Amazing Things in Open Source

  • by Audrey Roy
  • Lots of volunteer work: PyLadies and

Python community is a meritocracy

If your work has merit people use it

  • Anyone can build anything
  • Anyone can start a user group
  • Anyone can be a leader

No permission needed

  • Just implement or emperiment with what you want/need
  • Fork if necessary
  • Ask forgiveness later!

It’s fun

  • Rewarding to see your work published

Who’s in charge

You are if…

  • …you deliver code
  • …you maintain it


  • Forced to make quick decisions during Django Dash

  • All packages are added manually, using:

    • package name
    • PyPI URL
    • repo URL
  • No spiders, no automation, good decision?

    • Doesn’t matter, looks like it’s successful
  • Be careful of mailing lists, IRC, et all

    • don’t talk too much before implementation
    • Just get something done

Your gut instinct is often right

  • Django Packages

    • Fun fact Many of the grids were created as test fixtures and have remained
    • You can change them but keep in mind we’ll track the changes and hunt down people who do wrong


Why she uses Django these days

  • Lots of packages
  • Can wire things together

Django Core vs Apps

  • Many, many batteries included

  • Gives you one obvious way to do things

  • Third party apps: “Django apps”

  • Good

    • One pretty clear way to do things
  • Bad

    • Stuck with one way to do things.
    • Example: URL routing differences

Clear pattern for Django apps

  • Simple
  • Easy to understand, implement, install
  • Documented
  • Repeatable

Django’s Ecosystem over time

  • More and more new innovations implemented as 3rd-party packages

  • Problem with adding all to core is then you are stuck

    • Deprecation becomes challenging
    • Additional complexity

Observation on Packages

  • Umpteen JQuery plugins
  • Perl: 100K modules
  • Python: 17K packages

So very useful!

Pyramid Core vs. Add-ons approach

  • smaller core, more add-ons

  • Anyone can write add-ons

  • Some are “officially endorsed”

  • Easier to do extensions of the core

  • Young, but potential for rapid growth

Pyramid’s Ecosystem over time

  • Past: Pylons, Repoze.BFG, TurboGears
  • Present: small core, docs for doing add-ons - but not many yet
  • FutureL Lots of add-ons!

Checklist: What 3rd Party Package Devs need

  • “Best practices” doc on how to write 3rd party packages
  • Well defined, easy-to-understand spec
  • Sample code (as much as possible)


Telling people to “read the source code” is not the answer.

  • Active Community
  • Mailing list, IRC
  • Docs, tutorial, sample projects

What about too many options?

  • Zen of Python: “There should be one– and preferable only one –obvious way to do it”

    • This is about Python language constructs
    • Not about 3rd party packages
  • Sometimes packages are close duplicates

    • Please document how you are different from other tools
    • deprecate when your stuff gets old, don’t leave people hanging!

Too much fragmentation?

  • Lots of Python groups and tools! Maybe too much?
  • We need diversity of ideas and approaches

What makes a package useful?

  • Unix philosophy: Do one thing and do it well
  • Usability: install docs, pip, PyPI
  • Reliability: tests, maintained, community


  • Don’t underestimate the impact of your notes on-line

    • Your snippet on your blog can get hit 25K+ times
    • Package up your stuff and deploy to PyPI
  • Don’t over-engineer things to make them pluggable, abstract

    • urllib2 is a good example
    • counter: sometimes a single file is good
  • Too much functionality

    • Kitchen-sink base platforms

    • utility, do-everything packages

      • django-extensions: ugh
    • duct-tape packages that try to fix everything once

      • HTML world: CSS resets that also do typography, layouts, and more

Glory Pattern: Be Pythonic

  • Why do we love Python?

    • Elegance
    • Ease of Use
    • Explicitness, clarity
    • Simplicity

Community Building

  • Mentorship

    • Today’s new users are tomorrow’s contributors & leaders

    • Mentorship groups: Positive encouragement

      • PyLadies
      • Python Core Mentorship
      • (need more like this)

Diversity of Ideas

  • Look at schedules & slides from PyCons around the world

    • KiwiPycon: Home of Twisted!
    • PyCon AU: Focus on core Python, PyPI
  • Ideas differ country-to-country

  • Same goes for other types of diversity besides geographic

    • SoCol Python is often more about deployment/scaling
    • LA PyLadies is often about asynchronous


  • Build what you want
  • Encourage the 3rd party community to support your effort
  • Be helpful