PyCode Conference 2019

PyCode Conference Intro

Last week I was at the PyCode Conference at the Olivia Business Centre - O4 Coworking in Gdańsk. Those were two busy days and in this blog post I want to share my thoughs on the event and lectures I participated in. But what exactly is the PyCode conference? Let’s find out!

As described by the organizers:

The aim of the conference is to raise qualifications of participants and highlight the latest trends in Python. It is also important for us to spread good programming practices. The conference is addressed to all Python programmers. It opens up to the community at every level of experience which means it is intended for advanced specialists as well as for beginners, including students.

Day One

I arrived at the O4 Coworking building where the conference was held at around 9 am. The conference registration wasn’t open yet, but the organizers were already setting up their stuff. After getting my goodie bag (pic below), I took my place in the Jowisz (Jupiter) room and awaited the start.

After a short introduction from the organizers (mentioning sponsors, partners, etc.), the first lecture by Rae Knowler started - How do vampires use the internet? An exploration of fandom and technology.. To be honest, at first I was listening to this lecture with a bit of a WTF syndrome. Clearly they (as Rae Knowler is nonbinary) started talking about some fandom things about vampires of all things (oh right… the presentation title). I couldn’t really grasp why at start - which seemed to be the authors intent. The presentation pinpointed how users (fandom in this example) take tools you build and use them in ways you would not imagine. The moral of the story? Watch closely what tool your users need, not what you want it to be.

The second presentation - So he’s an actual engineer! by Mateusz Krainski was about the difference between Agile Software Projects and the Waterfall project management used in space agencies. Mateusz mentioned how he moved away from ESA to Showmax and told about the reasons why he would ditch a job like that.

How to Raise a Codebase by Mikaeil Orfanian was a presentation comparing software project codebase to parenting a child. If you let your projects go wild and unattended, you will get a renegade kid, that will affect your other projects as a programming parent. He also mentioned his Developer Oath and suggested we should follow it.

Goodie bag Goodie bag with stuff from PyCode, Codilime, STX and Netguru

Tomasz Konieczny in Serverless - Automated Tests of web apps in Cloud world has shown us how to run selenium tests serverless using AWS Lambda services (althouth he mentioned other tools you can use). With benchmarking and simple calculations you could notice great performance for any developer, while keeping the costs low (it’s better to pay up to 1$ for CI build than let your developers sit there waiting for tests to finish for hours).

Finally, the last two presentations MQTT Pub/Sub: Not just for IoT and ZODB - a mature object-graph database were introduced by Christopher Lozinski. The first one described the basics of the MQTT communication protocol, which is widely used in the internet world (think about Facebook Messenger as an example. The later one introduced us to the world of graph-like databases. Although I have enjoyed the topic, the presentation was a bit controversial, without good author insight on why we should ditch relational databases in favor of ZODB (when the author couldn’t respond to an argument, he usually said “well I don’t know why would you even use a relational database”).

The day was ended with some lightning talks followed by an awesome afterparty at Green Club where we played pool. Back to the lightning talks, they included:

Day Two

Day two started with a great presentation Making sound with Python by Anna Wszeborowska. The speaker told us how her company works with sound and showed a simple example how to build a Python app, that will modify sound wave lenght, pitch, etc. The presentation also included a great office dog (don’t remember the name… sorry!), which bark was used for base sound notes.

Maciej Januszewski had a speach on Efficient PDF processing with Python afterwards. He compared various libraries that are mentioned on StackOverflow… and has shown us, why we shouldn’t believe in what random people say on the internet.

He was followed by the presentation Event-Sourced Story by Jacek Kołodziej. The presentation was about working with applications that need to store system events in the datbase… and how to deal with that, since storing json files in your db is ugly.

Sound Recognition Presentation about sound recognition by Jon Nordby

And we got to the best (in my opinion) presentation of the conference - Recognizing sounds with Machine Learning and Python by Jon Nordby. The speaker told about various challenges when working with sound recognition and presented a way to build a network that will recognize various street sounds. An interesting fact is that they actually use image recognition techniques, by creating a spectrogram of the sound frame, and then implementing a Convolutional Neural Network to learn on that. Had a talk with Jon after his presentation about the topic, and apparently sound recognition isn’t as broadly researched as image problems, hence they take a lot of things from the image recognition scientific progress.

After that I went to the Detect Depression from Social Network channels Using Deep Learning presentation by Agata Skamruk. I was a bit dissapointed by this one, since it only went through the basic topics and tools. Well… maybe next time!

The conference had a contest quiz afterwards, but sadly I couldn’t participate, due to the fact I had a train soon. A pity, because one of the prizes was a drone funded by STX Next.

Final thoughts

The conference was fun, can’t say no to that, although considering the ticket price I was a bit dissapointed with the conference organization (especially that one guy at the reception desk). The 2 days of lectures and a pool club party with lots of beer made this a cool event, especially for younger audience. Also many interesting people came, so got some interesting connections, that might be useful in the future. All in all, I will maybe go to the conference next year, if it’s hosted somewhere near. See you then!