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April archive

Springtime for Django

April 12, 2008

Spring has returned to the northern hemisphere, and everything's coming up Django. Here's a rundown of what's going on in the wide world of Django:

PyCon 2008 (March 14-16, with sprints the following week) in Chicago had a healthy Django contingent; the official "Birds of a Feather" session was packed, as were the two Django tutorials held the day before the conference and the four Django-related talks during the main conference session:

  • Adrian Holovaty's "State of Django" talk covered the past year's progress in Django development, some of the upcoming features to be found in two development branches of Django (queryset-refactor and newforms-admin, which will be refactoring and incresing the power and flexibility of the Django object-relational mapper and admin interface, respectively), and also announced a new, nonprofit organization dedicated to Django: the Django Software Foundation. The paperwork is still pending, but once it's up and running the DSF will be a major resource for the community, helping to promote and organize the development of Django.
  • Marty Alchin's "Django Under the Hood" (slides are online) took a peek at some of Django's internals, and covered useful tricks and techniques any developer of a Django-based application can benefit from.
  • Steven Wilcox's talk on the Django admin (full text is online) included a tutorial on newforms-admin, showing how Django's admin application will work once that branch is completed, and hinting at some of the added functionality you'll be able to access when it lands.
  • James Bennett covered best practices for developing reusable Django applications (slides online), culling tips and patterns from two years of full-time Django work at World Online.

Slides from the two three-hour Django tutorial sessions are also available:

  • Jacob Kaplan Moss' Introduction to Django provides a fast-paced intro for developers who are new to Django.
  • The Django Code Lab, chaired by Jacob, Adrian and James, provided an opportunity for developers to submit code and questions, and get advice and critiques from three seasond Django developers.

After the conference proper, the week-long sprint session yielded a lot of development activity; though there was plenty of code checked in during the sprint, the big win at a conference like PyCon is the ability to get developers together in a room to talk about features and hold design discussions that might otherwise involves weeks of back-and-forth posts on the developers' mailing list. Some highlights of the sprint were discussions for newforms-admin and for model-level validation to complement and improve the validation Django's form library offers for web-based input.

In addition to the fun of PyCon, there's been a flurry of interesting Django-related activity in the past few months:

  • One of Django's lead developers, Jacob Kaplan-Moss, has moved on to a new job where he's getting paid to work on Django. Most recently, he's been leading an effort to migrate Django's documentation onto the Sphinx documentation engine, the same system that powers Python's own development documentation.
  • Simon Willison launched Django People, a network of Django users, developers and fans around the world. At the moment, there are almost two thousand people listed.
  • Ryan Berg launched Djangofriendly, a site which lists Django-friendly web-hosting services and lets users rate and review their hosts.
  • Revyver launched Django Pluggables, a catalog of publicly-available Django applications which, in its own words, does the work of tracking all those applications so you won't have to. They've got over a hundred applications catalogued already, and more are popping up all the time.

And, of course, Google announced App Engine, a massively-scalable application hosting service which debuted with support for developing and hosting Python applications on Google's distributed infrastructure, taking advantage of the same BigTable database engine that powers Google's own web services. And Django is available right out of the box.

Meanwhile, Michael Trier has revived the tradition of weekly Django roundups, and launched This Week in Django, a podcast which has regular interviews with interesting folks from the community, useful tips for application developers and weekly summaries of Django development activity.

And if you prefer your Django in dead-tree format, there are two books already on the shelves:

And two more have been announced:

Both are scheduled to be published this summer.

Also this summer, O'Reilly will be holding OSCON 2008 in Portland, Oregon; as always, expect to see a contingent of Django developers and users hanging out, meeting up and talking Django.

In the meantime, Django development will keep on rolling; if you'd like to help out, check out the documentation on contributing, hop onto the django-developers mailing list or the development IRC channel, and join the fun.