Tears & Laughter at the London Python Dojo

Yesterday’s Dojo was as entertaining as ever. It almost went wrong before it started, as Fry-IT — who continue to provide the venue and the food & drink — had no working projector. Fortunately, my company were willing to lend one for the evening which got over that hurdle.

We started with a couple of lightning(ish) talks. Ravi had been on the StartupBus and he and the team had produced the final winner: TripMedi. Ravi explained the way the thing works and various of the challenges involved. He also explained how YCombinator works — something I’d only been vaguely aware of. [On a personal note, I can’t even imagine the kind of person who’d actually want to make use of what TripMedi provides, but I suppose it takes all sorts…] UPDATE: Ravi has just tweeted that the team has made it through to the next stage of YCombinator. Congratulations!

I then gave a presentation on contributing to Python core development and how you could go about it. Thanks to the efforts of Jesse Noller, Doug Hellmann and others, there is now the Python Insider blog, whose intention is to give greater visibility of some of the wider-reaching discussions taking place on python-dev. And the new core-mentorship mailing list is specifically intended to welcome would-be contributors who aren’t too sure how to go about things, or what the ground rules and policies are.

Once all the talking was done, the trouble started :) Nicholas, the indefatigable organiser of the London Python Code Dojo, has been quite keen on promoting XMPP (aka Jabber) to implement some sort of network-ability for our nascent multi-Dojo game engine. For the previous Dojo, his team had produced a simple XMPP Component which implemented a to-do list: the challenge for that Dojo. This time, Nicholas was keen for everyone to have a go with the same thing. He’d put code on Github, added a readme, and recommended the lua-based Prosody server and SleekXMPP for the Python end.

So we broke up into small groups (as they say), fired up git, pip and whatever, and dove in with about 75 minutes to produce something.

About 45 minutes later, most of us were still diving in, trying to get Prosody to listen to anything and failing to get the component talking to Prosody.

At this point, Mr Tollervey very wisely decided that we should cut our losses. Fortunately, John Chandler was willing to go up front and ask for a code review of the code he had produced. Which turned out to consist of two lines, one of which was “import random”. Being social coders, we were more than willing to advise him on the many ways in which he could make this simple and correct code into an over-engineered mess of obfuscation.

Since we’re in the middle of PyWeek, it seemed apt to have a demo from Daniel Pope of the game he’s developing on the theme of “Nine Times”. Impressive as always. (If you haven’t seen it, check out Bamboo Warrior, one of his previous efforts).

As always, we ended with a raffle of name-stickers for an O’Reilly Book and — this time — an additional donation from Mr Tollervery himself. Ironically Jon “I don’t like XMPP” Ribbens got the O’Reilly book on XMPP.

Watch the python-uk mailing list or follow ntoll on Twitter to know when tickets are available for the next Dojo (it usually takes place on the first Thursday of the month).