Python Programming, news on the Voidspace Python Projects and all things techie.

IronPython Tutorial and Testing Desktop Applications at PyCon (US) 2009

emoticon:car The decisions are in from the hardworking, much loved and generally good looking program committee for PyCon 2009.

Actually, we're not all that hard working: this year I helped with the talk reviews. I'll steal Brett's disclaimer though "I am on the program committee, but I was not allowed to vote on my own proposal nor know its status". [1]

The esteemed Mr Tartley and I will be giving an IronPython tutorial. This will be based on the one that Menno, Christian and I gave at PyCon UK this year - but I'll rename Twatter (because apparently it's much ruder in US English than it is in UK English) and we also learned a lot whilst giving the tutorial the first time round. It covers Windows Forms, databases, network and web requests, threading plus using .NET classes and should be a lot of fun [2].

I'll also be giving my talk on the Functional Testing of Desktop Applications. This is a 45 minutes talk about testing techniques and development practises for testing GUI applications. There is a lot of discussion around the functional testing of web applications; but much less around testing traditional user interfaces.

Being on the review committee was interesting (and it was great to see so many submissions on testing related subjects - the Python community is definitely going in the right direction with its focus on automated testing). Although the review system is not perfect, and very susceptible to the human flaws and biases of the reviewers (myself included), we had a very good bunch of reviewers - with enough wildly different opinions to balance out individual biases. Despite our different ways of thinking we were all committed to creating the best conference that most represents the spirit and interests of the Python community. The software infrastructure created by Doug and team is actually very good and was a very useful tool in making the difficult decisions about how to narrow down the number of talks to fit the schedule.


The basic system is public comments that talk submitters can see and respond to whilst we help them hone their submission - with private reviews that we use when making the final decisions. Some people have issue with any of this process being private, and this year the reviews (anonymised) all get sent back to the submitter along with their acceptance / rejection email. This is valuable feedback for talk submitters, and whilst their may be further improvements I think the basic process is sound.

There was also a lot of debate amongst the reviewers about how many talks we should have on completely new and 'niche' libraries. I think Tarek Ziade sums it up in his blog entry about his PyCon 2009 Talks.

After the first couple of rounds through we had about sixty talks to fit into just over fifty slots (the invited talks, panels and forty-five minute talks had already been dealt with by that point). By this stage all the talks in the system were very good, and so we had to make the judgements based on reducing duplication of topics and maximising the range of subjects covered. It took over two hours to do! In the end the total acceptance rate was over 60%. There were several great talk proposals that didn't make it purely because we had other good proposals that covered the same ground. Sad

Special thanks go to Ivan Kristic who acted as chairman, herded the rest of us cats, and made some of the toughest decisions.

I'm really looking forward to PyCon - see you there!

[1]I tried my hardest to hack Doug's system for preventing reviewers seeing the status of their own talks, but was pleasantly surprised to not be able to find my way around it. You could infer its general state by counting up totals for the different categories (if there were 50 talks in the 'all positive' category but only 49 showing then you can infer that your talk only has positive votes) but not see any specifics.
[2]Although tutorial givers have been notified of acceptance a final list has not been announced. I think there are still some issues around room allocations - so it is still possible that this tutorial might be pulled.

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Posted by Fuzzyman on 2008-12-19 15:40:58 | |

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EuroPython 2009: PyCon UK on Steroids

emoticon:cards I am on the committee for organising PyCon UK again this year (yes - I was very bad in a past life), but it will be a bit different this time (and 2010 as well). We are hosting EuroPython, so PyCon UK has morphed into something a bit bigger...

EuroPython will be held in Birmingham, UK from Monday 29th June to Saturday 4th July 2009.

We start with two days of tutorials, will have some very interesting keynote speakers (more details to come) and finish with sprints. We are already announcing the call for papers - come and speak at EuroPython 2009!

Talk & Themes

Do you have something you wish to present at EuroPython? Go to for this years themes and submissions criteria, the deadline is on 5th April 2009.

Other Talks, Activities and Events

Have you got something which does not fit the above? Visit

Help Us Out

We could use a hand - any contribution is welcome. Please take a look at .
An unique opportunity to affiliate with the prestigious EuroPython conference!

Spread the Word

Improve our publicity by distributing this announcement in your corner of the community, please coordinate this with the organizers:

General Information

For more information about the conference, please visit

Looking forward to seeing you!

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Posted by Fuzzyman on 2008-12-19 15:13:01 | |

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The Resolver One Spreadsheet Challenge - win $17000

emoticon:boxing_gloves Resolver One is the Python powered spreadsheet created by Resolver Systems, and the project I've been working on for nearly three years now.

Resolver One is a highly programmable spreadsheet program built with IronPython. It is capable of creating powerful spreadsheet systems, but is easy to program with Python and .NET libraries.

We're convinced that Resolver One allows people to create astonishing things that simply aren't possible in a traditional spreadsheet environment. And we want to prove it. Enter the Resolver One Spreadsheet Challenge.

The Resolver One Challenge

We're so confident about the revolutionary potential of Resolver One that we've set up the $25,000 Resolver One Challenge. Every month between now and May, we will be giving away $2,000 for the best spreadsheet we receive. And in late May, we'll be handing over $15,000 for the best of the best. Let your imagination run wild

Build a blogging engine directly in Resolver One. Hook Resolver One up to existing .NET or Python libraries in unusual ways. Build the game of life, or a Mandelbrot viewer directly into the grid. Get Infocom adventure games running inside a spreadsheet; or for that matter, have a conversation with Eliza. Make a music player that does visualisations in the cells.

Or something more businesslike?

Use the sophisticated web integration to pull of stock prices, or integrate your spreadsheet with Google Maps. (Perhaps you could build a spreadsheet that plots a map, showing in which part of the country stock or house prices are rising or falling the most.) Build an election predictor (and use a combination of Monte Carlo analysis and the web front end to make it really special).

In other words: Resolver One gives you the tools, you just need to use your imagination, and your Python and spreadsheet skills!

Getting Started with Resolver One

Resolver One is free to try and for non-commercial and Open Source uses.

To get you started with Resolver One we have a new tutorial. It takes you through all the major features, with examples to try:

When you install Resolver One you get a bunch of sample spreadsheets that also illustrate the core features.

In other Resolver One news we've just announced the major features that will be coming in Resolver One 1.4:

The main feature of course is that we're switching to IronPython 2. There are some other interesting additions though, including a first cut of being able to use numpy inside your spreadsheets!

  • Alpha support for numpy! Our Ironclad project has been working toward this for over a year now, and in Resolver One 1.4 the work will start to pay off.
  • The first steps towards what we call "model-side scripting". In Resolver One 1.4, you will be able to set a cell's formula from your button click handlers. While this is a small change in itself, it has big consequences - and should be a big help for people trying to write CRUD applications in Resolver One.
  • A major upgrade to our support for statistical calculations, with 24 new statistics functions, from AVEDEV to VAPR.

We also have exciting news about Ironclad itself. Almost a 1000 numpy tests now pass when used on IronPython and we are working on performance and getting PIL (the Python Imaging Library) to work. More details soon...

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Posted by Fuzzyman on 2008-12-18 17:50:19 | |

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