Django under the hood: keynote - Russell Keith-Magee

Tags: django, djangocon

(One of my summaries of a talk at the 2015 django under the hood conference).

Russell Keith-Magee started by showing a lot of commit messages to show Django’s history. There are weird and humoristic ones in them.

Many having to do with Malcolm Tredennick. Like Malcolm’ insistence on auto-escaping in templates to make it safe. And removal of white space at the end of lines.

Stories about bugs that only surfaced on the first day of the month if UTC had not yet rolled over. And only if the previous month had 31 days… Oh, and a set of commits done by a person that was convicted to community service!

There was a fine collection of weird problems. “Fixed #16809 – Forced MySQL to behave like a database”.

Now we come to the present. There are some technical threats like real-time and async code. Technical challenges can be met. There is a bigger risk, though: the social aspect. The low hanging fruit in django has all been solved. What is left to do is really hard big problems. Often, only core committers do that kind of work. But those are the ones that already do a lot of work. We need new people stepping up. Those need to be mentored. By the same people that already do a lot of work. There are some initial efforts at paying people to work on django, but that’s a topic of an entirely different talk.

Bringing in new people means new people in the community. What is the community like? Can it cope with new people? How is the atmosphere? Do technical debates between old community colleagues flare up into wars? Or do they not? There has been a big debate on the code of conduct with all the expected arguments. In the end the code of conduct is now just accepted practice, but it took quite some work and flak.

Django is an incredible project. With a great community. And it already exists for 10 years! Which is an achievement in itself.

Russell mentored some people, he told an example earlier. Malcolm was called out as someone who especially mentored and welcomed and helped people. Russell asked us to follow Malcolm’s example and to be welcoming and to help people and to share knowledge. Start at this conference!

German railcar leaving tunnel

Image: German ‘Schienenbus’ railcar leaving the Monreal tunnel on my in-progress ‘Eifelburgenbahn’ layout

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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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