[FRPythoneers] May Meeting Report

Evelyn Mitchell efm at tummy.com
Tue May 22 13:22:52 MDT 2001

May Front Range Pythoneers Meeting Report

9 in attendance

Topics discussed:
   - Python Training in Colorado -- it is the best place in the country to
get training (Mark Lutz, Kaivo, Sean Reifschneider).

   - How to find Python Programmers -- I think FRPythoneers is the best
place to find experienced Python Programmers in Colorado right now. Though,
if you've got good programmers already, Python is an easy language to learn.

   - Using Zope with 2.1 - There have been good reports.. we need Unicode!

   - Report Writer - the easiest way to manage PDF, programmatic templates
      for PDF output

   - Website - volunteers please contact me (efm-frpythoneers at tummy.com)

   - Topics for future meetings -- 
      June 2001 -- Jeffery Collins - Pippy Python for the Palm
      July 2001 -- Python and Tkinter
      August 2001 -- Python and Databases (Oracle, ODBC, PostgreSQL, DBI)
      September 2001 -- Python IDEs on WinX (PythonWin, Komodo, PythonWorks)
      October 2001 -- Profiling Python
      Not Scheduled (Looking for presenters:)
         - Unit Testing and Extreme Python
         - Zope 

Presentation: Sean Reifschneider on new features in 2.1

2.1 stable was released last month, which marks the first of the
new, faster series of releases.  In order to better manage the
direction and pace of changes, lots of new features were added:

  - PEP directed development
      Python Enhancement Proposals (PEP) python.sf.net/peps 
      Everyone can suggest changes and improvements to Python now,
      and the discussion about the changes is collected along with
      the PEP. This gives the community a clearer view into the process
      and tradeoffs of Python development. It may also reduce the 
      FAQs of "Why don't you do _this_?" If it is a feature which was
      discussed in a PEP already, the reason why it wasn't included
      should be attched to the original PEP.

  - __future__ and Warning Framework
      With all of the changes proposed over the next few release cycles,
      it is important to be able to use new features in a way which 
      doesn't break old code. 
        With __future__, you can request new features that may break old
        code. Someone joked, "What about

          from __past__ import no_nested_scopes

        The Warning Framework gives a lot of flexability in turning off
        warnings (what you'd like to do with the warning, what message
        you're looking for, the category of warning, the module it 
        occurs in, the line number in the module). This lets you postpone
        fixing warnings related to Python language change explicitly,
        while preserving warnings that are important to fix immediately.

   - New Build System
       Distutils rocks!

   - Weak References
       Kind of like a cache for expensive operations, your program can
       release resources associated with a large data item or expensive
       calculation if other activities need them, while preserving
       the reference to them. Then, when your program needs the item
       pointed to by the reference, it looks at the weak reference.
       If the item is gone, the weak reference has a callback to the
       code to re-create the item.

    - Function Attributes
       Stop using __doc__ to hold extra information about something.
       Function attributes are meta data about functions.
       It doesn't sound like they have been formalized in common usage
       yet (another PEP perhaps?)

    - Lots and lots of other new features

    - References: http://www.amk.ca/python/2.1

Next Meeting:
  Monday June 18 2001
  Abacus Direct, 11101 West 120th Avenue, Broomfield CO
    (Corner of Network Drive and Interlocken Loop, head for the
    Jefferson County Airport West Entrance)
  6:30 Informal discussion
  7:00 (presentation starts, no admittance due to security)
  Jeffrey Collins on Pippy - Python for the Palm

Mailing List:
  frpythoneers at lists.community.tummy.com

  Evelyn Mitchell, efm-frpythoneers at tummy.com

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