The grassroots programming community in Ireland is alive and kicking as the country’s first ever Python conference approaches, driven by a growing interest in the open source programming language that is one of Google’s three official languages and is also used by the legendary Industrial Light and Magic, the visual effects company behind Star Wars.
PyCon Ireland 2010, organised by Python Ireland, will be held in the Dublin School of English on Saturday 17 July and Sunday 18 July, and will have a mix of tutorials, workshops, open spaces, talks and coding sessions for Python developers.
While on the one hand Web 2.0 platforms like Twitter and Facebook have shone a spotlight on the art of coding, encouraging new projects with open APIs and developer meets, on the other hand the scene has always been there. Co-organiser of PyCon Mick Twomey says that "the same people who are passionate about computing are still there".
A new hope
However, he welcomes the growing interest in open-source coding.
"I think the massive success of modern sites have kick-started a whole new style of bedroom coding.
"Instead of writing games for their Amiga people are now writing web scrapers and mashups. So perhaps we are seeing the beginnings of a new generation of bedroom coders who will go on to create great applications and services. Languages like Python enable this due to their low barrier to entry," he adds.
The conference, he says, is a natural progression from the community roots of the Python Ireland group and as co-organiser Vicky Twomey-Lee points out, the Python meetups had grown beyond the monthly meet in Dublin and spread to Galway, demonstrating the growing demand.
"We know Python is gaining popularity. This is a chance for Python Ireland to hold an event that can bring people who enjoy and use the same technology from all over Ireland in one place," she said.
And now for something completely different
Python conferences, like the Flying Circus namesake, are a little different from the average technology conference: the emphasis is on community. It’s about "working together on technology we love", says Twomey-Lee.
PyCon Ireland 2010 has a standard price of admission of €60 per person with an early bird ticket for €40, ending 31 May 2010. Admission on the door will be €70 and further information is available online.
By Marie Boran