The conference is worth attending if you are a student, programmer or a hobbyist. If you are a swag-hungry then don’t expect much as a swag from this conference. If you are a Devsprint lover, then this conference has the coolest Devsprint. A great number of keynote speakers are invited for this conference.
Because I was volunteering for this conference I reached Pune one day earlier than the conference days. The volunteer meeting was happening at Reserved-bit.
Reserved-bit is the best hackerspace I have ever come across. It has a large collection of programmable boards. You will find boards like Raspberry Pi, Bana Pi, Dragonboard, Bigalbon, BBC-microbit and the 3D printer. Furthermore, this space has a great collection of books on Compilers and Embedded programming. I managed to found few on open-source too. The owners are great hackers. You will love to interact with hacker Siddhesh Poyarekar. Hacker Nisha Poyarekar is volunteering the PyLadies community at Pune.
Pune to Mumbai
I spent my half day in this space. I got the responsibility of receiving one of the keynote speakers who was landing at Mumbai airport midnight. To be frank, estimation of Google Maps between Pune to Mumbai is wrong. It showed nearly 2 hours but it took almost 4.5 hours to reach Mumbai. It took few more minutes to reach the airport. The road is impressively smooth. You will encounter the beautiful mountains of Lonavla. The task of moving from Pune to Mumbai airport, receive Katie and come back to Pune was completed in almost 13 hours. I left from Pune around 4.30 PM and came back at nearly 5 AM next day early morning.
Illness during conference
Because I did a huge amount of traveling at that night, I was unable to get enough sleep. Such tiredness resulted in an eye infection. I managed to attend the first day of the conference, but I was not in a condition to attend the second day. Treatment from local doctor healed me in two days and then I was able to take part into Devsprint.
The conference was a total of 4 days where the initial two days were for the talks and the end was assigned for a Devsprint. It didn’t overwhelmed me with many tracks but gave the quality talks presented in a single track. The talks were set from 9 AM to 5 PM which was taken little lightly by the attendees.
I was pretty impressed with the keynote speakers of this conference.
Katie is the O’Reilly author. Her book on Accessibility depicts her area of expertise. She is fun to talk to. She likes to listen about developer communities, writing and most importantly computer games. Her broad vision on product development is amazing. She is an avid reader. I enjoyed listening to her experience of being in India for the very first time.
Honza is the dude who loves contributing to Django. He is a core contributor of Django too. He hacks on Python drivers at Elastic. I was impressed with his suggestions on a code design problem I was trying to solve from the past few months. His suggestions on code design are worth noticing. He is a vimmer and maintains little vim plugins as a part of his interest.
Stephen professes the Dismal Science of Economics. His knowledge is deep-rooted just like his beard. You will enjoy discussing computer science, books and his experience of programming. He is authoring few books written in the Japanese language. Stephen is Emacsite.
Terri is a security nerd. She spent most of her time exploring tools at Intel. Terri knows how to hide from the spying of the U.S. Government. She is leading Google Summer of Code section from Python Software Foundation. Terri is PSF community service award winner. If you are a student and want to take part in GSoC choosing PSF as your organization then she is the right person to talk to.
Nick listens more than he speaks. I will advise you to not disturb him if he is coding. He enjoys concentrating while coding. Getting his mentorship was a great experience. He has been contributing to Core Python for a decade now. You will enjoy discussing on interesting code compositions with him. He is a Red Hatter.
Unfortunately, I didn’t get much time to talk with Praveen during this conference. He is a math teacher who teaches concepts of mathematics using Python programming language. You should feel confident to speak with him on Python in education and mathematics with him.
John is the wittiest person that I know. His lines always end with humor. He hacks mostly on hardware and GNU/Linux. Micro Python and GNU/Linux should be considered as part of his interests.
I am sad to declare that I was unable to attend any keynote speeches because of the illness. Mostly I rested at the hotel or talked with people during the conference days.
If you are volunteering for this conference, then you will be invited to a volunteer dinner party. We enjoyed party colored disco lights dancing on the bits of the DJ. Punjabi food was served, and if you were above 25 than you were allowed to take a sip of a beer.
Devsprint happen at the Red Hat Headquarters, Pune. I found the building has tight security. You will find an individual pantry section dedicated to each department. We were instructed to hack at a huge cafeteria section. I myself contributed to Core Python. Nick Coghlan was mentoring for Core Python. I reviewed one PR, found one broken test case and wrote a fix of an existing issue with his help. Honza was leading the development of Django web framework. A team of Anand Chitipothu mentored for Web2py. Farhaan Bukhsh mentored for Pagure. John Hawley encouraged contributing to MicroPython. Terr Oda, Stephen Turnbull and Florian Fuchs mentored for GNU/Mailman.
Why attend this conference?
This conference has the coolest Devsprint. The organizers understand the value of the Devsprint in a conference. I have never observed such an importance of Devsprint at any other Python conference happening in India.
If you are a student, then this is a beginner friendly conference. Don’t be afraid to attend if you are a Python noob. You will receive a student concession for the tickets too.
If you are a developer, coming to this conference will inspire you to grow from your present level. You will meet core contributors, lead programmers, owners of startups and project managers. You will find a huge scope of opportunities to network with people.
The conference is single track event. This decision helped me to not miss the interesting talks. In my previous experience, parallel tracks forced me to choose between talks when I was interested in both, which killed me.
I have never seen such a huge amount of keynote speakers at any conference happening in India. Keynote speakers were the main attraction of this conference.
What was missing?
If you are a swag-hungry fellow than attending this conference won’t be worth it. The conference attendees have to be satisfied with the conference T-shirt.
I observed there were fewer corporate stalls than at other Python conferences. A stole from Reserved-bit, Red Hat and PSF community stall was there.
A workshop section was completely missing. In my opinion, the workshop helps the beginners to start. There were a few topics which can be better represented as workshop rather than a talk.
I was unable to observe any dedicated section for an open space discussion. This section is helpful for communities and contributors to discuss interesting problems and think together.