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EuroPython Day 2

16 Jul, 2007

Python + .NET = IronPython and Silverlight and Python

The morning started with two talks about Microsoft technologies, the first was Python for the .NET platform and the second was Silverlight (a technology I'm very interested in) which is kind of like Microsoft's answer to Flash. Both talks were very disappointing because I didn't learn anything about either technology which I hadn't already picked up after a brief read of the project sites and a quick play with the tools. The talks seemed to be more about demonstrating the Visual Studio IDE then getting down to the nitty gritty of what the technologies can be used for or how they work. Shame, because I'm really keen on both technologies.

The Essentials of Stackless Python

I have to admit this went well over my head. So much so that I spent most of the time reading the stackless website and after a while I did more or less understand what what was going on. After the talk was a quick break so I decided to install stackless and have a go at writing a WSGI server for Pylons using it which I eventually got working. Although the stackless server was a lot faster than the paste httpserver with default thread options for consequtive requests, it was a lot worse for concurrent requests so it isn't a clear-cut thing as to whether a stackless apprach is always better. Either that or my implementation contained bugs!

There wasn't anything I was particularly interested in for the next session so inspired by Simon's mention of AuthKit yesterday I pressed on and fixed a few bugs instead and spent some time talking to Graham Stratton and Jeroen Vloothius.

If you can't beat them ... Pythonic explorations of Microsoft Sharepoint Portal Services

This was a great talk which basically reminded me why I should avoid proprietary technologies at all costs. Although Sharepoint has a WebDAV interface it can't be used to access most documents. As a workaround you can store documents in lists or install IronPython on the Sharepoint server and write code to interface between .NET and your own custom web services API. Neither seem a great solution but I really appreciated the information and tips in the talk, very useful!

Again, there was nothing too interesting for me in the afternoon so I decided to explore Buildout, which is a tool the Zope community use to fulfil a similar role to the likes of a virtual Python install or a working env only much more sophisticated. I'm currently writing a buildout tutorial for Pylons users which I hope to release fairly soon because it is a great product. During the lightning talks I also had a discussion with Philipp about the Zope and Paste integration. Guido talked about Python 3000 again but I felt I'd already heard most of what he had to say. Personally I'm not too worried about compatibility issues - I will recode anything which needs changing.

In the evening was the conference dinner and because I spent a bit long chatting with Simon Willison and Nat Downe over the wine we couldn't get a table! This turned out to be quite handy because we sat slightly further away from everyone else and had a chance to discuss some further collaboration including the integration of the Pylons request and response Simon mentioned in his keynote earlier. A few others joined us and before long we were debating all sorts of issues from use of the work "geek" to the implications of religion. Great fun and a long night out in a Vilnius bar followed.

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