Wednesday, September 07, 2011

DjangoCon 2011

:: a tribe gathers ... ::

I'm still sorting through impressions.

The conversation at dinner was reminiscent of a Pycon, almost a case of deja vu. So where are the universities in all this? These little companies are learning institutions, little space capsules, genius astronauts / cosmonauts.

Getting GeoDjango up and running: might you come to DjangoCon with the expectation of getting help with that? What if a school had a booth, performed install mitzvahs.

We talked about the advisability of outsourcing the core code pile versus eating one's own dogfood. Rather than change existing schools, I advocate designing new ones from scratch that are "written from within". Model by showing, not by being cantankerous.

The keynote this morning was all about negotiation skills. Geeks, or proto-geeks (nerds) tend to take an "I'm right" position thinking that's the extent of the skill set needed. The "dirty truth" is people get promoted based on people skills. Yes, excluding from a clique is essential to survival as an ethnic identity sometimes, it's the price one pays. Including is likewise the name of the game. Recruiting happens.

I lumbered to the microphone for a question, revealing I teach TDD (test driven development) among other things, which the speaker had dismissed as unreal (true, it's more a philosophy). Shouldn't library modules come with self diagnostics at least? She agreed, in the case of libraries. Her models were more one-off websites. Keep the testing code separable from the production code, for many reasons (and that's mostly what we teach).

I wore my black Princeton T-shirt some of the time (Going Back -- it's my 2005 25th reunion T-shirt), giving the alma mater some presence. Why don't schools differentiate around the internal social networking software they evolve (and open source some of) in-house?

Should universities be centers of innovation, with school spirit manifest in the core admin?

This would mean crossing faculty with IT a lot more.

Yes, students come and go: all the more reason to put lifers in a supervisory role (with paid time for patching code).

Perhaps new kinds of school will do this. I'm not saying the old guard will be able to change fast enough to keep pace.