I can assure you that PyCon PH was an wonderful, amazing, humbling experience. I'm hoping that this post and others will get across to you why.
Frank Pohlmann, chairman of PyCon Philippines picked us up and drove us to the event. He had worked day and night getting the event ready, all the while running his company, working a job, and being a father to his lovely 21 month old daughter.
As we arrived at the venue, Audrey and I were met by our good friend, Filipino-American Bryan Veloso of Github, who was to provide the closing keynote. As soon as Bryan heard that there was going to be a PyCon in the Philippines he gave up his trip to Europython to be a speaker at PyCon PH.
Inside the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineering, we were greeted Ann Tan-Pohlman, logistics co-chair and volunteer organizer. She had over a dozen volunteers getting ready for the oncoming flood of registrants.
More on the herculean efforts of the organizers and volunteers of this event in a forthcoming blog post.
We noticed a large group gather by a side corridor and went to say hello. There we met Sony Valdez, President of Agoo Computer College, and forty of his faculty and students. They were buzzing with energy and excitement, belying the fact that they had left at midnight the night before in order to arrive on time (they traveled many hours by bus). Audrey, Bryan, and I were floored by their effort to educate themselves, and were determined in our speeches not to disappoint.
Unfortunately, the majority of the Agoo Computer Science had to go in the middle of the afternoon. We didn't know they had to go until it was time to leave. Next year I plan to do whatever is possible to help them come for the duration of the conference.
# PyCon Begins
After the national anthem, the Dean of Computer Science, Adrian Roy Valdez, started the event with a few words. Frank Pohlmann, PyCon PH chair thanked everyone involved including the sponsors, speakers, and especially the attendees. I gave a keynote speech I'll blog about shortly, and then it was time for the talks.
Paulo gave the Intro to Python talk. He was burdened by some equipment issues, but kept going undeterred. It reminded me of the first time I spoke at PyCon 2010, when for the first 10 minutes of my talk they couldn't get the projector to work. In any case, Paolo did a great job under very trying conditions.
By Audrey Roy
Audrey summarized a lot of the really important things you need to know in Python but aren't part of an introductory talk. Things like pip and virtualenv, how to construct packages, basic use of PyPI, and hammered home the need for good documentation. I may be partial, but I think this was the best version of this kind of talk ever given. 😃
Marconi built off what Audrey provided, and added to it by giving a good introduction to Django. He also contributed a lot during the sprints the next day by pitching in with beginners. His talk featured code for a simple TODO app, and you can see the working example at https://quickstart.marconijr.com/.
Are you afraid of math? Too bad! In this tutorial you will learn how to math! Scary, isn't it?
-- Sony Valdez
Sony Valdez, who I mentioned earlier, gave a talk on pygame and math while wearing the Barong Talalog. Not just any talk on pygame, but the best one I've ever seen. He's a natural speaker and educator, and extremely funny. And while giving this amazing talk on no sleep (remember - he was on a bus with 40 of his students and faculty), he broke many classic presenter rules:
1. Live code demo
He wrote a functioning game while giving this talk. He made his mistakes part of the talk.
2. Used notepad
That's right. He didn't use Vim, Emacs, Sublime Text, or PyCharm. He used notepad.
3. Someone else's laptop
He used an unfamiliar computer for his talk. Ever try and type on a keyboard you aren't familiar with? This is what he was dealing with while after a 5+ hour bus journey with probably no sleep the night before.
I'm in awe.
Sony was a hard act to follow, but Malcolm gave an amazing rendition of his classic talk on functional programming. I've seen Malcolm give this talk before, but this instance was clearly the best.
What's a python conference without one talk about system engineering? Fortunately for us, Rodney gave a talk on Ansible, a pretty new Python based deployment tool. What makes Ansible different is it's range of options, and simplicity of use.
"PyCon: More fun in the Philippines"
-- Variant of the Philippines Department of Tourism slogan
Paulo Barazon returned to talk about the big users of Python, how to promote it's use, and why it's so awesome for... well.. lots of things.
Malcom came back to give us a talk on how to assemble the components necessary to do a mashup of an imaginary place he cooked up.
Bryan closed out the day with an inspirational and funny keynote speech instructing beginners on how to make your project used and loved by developers. His slides were incredible, as you should see for yourself.