Tuesday, February 27, 2007

PyCon 2007 Day 3

Day 3 has now come and gone, and after some rest my brain has recovered from information overload. I would like to give a big shout out to the Pycon organizers. They have done a wonderful job!

Keynote: Robert Lefkowitz - The Importance of Programming Literacy

r0ml getting ready for the keynote
r0ml gets ready for the keynote

The last day of pycon began with a very strong keynote for Mr. Lefkowitz. Not only was the talk very engaging, but thought provoking as well. The talk weaved through lingustics, history and computer science. His basic premise is that he wants to change how we define Computer Literacy. Today's idea of computer literacy is teaching children how to using Powerpoint. His desire is to redefine that to include computer programming as well. If this were to come true, it begins to bring up some interesting thoughts and questions. For example, most kids can't get through high school with out studying one of Shakespeare's works. Are there any works of code that would be worth having students study in school? This idea also makes you want to think a little differently how you write your code. There's way too much that I could get into in this blog post, but I highly recommend checking out the video and audio of the presentation when it is available.

Testing Talks Galore

The last day was jammed pack full of testing talks. The highlight for me was finding out more about twill, scotch, and figleaf. At a very basic level, twill is a scriptable interface to the web that you can use to test web interfaces. Mix in a little wsgi, and you get a very easy to write unit testing for your web interfaces. Scotch is a web transaction recorder that will record all of the actions going through the web, so that you can play them back at a later time. Figleaf is a more powerful code coverage tool for python that will report how much of your code has been tested.

On a bit of a related note the trac talk included showing off a new plug-in called Bitten. Bitten is a continuous integration tool that fits very nicely in trac. As code is checked in, it will build, and test everything, and provide nice reports showing how many tests passed or failed, code coverage, etc. If you are using trac, you should be using this plug in :)

Every good thing comes to an end

If you haven't been to Pycon yet, I highly recommend it. I found out a lot about new technologies, and made a lot of friends. I hope to see you there next year!

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