Front Range Pythoneers are an active Python users group meeting in Boulder and Denver, Colorado, USA.
We meet every third Wednesday of the month to learn from talks about Python topics, to swap stories and coding tips, and to enjoy food and drink. But we don't just talk about Python, we live it: on the first Saturday of most months, we get together for a code sprint. Front Range Pythoneers are proud to have contributed as a group to TurboGears2, Jython, Django, and IPython1.
Join us! Whether you're just learning Python or have already memorized the output of "import this", you'll find something worthwhile.
The Mailing List and Wiki
Meetings and Sprints
We just happen to have the friendliest bunch of Python people coming to our meetings. So why not come too?
Photos of selected sprints and meetings.
Meetup.com is a great way to keep abreast of Front Range Pythoneers' activities.
Meeting: November 19, 2008, 6 PM - 8 PM
In Boulder at bivio, topic TBD.
We will have free food, drink, and lively conversation as always.
Meeting: October 15, 2008, 6 PM - 8 PM
Chris Perkins took us into the heart of Python's new documentation generation system, Sphinx. Sphinx takes reStructuredText content and transforms it into standalone documents, websites, or even books. If you've used LaTEX, FrameMaker, or your own set of Word macros in the past, it's time to consider Sphinx. More information is available at the Sphinx website and Chris' blog.
October's meeting was in Denver at Wynkoop's Brewery.
Sprint: September 13, 2008, 9 AM - 5:30 PM
We had several dedicated jython hackers working through the Jython 2.5 alpha bug list, and we made some great progress in a few areas. A production Jython 2.5 release is planned for this fall.
Meeting: September 10, 2008, 6-8 PM
Leo Soto traveled all the way from Chile to discuss running Django on Jython. Leo talked about how to use Django under Jython, with deployment to all standard Java app servers; the common pitfalls on this setup; and we had some discussion about what can take the Python (and Django) community from the JVM, and what advantages Django development on top of Jython offers for Java projects.
Dan Ring and Christina Xu discussed the extrACT project, for which Dan is the lead developer. Currently on sabbatical from MIT, he originally hails from South Dakota and has been using Linux since he was 10. Prior to working for extrACT, he was the lead developer for Buy it Like You Mean It, a non-profit collaborative tool that promotes responsible shopping. Christina is a senior at Harvard who does a little bit of everything for extrACT (but mostly break stuff for Dan to fix). She is involved with the Harvard and MIT chapters of Students for Free Culture and was a founding organizer of ROFLCon, a conference about internet culture.
Meeting: July 16, 2008, 6-8 PM
Casey Duncan gave a presentation on writing games with pyglet and a Perlin noise library he's developing.
Meeting: June 18, 2008, 6-8 PM
Chris Perkins gave a talk on "Agile Technologies with SQLAlchemy"
Meeting: May 21, 2008, 6-8 PM
Jim Baker spoke about "Django on Jython."
Meeting: April 16, 2008, 6-8 PM
Once again we sent a mighty posse of Pythoneers to PyCon. Now that they're safely back in Colorado, we heard from some of them about the highlights of this year's big conference in Chicago.
Meeting: March 12, 2008, 6-8 PM
Tobias Ivarsson and Jim Baker presented "the New Compiler for Jython," and Jim previewed his PyCon talk "More Iterators in Action."
Sprint: February 23, 2008
Turbogears2 Sprint. More information.
Meeting: February 20, 2008, 6-8 PM
Tentative: a PyCon talk.
Meeting: Jan 16, 2008, 6-8 PM
Sprint: January 12-13, 2008
Meeting: Dec 19, 2007, 6-8 PM
We solicit input on what sort of topics, speakers, and activities would be of interest for 2008, as well as reviewing what worked and what didn't for 2007.
Django Sprint: Dec 1 2007
Meet at Bivio to participate in the worldwide Django sprint: http://code.djangoproject.com/wiki/Sprint1Dec2007
Meeting: Nov 14 2007
Bring along your proposals for PyCon 2008
Meeting: Oct 17 2007
Lightning Talk Potluck!
We'll have as many short presentations as we can muster, in the style of PyCon's "Lightning Talks." We may put you on the spot, so please come prepared to say at least three sentences on some tech topic that interests you.
Django Sprint: Sept 14-15 2007
We're hosting a Front Range faction in the Django worldwide sprint this Friday and Saturday, September 14 and 15. If you would like to pitch in, please add yourself to the sprint wiki.
On Friday, we'll meet at Matt Boersma's house--801 Grant Place in Boulder--at 9. Saturday is the same time, but at bivio on 28th and Iris (where we have our monthly user group meetings). You're welcome to attend any time you can during those two days.
There are well over 100 people signed up currently, six of them from our area. We all hope you can join us in this major Django code sprint!
Meeting: Sept 19, 2007, 6-8 PM
Jim will talk about the Jython 2.5 Compiler work.
Meeting: August 22, 2007, 6-8 PM
- Tennessee Leeuwenburg, editor of the Python Papers. Tennessee will discuss Python advocacy and getting them when young through Python in education.
Sprint: August 4, 2007, 9 AM - 5:30 PM
A Jython sprint. See BoulderSprint for more details.
Meeting: July 18, 2007, 6-8 PM
We had presentations on three of the leading web frameworks for Python, Django, Turbogears, and a bit on Pylons. We heard from experienced practitioners discuss the pros and cons of these frameworks. Whether you're considering adoption, would like to hear of best practice, or would like to rant about what doesn't work ;), these were a great set of talks.
Ian Kelly on Django. In addition to first introducing Django, and how to do real work with it, he also gave us some insight into contributing to an opensource project. Ian was the lead contributor to the Oracle backend for Django, and in his talk he will lead us through the process of having the BoulderOracle branch of Django committed to the trunk. (This work on the Oracle backend commenced wtih our November 4 sprint.)
Meeting: June 20, 2007, 6-8 PM
Steve Bethard presented on Python and Natural Language Processing: the computational semantics group at the University of Colorado at Boulder is interested in improving machine understanding of text by moving past the basic word-level approaches used by most commercial applications these days. Whether they're teaching computers how to tell a person from an organization, how to decide what order a set of events occurred in, or how to convert a document into a complex semantic graph, Python plays a key role in the process. Steve will be discussing a number of the uses they've found for Python, including the handling of complex data formats, modularizing their natural language processing components, and the different types of feature extraction they perform when building machine learning models.
Lightning talks for SciPy 2007. Jim Baker and Fernando Perez spoke. [TODO: add more content.]
Unconference Meeting: June 16, 2007 (Sister Group Event)
The Front Range Users of Geospatial Open Source is organizing a one-day unconference event on June 16 in Boulder, Colorado (at Churchill Navigation):
We've already got a great mix of industry leaders, programmers, analysts, and scientists coming together to talk about topics like
- Web mapping APIs
- Spatial databases
- Climatological applications of Google Earth
- Applying the Atom Publishing Protocol to GIS
The event is not only for GIS industry types. We welcome anybody who's innovating on any aspect of geography and location: environment, transportation, geocoding, geocaching, you name it. Python is widely used in both open source and proprietary GIS software, and will certainly be a major theme at the GeoSummit.
(From a message to the FRP mailing list from Sean Gillies.)
Meeting: Weather research with Python: May 16, 2007, 6-8 PM
"Linux (and Python) at 20,000 Meters Above the Sea". Joe VanAndel, from the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) will discuss the NCAR/CNES dropsonde project that investigated the hurricane formation zone off the west coast of Africa. NCAR worked with the French Space Agency (CNES) to create and carry a payload that would float west from Africa into the hurricane formation zone. The balloon floated at 20,000 meters and higher, which is above the tropopause, the altitude at which the troposphere (where most of our weather takes place) gives way to the stratosphere. The gondola consisted of a single-board Linux system and batteries well-insulated from the cold, with an array of 24 to 40 dropsondes beneath it. Each dropsonde was connected to the Linux system, which was able to heat its batteries (the atmosphere is -70 degrees C up there) and drop the sonde on command. He will present an introduction to the driftsonde project, and then discuss how Linux was used in the on-board gondola computer and explain how using the Python programming language facilitated reprogramming the gondola in the middle of a flight.
Bio: Joe VanAndel graduated from Calvin College in 1978 with a double major of mathematics and physics. He attended University of California at Berkeley where he obtained a master's degree in Computer Science. After working 3 years at Bell Laboratories in real-time operating systems, he worked for 5 years at Cadnetix Corporation, a supplier of computer aided design tools. Since 1988, he has worked at NCAR, working with weather radars and more recently with the driftsonde project.
- Mary Haley will present "Python Frameworks for Geoscience Visualization and Analysis". PyNGL and PyNIO are Python interfaces to a widely popular software package called the NCAR Command Language (NCL), a scripting language developed at the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) for the access, analysis, and high-quality quantitative visualization of geoscientific data. NCL has had a significant impact on scientific research worldwide. Mary will briefly discuss NCL’s history, and then segue into why Python was chosen for developing the next generation framework tools for file input/output, analysis and visualization. She will show an animation from a new high resolution Community Climate System Model (CCSM) run computed on a T341 grid (1024 points in longitude by 512 points in latitude) that was created using our Python interfaces to NCL and other post production utilities.
There will be a focus on some of the current projects we are working on: adding support for new scientific data formats, developing interfaces to a suite of specialized climate analysis-related functions (that need to deal with missing data), and handling large files. On the less scientific side, there will be a quick mention of issues NCAR has with supporting both Numeric and NumPy users, dealing with different versions of Python, building on multiple computer platforms, and finally, training users on this software.
IPython1 Sprint: April 28, 2007
IPython1 Beta. This would be an excellent opportunity to learn about decorators, Twisted, and other advanced Python concepts while helping getting this shell to beta status.
- Brian Granger
- Cary Miller
- Eric Dobbs
- Fernando Perez
- Ian Kelly
- Jim Baker
- Justin Larrabee
- Ken Kinder
- Kip Lehman
- Matt Boersma
- Robert Kern
- Steve Rogers
- Benjamin Ragan-Kelley, sprinting over IRC from Santa Clara, CA
Meeting: April 18, 2007, 6-8 PM
Location: bivio Software, Inc.
Discover how Python will rule the world. In a good way, of course! Matt Boersma presented a short introduction to the One Laptop per Child project, and then allowed people to play with the green XO laptop at their leisure. He also led us through installing and using it our own laptops. The foundation of this project is Sugar, which is programmed in Python. As local Pythoneer DuncanMcGreggor points out, there's an amazing potential in children discovering the "mutability of [their] universe]" and "view source", whether it was in Basic for a certain generation, on the web, or now in the OLPC effort.
Lightning talks on testing. In an influential article, Bruce Eckel advocated for strong testing instead of strong (declarative) typing. What are you doing to test your Python code? And how does that fit into a test-driven culture? At the last meeting, there was a strong interest in anecdotes, so please feel free to share, with slides, at the white board, or just in informal discussion.
BoulderSprint. The next sprint will be Saturday, April 28 on the IPython1 Beta. Fernando Perez and Brian Granger will be coaching. This would be an excellent opportunity to learn about decorators, Twisted, distributed unit testing, and other advanced Python concepts while helping getting this amazing shell to beta status.
Meeting: March 21, 2007, 6-8 PM
Matt Boersma presented "Write Less Code with XRC for wxPython": an easier way to do GUI layout using wxPython's XML-based resource system. Slides , demo code, and useful base classes.
Sean Reifschneider presented "Python and vim: Two great tastes that go great together". The vim editor includes extensive abilities for customization and scripting. In addition to its own simple macro language, vim also supports calling Python code. This Python code has access back into vim for manipulating the edit buffer as well as running normal vim commands. Examples demonstrated in this talk will include automatically detecting indentation style (tabs/N spaces), automatic update of DNS "serial" numbers when editing DNS zone files, mail alias tab-expansion, and a time tracking application using a "domain specific vim" as the user interface. Slides
PyCon: February 23-25, 2007
PyCon 2007 Dallas/Addison TX. List of attendees from the Front Range:
Matt Boersma. Presented Write Less Code with XRC for wxPython
- Eric Dobbs. Sprinted on Jython.
- Evelyn Mitchell
Sean Reifschneider. Presented Python and vim: Two great tastes that go great together. And he ran the network!
Jim Baker. Presented Iterators in Action. Sprinted on Jython.
- Michelle Cyr
Audio and other presentation materials can be found here.
Meeting: February 21, 2007
Location: bivio Software, Inc.
Fernando Perez presented his joint talk with Brian Granger (not present), "IPython: Getting the most out of working interactively in Python": IPython (if you do not know it yet) is an enhanced interactive shell for Python. It provides a large number of features not found in the default shell that make interactive work in Python more seamless and convenient. Slides.
Jim Baker presented "Iterators in Action": Using iterators well can make your code lean and your programming fun. We will distill current best practice by investigating some (mostly) useful examples of iterators in action. With the help of itertools and various cookbook recipes, we'll look at such examples as computing Six Sigma stats, parsing/collating lots of log files, and performing fast prefix lookups of the data your users most want to see (assuming you have a good relevancy scorer, of course). We will even see why Raymond Hettinger must say no so often Slides.
Other items we talked about:
- Google Summer of Code. One of our missions is to mentor Pythoneers. Does it make sense to add a local component to GSoC 2007 that could take advantage of the universities here?
Sprint: February 3, 2007
Location: bivio Software, Inc..
Meeting: January 17, 2007
Location: Churchill Navigation.
Topics and people attending include the following:
BoulderSprint. We had a great JythonSprint, focusing on design. Momentum is really building, Jython might actually get the love that Charles Oliver Nutter of !JRuby proposed. More interestingly, there's a chance for people in the dynamic language community to work together on JVM implementations.
Tom Churchill and Vinny Fiano will demo Churchill Navigation's earth-rendering engine (which looks like Google Earth, only apparently even better and faster ). Vinny (their main Python guy) will explain how they built the glue logic (and why they decided against SWIG) and perhaps some of the implications of using Python as a scripting language in a real-time (60 fps) environment, and the techniques we employed to keep the graphics pipeline from stalling when making an expensive call into their engine from Python.
Sprint: January 6, 2007
JythonSprint. We talked about rethinking the existing compiler to converge on !CPython 2.5/trunk.
Meeting: December 20, 2006
Canceled! We were going to plan the JythonSprint and see some demos. But a blizzard intervened. Fortunately, we should be able to do all of that instead in January.
Meeting: November 15, 2006
This was a fun meeting! Even if Jill's has increasingly been high decibel. But we really can't complain about the success of our venue.
Steve Rogers showed up for his first meeting with us. He credits seeing the Pythoneering blog, now that it's included in the Daily Python-URL. It's good to have the visibility. With Steve had just read some of the reports from Supercomputing 2006, so we talked a lot about parallel computing paradigms in Python, among other things.
Meeting: October 18, 2006
Discussed possible proposals for PyCon2007. The basic consensus was that it was a great idea that for PyCon "we're especially interested in presentations that will teach conference-goers something new and useful." In particular, we all would like to see talks with more useful takeaway code, not just talks saying, hey we are doing great things with Python. Trust us .
Guide to Front Range Pythoneering
Jeffrey Whittaker, contributed this plot to matplotlib for geospatial projections of data.
Uche Ogbuji keeps us honest about XML.
Joe VanAndel, NCAR.
Chris Perkins. Turbogears developer and TDD proponent. Current employed by NREL.
Churchill Navigation in Boulder builds high-end navigation systems with a high-level Python interface.
Casey Duncan lives in Castle Rock, but works for pandora.com in Oakland tending a herd of PostgreSQL databases and generally gluing everything together with Python. In his spare time he's been working on some Python games and the lepton particle engine.
Please help expand this local guide! (Also feel free to remove yourself from this list, if that makes sense personally.)
There are some other great groups in the area that we interact with on a periodic basis. Shared membership helps here!
Boulder Perl Mongers. They don't meet formally often - perhaps 2 or 3 times in the last 6 years? - but doesn't prevent other modes of meeting like hikes and disk golf.
Please add your favorite group here if it seems relevant to local Pythoneering.
We (collectively) are the maintainers of Django's Oracle support. Ian Kelly is the driving force of this support.