Nice Django sprint in Utrecht

Tags: django, nelenschuurmans

Last weekend I joined in the world wide Django sprint. Nice! I went to Utrecht (NL), which is just half an hour from my doorstep :-) We could use the offices of the Dutch game garden for free, for they want to support initiatives like a Django sprint. It was a nice place in a former bank office right in the center of Utrecht.

On saturday some 50 people attended, on sunday 25 (both my estimate). Three core committers were there: Jannis Leidel, Aymeric Augustin and Florian Apolloner.

That’s really a tip when you’re organizing a sprint: get one or more core committers on board for questions, tips and for the occasional nudge to accept pull requests. It just makes the whole process work much smoother. By design, Django’s community process is pretty much centered on the double handful of active core committers (at least to my eyes; by comparison I’m used to 80 committers to the core Plone code).

For me, getting to know a couple of people better (amongst them two core committers I hadn’t met that way) was the highlight of the weekend. Github talks about “social coding”: they really have a point. Don’t underestimate the social aspect of an open source project like Django. Having a couple of beers with someone makes his posts to the dev mailinglist more personal. Coding with someone you’ve seen a lot at Dutch Django/python meetings is enriching compared to “just” talking. Nice.

Another tip for other sprints that the organizers did real well: do a standup at the start of the sprint and ask people to tell what they’d like to work on. A couple of subjects surface in that way and you can join a group of people. Jannis said he’d like to see some work on the staticfiles docs. Me and three others jumped on that and worked on it as a group.

As a contrast, I’ve been to two other Django sprints. Both of the times you’d get a quick explanation at the start, pointing you at the bugtracker. That’s it. No groups, unless you shopped around yourself or got to sit next to someone who did something interesting. Perhaps it’s me, but I prefer there to be some subjects beforehand. The standup at the start of this sprint was a reasonable substitution.

But look at the europython 2009 sprint page for instance. Subjects to sign up for. In the end I coordinated the grok part of the sprint. It was just before the 1.0 release and I asked the release manager (a colleague) what his four or five main things were that he wanted to get fixed before the 1.0 release. I advertised for it on the grok dev mailinglist. I advertised for the list on my blog. We got together at the sprint and splitted up in pairs for the tasks and got alot done those days.

For a next sprint, a bit of shopping around for subjects or a wiki page with suggestions for which you can sign up might help get more people involved and productive.

Back to the Utrecht sprint. Another thing that was very well arranged: the food. For lunch, a table with bread and stuff was available throughout the day. Refreshments aplenty. In the evening, chinese food was delivered on saturday, pizzas on sunday. Especially the chinese food was good. Handy to have it all at hand at the sprint location. Going out for dinner is nice as well, but I totally don’t mind it this way.

What did I program on? The staticfiles documentation. With James Pic, Jan Murre and Wim Feijen. Tickets #19582 and #19897. One of them is ready for checkin, the other needs a tweak (or a core committer’s blessing). All in all, a nice coding weekend!

Closing comment (job offer) in Dutch: Leuke stad, Utrecht! Ook leuk om er te werken. Ik werk bij Nelen & Schuurmans. 50 m/v, waarvan zo’n 12 Django programmeurs. Een lekker grote groep om mee aan open source software te werken. Ja, het meeste wat we maken is open source. Kijk maar op en ! We zitten in de waterhoek (waterschappen, waterkwaliteit, overstromingsberekeningen, enz), dus lekker Nederlands. We kunnen regelmatig versterking gebruiken, dus kijk eens rond op voor een indruk. Zowel ervaren Django veteranen als Python beginners zijn welkom. Wel is het gros van het bedrijf hoog opgeleid, dus daar kijken we wel naar. Maar ‘t hoeft geen IT opleiding te zijn: zelf ben ik civiel ingenieur, we hebben ook een halve cardioloog en onze systeembeheerder is theoloog :-)

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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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