Djangocon: Cardiff

Tags: django, djangocon

(One of the summaries of a talk at the 2015 Djangocon EU conference).

Conference introduction

Some noteworthy items from the introduction:

  • There’s a creche! So people with small children also can come.
  • No water bottles. Well, actually, everyone got a aluminium wateter bottle, hand-washed by the conference chair :-)
  • You think I’m typing fast for these summaries? There were two live speach-to-text typists that provided live subtitles on a couple of monitors! Wow. Handy for those with hearing problems and for those whose first language isn’t English.

Cardiff University wellbeing service

The cardiff university’s wellbeing service offers help during the conference. For instance with managing stress and other common workplace difficulties. Also advice with physical and emotional wellbeing.

Think about the top 5 most important items in your life. If you’d draw it as a pie chart, how much would you allocate for every one of them? Is there for instance a ‘work’ segment that takes up 70%, drowning out the rest?

Wellbeing is linked to increased productivity in work and improved work performance. More than 40% of persons have problems that impact their work productivity! Work intruding on the rest of their lives, for instance. Or a sedentary lifestyle wreaking your health. Sleep deprevation. And watch out with your caffeine intake.

Did one of these things sound familiar to you? Go and have a 25 minute talk with us if you’re in need for a quick shake-up.

During the sprint, a group will be working on software that might help the wellbeing service.

CAMEL, the Cardiff Maths e-learning project - Dafydd Evans

Dafydd Evans is a lecturer at Cardiff university.

Writing mathematics requires specific layouts and fonts. Traditionally, you use LateX and export a PDF. That doesn’t really work well on the internet, it isn’t interactive. LaTeX works fine and is beautiful, but technically it is a dead-end technology.

A problem also: homework. Due to the font problem, people turn in hand-written notes.

How do you deal with the fonts? All those weird mathemetical symbols? Big integral symbols, etc. MathJax is a reasonable solution in the browser. The parts that are renderable as html are handled in html, mathjax handles the equations. That’s the idea.

There are quite some LaTeX contructs that are easy to tranfer to html, like bold, italic, references and the structural markup like chapters and sections.

Problems are the math-specific items (due to fonts) and all the completely custom extensions you can do.

What they wrote was Yet Another Latex Parser. It is implemented in python. Processing via regular expressions. Output is a so-called materialized path tree. Rendered as some sort of xml tree.

The CAMEL project uses django to manage this for the math textbooks. Various models to wrap homework assignments, parts of the textbook, and so on.

django-mptt makes it easy to store and access hierarchical data in a database. This helps in getting the LaTeX tree into the database. The main parts are stored as hierarchical BookNode objects. A template then renders the whole hierarchy by iterating over it, rendering it based on the node type.

He showed the endresult and it looked quite fine. Including interactivity by submitting some homework answers. The students can even enter latex which is then rendered into the answer.

Real Cardiff - Peter Finch

Peter Finch is a local poet.

Cardiff was pretty much nothing when the Romans build a castle here.

A short history? Welsh, Romans, Welsh, Normans, Welsh, Bute, David Cameron, Welsh again

The coal in Cardiff’s hinterland in the industrial revolution was the number one factor that made Cardiff the bigger city that it is now.

A model railway at the 2015 'ontraxs' exhibition in Utrecht
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About me

My name is Reinout van Rees and I work a lot with Python (programming language) and Django (website framework). I live in The Netherlands and I'm happily married to Annie van Rees-Kooiman.

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