Eric Florenzano’s Blog

DjangoCon: Great conference, or greatest conference ever?

Sep 08, 2008

The internet is such a strange place. It allows us to collaborate on projects without ever seeing each other in person. It allows us to meet new people, discover interests that we never knew we had, and keep in touch with friends. However much the internet allows us to connect, though, there's simply no replacement for face-to-face contact. Who would have thought that a piece of software whose main goal is to ease the pain of creating websites could bring people together from Prague, London, Germany, and even Lawrence, Kansas? To me, it's nearly inconceivable. But inconceivable or not, Django now has its very own conference.

What I noticed about this first DjangoCon was a strange and exciting dichotomy of sorts, best exemplified by the opening and closing keynotes. On the one hand, it's difficult to believe just how far Django has come since it was first released in 2005. On the other hand, there are so many great ideas for Django and Django-related projects that it's nearly impossible to fight the urge to pop open your favorite text editor and start coding right now.

For some people, it was great to meet them for the first time, and for others, it was great to simply reconnect. (Apologies to those that I couldn't fit into those links, by the way.) Below is what I find to be a hilarious image, courtesy of Sebastian Hillig--whose Flickr page has some really well-shot photos of the conference.

For those of us involved in the Pinax project, DjangoCon was a bit of a coming out party. Firstly, in a literal sense--as cloud27, the flagship website built on Pinax, was launched (real men launch during presentations). But also in a figurative sense--as most of us sported our Pinax-branded shirts and trumpeted the features that Pinax provides out of the box. James Tauber's talk that kicked it all off couldn't have gone better, and I'm certain that when the video comes out on YouTube, it will enjoy a second and third life while people discover and become interested in the platform.

Another thing that surprised me about the conference was the amount of healthy criticism that went around in the conference. Only a select few presentations escaped the constructive criticism of James Bennett, the wrath of Cal Henderson, or the healthy reminders by Mark Ramm. Instead of people getting upset, though, I heard all sorts of conversations throughout the conference discussing ideas and strategies for how to overcome the shortcomings that were pointed out.

But in the end, what would DjangoCon be without a good old fashioned group hug? Thanks to everyone who made it possible, and here's to another year of friendship and achievement for everyone in Django-land!

(Picture by 704race, whose pictures are also really fun!)