The January Python Meetup that was

7 PM January 13, 2005

The Sydney Python Meetup last night was great. I was initially expecting to meet with four or five others, but in the end we had fourteen. There was a good mix of experienced Python programmers, hobbyists and newbies and the “show-and-tell” was of a very high standard too.

A quick rundown on the presentations:

Casey couldn’t come, because he is teaching at a computer science camp. He sent along this paragraph to read out:

Sorry I can’t make it tonight, I hope you are all having fun. I am spending the week helping my group of twenty year-11 students, generally bright but with little or no programming background at all, build an entire search engine in Python. That’s a spider, an indexer, a search engine, a query engine, and a website, in four days and about 30 hours of lab time. They’re on schedule! I can’t think of another language that you could throw at students of this level and see any results at all, let alone something of this scale. Go Python, go!

Fascinating. I’m hoping Casey will post some more details on his blog.

Owen gave us a run-down on his RailXML project, which will make the entire Sydney train timetable available in XML format. The data is extracted from the CityRail timetable web pages, which is quite a feat. Andrew suggested the Beautiful Soup parser might be helpful. It will be interesting to see how RailXML evolves, and what uses the data might be put to, once available in this easy-to-use form.

Andy gave us a tour of PythonCard, for which he is release manager. Turns out that PythonCard more complete and usable than I thought it might be, so I’ll have to give it a try.

Tim Churches showed us NetEpi the Python application he has been building with the Health Department over the past few years. NetEpi is remarkable for a few reasons:

  1. Tim is not a programmer by trade, but nevertheless did a good proportion of the programming.
  1. The application allows administrative users to add and modify data entry forms via the web interface, and it modifies the underlying database table on the fly.
  1. It is the first open source software to be released by the New South Wales government, and already has at least one other government user. (Another first for Python!)

NetEpi uses the Albatross web framework, and draws graphs using R. (When Tim first mentioned R, we thought he was putting on a pirate voice.)

Finally, Ben Decker presented his work on the DOS port of Python, PythonD. It turns out that DOS alive and well on the PC and is used in various embedded controllers too. Ben’s DOS port includes support for networking, OpenGL, threading (on DOS!), Ncurses, and more. I am impressed.

Thanks to everyone who came along – it was an interesting evening. A big thankyou to those presented. The next meetup will be in March or April. If you’re in Sydney, hope to see you there.

By alang | # | Comments (1)
(Posted to Software Development and Java)


At 06:02, 14 Jan 2005 Andy Todd wrote:

Technically, I'm the bloke who wrote the packaging code that we use to release PythonCard, and a few of the sample applications, but apart from that spot on.

A good time, and next time I may even bring a monitor cable so that people can actually see what I'm demoing.


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