[Chicago] Trip Report: Django Birthday

sheila miguez shekay at gmail.com
Tue Jul 28 18:22:47 CEST 2015

At work we share trip reports when we go to conferences. I went to Django
Birthday and my trip report is appended below after the -----.

There were more talks than I described. I only picked a few to share
descriptions about. People can see them all on pyvideo.

Someone replied to my trip report and said that the DjangoGirls organizers,
Ola and Ola, are working on a python book, <http://yaypython.com/>.

I brought up the celebration-style aspect of a DjangoGirls event in my trip
report because I didn't realize how significant this can be. I may try that
in the future if I have more classes. In the past I had afternoon snacks
but nothing so celebratory.

Contextualizing Django in the problem domain (journalism) and town history
(there was an abolitionist press that was destroyed during the sacking of
Lawrence) was interesting, so I mentioned that talk in my trip report even
though it wasn't about python or the framework directly.

The changlog greatest hits talk was interesting -- since I didn't start
using django until >1.4 I don't have all the experience most people there
had and I didn't go through all the growing pains.

The accessibility talk was informative, and it is something I want everyone
to think about when picking venues for user group meetings and events.
Accessibility is a huge factor in why I host project nights at Braintree.
I'm really happy that they host us. This talk mentions nursing rooms and
quiet spaces, and I hadn't thought of that before -- so I will ask to see
if there are quiet rooms available for project night. I think there are,
but I haven't checked nor made arrangements to guide people to them.

---------- Forwarded message ----------

Django is 10 years old and the creators had a Django Birthday conference.
The conference emphasis was on community building.

Videos of the talks can be found here.

A few of the talks

Django: The Conspiracy
Andrew Godwin
This talk was hilarious. I got a small spoiler for this because my spouse
was handling the av and recording and they told him they needed a smoke

Development Milestones: 1.0 Onwards
Marc Tamlyn
Or, Changelogs: Greatest Hits. Marc went through the history of Django in
hindsight, pointing out things that were good ideas versus bad ideas. This
talk was a little boring at times due to being very list like, but I liked
how he pointed out some things in hindsight that were mistakes or could
have gone better. We got to consider django as it matured and you can also
see the order in which they added things over the years (it tracks with the
history of the web, no?).

Some of The Bad:
TEMPLATE_STRING_IF_INVALID, URL namespaces,  New form wizard, hasty
transactions implementation (or that comment may have been about CSRF)

Some of The Good
1.4: Timezone support support, prefetch_related, project layout, wsgi.py

1.5: update_fields, Streaming http response, Python 3, little things:
slugify, LOGIN_URL accepts patterns

1.6: "rewrote transaction management so that it actually made sense",
persistent db connections, negative diff for the first time

1.7 migrations!

1.8 first version to be released on time, contrib.postgres

1.9 Permission Mixins (pulled in from django braces), more contrib.postgres

He admitted he didn't have good hindsights on poor decisions for django
>1.5. They have releases every 9 months (they've had ones > 9 months,
earlier on). Maybe it takes a year or so for hindsight to build up when
developing a framework.

Documentation as Empathy
Eric Holscher

Tangent: Eric is the maintainer of readthedocs.org and runs Write The Docs
every year. When I found out about that conference I told my spouse it was
an awesome idea and that he must absolutely record it, hence <
http://videos.writethedocs.org/> ever since.

One of the reasons Eric fell in love with django was due to the extensive
documentation. Documentation reduces friction. Projects with good
documentation show that the people who work on it care about users and
contributors. Good projects are ones with a documentation culture, and he
encouraged us to prefer projects that have a documentation culture versus
ones that do not. I agree!

I have some criticisms of Django's documentation. It mixes up usage and
tutorial information with API documentation. I find this style of
documentation tricky for when I need to look something up quickly versus
when I need to find examples or read a tutorial. Also, class based views,
omg. Someone made this browser for a reference guide, <http://ccbv.co.uk/>
because of how hard it sometimes get to dig through the documentation when
you need a quick reference. Examples interleaved with reference docs seem
like a good idea in theory, and the right ratio is not obvious to me.

Another aside: I would like to have a frictionless way to deploy a
readthedocs site, so if someone writes a mojo spec for it I will send you
AWESOME CHOCOLATE TREATS. (be sure to either visit me or ask for them in

Snakes, Ponies and Balloons: Stories of Teaching Django to Thousands of
Ola Sitarska

I have heard how great the Django Girls tutorials are for teaching people
django. Pydanny and audry have picked those materials as the best in show
right now.

In addition to having a good curriculum, the cute and party-ish aspects of
an event help people feel happy and excited. She showed pictures of events
with balloons, cupcakes, etc. Not only do attendees learn django, they also
work in a relaxed and fun environment. Someone isn't going to learn
everything in a day, but an event like this starts them off in a fun way.

If you are going to plan an event, maybe read a blog post or watch some
talks from Django Girls organizers, as well as look at practices people
have follow when running OpenHatch events, <http://discourse.openhatch.org/>.
Shauna Gorden-Mckeon maintains an event handbook, <
http://opensource-events.com/>, and is giving a keynote at SeaGL in
October. <http://seagl.org/news/2015/06/14/Keynotes.html>.

A More Accessible Django Girls
Lacey Williams Henschel

This talk discussed accessibility logistics for event planning.  I added a
link to slides, transcript, and an article by her to the video page <

If you are going to run an event, this will give you guidelines on picking
a good location and making it easy for everyone to get to and use.

Picking a venue.

* easy to get to via public transit
* elevators
* wide doors
* restrooms for all genders on every floor
* quiet rooms
* service animals allowed


* good signs. informative, easy to read
* wayfinding clues (could be signs, could be painters tape)
* consider lighting and noise levels
* have guidelines on use of scent


* Have questions so that people can specify food preferences, and indicate
if they have any accessibility requests.

I've searched around a lot to get advice like this, and Software Carpentry
has a good checklist for their events:  <

As a reminder, sometimes a meeting has a sound system being used for the
people present as well as for recording. If you are giving a presentation
do not refuse to talk in to a mic or get wired up. Even if you can project
your voice to the room to the room, use mics for the benefit of users who
will hear a recording later and for the benefit of people in the audience
who have trouble hearing. Likewise, don't forget to repeat questions during
Q&A. If you can't tell, I get very irked when people aren't considerate
about speaking in to microphones.

Born in (the) #LFK
David Ryan

Django was developed by people working for the Lawrence Journal-World in
Lawrence, Kansas, and this talk was about the history of Lawrence including
the destruction of The Herald of Freedom presses during the sacking of
Lawrence, <http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn82006863/>

I wasn't expecting a talk like this at a technical conference, but I
enjoyed learning about the town where Django started. It was a nice place
to visit as well. We stayed in a hotel that near three bookstores and had
some nice food and coffee in walking distance. There should be more
conferences in smaller towns. (one drawback -- 1 hour drive from airport
and we had to rent a car).

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