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Learning from the community at DjangoCon Europe 2016

Claudina Sarahe giving a keynote about the front-end revolution I Photo by Bartek Pawlik (CC BY-NC 2.0)
Claudina Sarahe giving a keynote about the front-end revolution I Photo by Bartek Pawlik (CC BY-NC 2.0)

A couple of days ago I returned from Budapest, where I attended DjangoCon Europe 2016 (Django is a popular web Python framework) that took place in the beautiful Budapest Music Center. It was the first DjangoCon in history where 54% of the speakers were female (unfortunately, they represented only 8% of attendees). Such a high number of female speakers is rather unusual when it comes to technical conferences, but was also a welcome and refreshing change of pace.

The main theme of the conference was intersectionality. Organisers invited people from different communities and backgrounds to give inspiring keynotes. Some speakers ran their own start-ups, some had an academic and research background while others were originally trained as educators. One of the things I loved the most about the conference was that the organisers tried to be as inclusive as possible. They offered childcare, quiet rooms, consulting for people feeling stressed, and even baskets with different accessories in the bathrooms. All participants were provided with access to a slack conference channel to communicate, and a free ticket for Django Girls Budapest. Stenographers were there live captioning the conference, and not just for people with hearing impairments, but also for people who were not very fluent in English.

Parents with their children were welcome at DjangoCon 2016 I Photo by Bartek Pawlik (CC BY-NC 2.0)

Parents with their children were welcome at DjangoCon 2016 I Photo by Bartek Pawlik (CC BY-NC 2.0)

 The conference boasted a number of interesting speakers. Andrew Godwin presented the Mozilla funded Channels project which should secure Django's position as a web framework ready to meet the demands of real-time interactive applications that will increasingly dominate the web. Russell Keith-Magee, a founder of the PyBee project, showed his vision of the future JavaScript library to run Python bytecode in the browser. The idea is to be able to write the same code both on the server and client side, something that developers have been doing with Universal JavaScript for some time.

DjangoCon participants received socks instead of T-shirts I Photo by Bartek Pawlik (CC BY-NC 2.0)

DjangoCon participants received socks instead of T-shirts I Photo by Bartek Pawlik (CC BY-NC 2.0)

Three days of talks and presentations were followed by two days of workshops and sprints. Considering how many Django core developers were at the conference, sprints were a great way to start hacking on Django. I am always amazed with the amount of patience and understanding they have for even complete beginners. While I would normally spend my time contributing some patches and fixing a few bugs, this time I chose to do something different. I decided to be one of the few who worked on other Django related projects. I showed some love to our Free Software EPUB library which has had pending Pull Requests from the community for some time. This is important because what this is all really about is the community, and the Django community is really something we can all learn from.

Interesting in meeting Sourcefabric team members? We attend and/or present at a number of events each year, so if you want to catch up with us, view our events page to see where and when we will be available.

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