What I Learned at PyTennessee 2015

This Sunday saw the conclusion of the second annual PyTennessee conference. A few hundred people came from near and far to talk all things Python. Here are my takeaways:

1. Flask Looks Cool, But I Haven’t Needed It Yet

You could say that Django is my hammer, and I’ve treated most of my recent projects as nails. I’ve certainly been aware of Flask but haven’t dug in enough yet to know what it’s really all about. Thanks to @commadelimited‘s presentation on the subject, I get it: it’s URLs, views, and templates without all the other stuff Django provides. The sample code looks beautiful and simple, but the Django ORM is my workhorse. Check out the slides.

2. I Need to Work Harder at Being a Mentor

@jessejiryudavis gave a great talk on mentoring. What really hit home for me was that a Senior Engineer ought to be evaluated not just on their work, but their ability to power up their junior counterparts. Here’s the written version: http://emptysqua.re/blog/mentoring/

3. Yes, Virginia, Software Can Be Beautiful

Those who were present for @2braids‘ “The Well-Tempered” API presentation/performance will be talking about it for many PyTennessees to come. Three words: Baroque Cooperative Multitasking.

4. My Code Isn’t As Empathetic As It Could Be

I thought I was doing a good job translating user stories with my ‘plain english’ comments in my functional tests. Then @odonnell004 gave me a between-session version of his talk on Behavior-Driven Development. Now THAT’s user empathy. I’ll be trying to get LiveServerTestCase to do the Cucumber/Lettuce thing. Here’s his approach for doing BDD with Django.

5. I Might Be Working Too Hard On My Mocks

Nothing brings on a face-palm better than a good presentation about a Python library that you should have been using for the last 6 months. For me, those libraries are vcrpy and betamax, and that presentation was given by @sigmavirus24. I’ve been hand-writing responses for mocked external APIs like every freaking day since October 1.

Thanks PyTennessee! See you next year!



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