk about HydPy Community. Also as I was a volunteer helped in setting up for Poster sessions as well. Folks from HydPy were also there, we also talked about our upcoming conference – PyConf Hyderabad on Dec 7-8. The day got over with ASL Devi‘s Keynote regarding Bridging gender gap in tech. It was an eye opening talk on different gender stereotypes and the unconscious biases that we have in our mind and how we can overcome this together. After that we had Volunteer’s meet to retrospect and discuss feedback regarding the day. The day ended with the Volunteer and Speakers dinner.

Day 2

My Day started again in the registration desk where I sat down to help with Lightning Talk registration and giving out ID cards to the attendees who missed taking it last day. Shortly after I went to the First Keynote of the day by Ines Montani . The Talk was titled Let Them Write Code . The Talk covered some best practices in development and coding, her Lessons from Open Source and much more. We had the Dgplug Staircase Meeting today which is a customary meeting that we have in PyCon India each other where we meet and greet people of Dgplug Community whom we have always seen in #dgplug IRC channel. It’s the time when we actually meet and talk to these people we see online. Kushal‘s absence was felt this time. Sayan was hosting this meeting and he discussed some important concerns regarding the community and the need for people interacting more in the IRC channel. After that he distributed Dgplug T-shirts which we had ordered before the Conference. We had the mandatory Dgplug group photo after that 🙂

I was helping out at the Helpdesk mostly rest of the day and interacting with people whom I met. There was the PyLadies booth just beside the Helpdesk where I talked to women from PyLadies Chennai community. They had a PyLadies Lunch last day and a Speed Mentoring Session to invite more Women in Tech. Finally we were up to the Final Keynote of the day by David Beazley . The Talk was titled – A Talk Near the Future of Python. After he started his Live Coding session in the Keynote the audience was simply going ga ga over his performance. He Live coded a Stack Machine which he later turnd into a Web Assembly compiler which played a Rocket Game at the end. He showed Python has a bright future by demonstrating the power of Python + Webassembly. This was The best Talk I have ever attended till date. He already published the screencast. Do have a look and amaze yourself. The thing that most impressed me most was his fearless stunt in front of 1200+ attendees and calmly handling the intermittent crashes and debugging them.

Finally PyCon India ended with Vijay‘s closing Address who was the Chair for this year’s PyCon. It was the end of the Conference after which we there was Workshop + Devsprints for next 2 days. At the end we had group photo with all the attendees.

PyCon India has been successful for the large pool of people who volunteer at the event and come from all parts of the country for the love for the Community. It has been a pleasure to work and interact with these amazing people. I met Noah this year who came all the way from Taiwan and volunteered from Day 0 for the event. It really amazes me to see the enthusiasm of the people for the Community.

Day 3

Oct 14-15 were Workshop + Devsprint Days. The venue was IIT Madras Research Park. I was also leaving tonight so I packed my bags and went to the venue in the morning. I started helping with the registrations for Workshops and Devsprints and guiding people to the respective rooms. Then I went to the Devsprint room to work on the Python Packaging Sprint which was hosted by Pradyun. I was eagerly waiting for that. I started with the setup and then working on a issue. After Lunch I found David Beazley in the venue so I quickly joined for a quick conversation with him. I asked the secret behind his Live coding stunt last day. He said he did roughly 15 iterations of the run, even spent 45 mins to debug an issue in one iteration. But yeah the fluency came over his 35 years of experience ! Also as he frequently took classes with group of students where he used to live code during his classes. It was a real pleasure to talk to him. After Lunch I continued to work on another issue from pip till the end of the day.

Finally it was time to say goodbye to friends and the awesome 3 days taking back lots of memories and experiences. PyCon India has become an event close to my heart now and it’s an event I don’t want to miss. See everyone again in next year 🙂

Summary

PyCon India has let me meet and communicate with people from all parts of world and domain. There is something to learn in each of these events. It’s An event by the Community. For the Community. My takeway this year was – Work, Interact and Share your experiences. You can always be a good at coding and be an excellent programmer, but unless you interact with more people and share your learning you cannot be a good person. Also Volunteer and give back to the Community. Volunteering requires time and effort, but its a gesture to give back to the Community and meeting people who are doing amazing work for the Community. The entire Open Source world largely revolves around people volunteering their time for the good of the Community. So even a small effort towards that can make a big change.

That’s all about my PyCon India 2019 experience . Do leave your comments ! And if this excites you do come next year to PyCon India 🙂

First BangPypers Meetup

BangPypers , the Bangalore Python User Group is one of the largest and oldest Python User Group in India. It has been running successfully for more than 10+ years. Most of the known faces in Indian Python Community have been a part of this meetup group at sometime or other.

After I moved to Bangalore I have been on the look out to attend the meetups but I missed it in the first 2 months since some work used to come by on the meetup days. Last Saturday, 21st September, I finally made time to attend my first BangPypers meetup.

The meetup was schedule at 10.30 am at Visa Technology Centre, Bagmane Tech Park. I decided to go by Cycling since I was also looking for a long ride in my Cycle for a while. But alas it took longer than expected owing to a wrong turn in my way.

The theme of this week was Design Thinking and it had 3 Talks scheduled. I reached around 11.15 am almost missing the first Talk which was a Design Patterns 101 Talk. The Speaker was almost in his closing notes. Nevertheless I found a place to seat in the almost full room.

I took out my phone to take notes and waited for the next talk which was on Design Pattern for distributed Architecture . The Talk covered various points on best practices related to distributed systems and tools and techniques to achieve them. Discussion revolved around Horizontal Scalability, Responsiveness, Security, Failure Handling, Centralised Logging, Metrics, Request Tracing, Health Checks, Configuration and Discovery. Since I never dealt with production level Python applications or Distributed systems the terms were quite new to me, few of them I encountered in past but didn’t quite fiddle in depth. I made a note of the discussion for future reference.

The last talk of the day was Organize your bookshelf using Micropython by Vinay Keerthi who was one of the Hosts at Visa, which is also a PyCon India 2019 accepted Talk. He made a LED book shelf organiser which would tell him the position of a book in the shelf by lighting LED array. He used Micropython on a NodeMcu in which he built a simple Flask app which would fetch data from a Postgresql database and store it in a queue which would send signals to the LED. I really liked the idea and it was a really hacky way to find a book. After his presentation I talked to him to get some pointers on starting my first Micropython project which I plan to do in the upcoming days.

After the session I talked to the organisers Anirudha and Abhiram with whom I shared my experiences at Hyderabad Python Community and also how they conduct BangPypers meetups. Visa had arranged lunch for the attendees so the discussion continued at the Lunch table where I got to talk with other attendees and interacted about the work they were doing. Bangalore has a vibrant developer community and there are many more communities like PyData, PyLadies which conduct regular meetups. PyLadies Bangalore are going to have a meetup on coming Saturday, September 28. Here is the announcment about the same.

At the end Vinay shared some more stories of his Hacks and experiences with tinkering with Micropython. And yeah here are some photos of the meetup I took

The thing that made the meetup nice was the great Venue and the Topics of the Talks. With the boom of ML/AI in Python Land having Talks that are unlike those, but most fundamental topics is good. Hope to attend future meetups as well!

Lastly I rode back home completing my first 20km streak in Cycle 😛

I also tweeted about the meetup after I returned home that day.

Takeways from the Meetup

  • Design Patterns in Python – Spend more time learning these.
  • Got to know about best practices in distributed system – Keep notes for futute projects.
  • Micropython getting started – Order some NodeMcu and get the hands dirty. TO DO: Read blogs regarding starter projects.