Many Visual Studio blog readers probably don’t know that Visual Studio has great support for Python or that Azure Machine Learning lets you write in Python, and I’m betting even fewer of you know that our Python Tools team is heading to PyCon Montreal. We’ll be there to hang out with other people who love Python as much as us, chat about the stuff we do, the stuff you do, and have plenty of fun. Microsoft is the Keystone sponsor this year, so you’re going to see us all over the place, and we’re thrilled that our contribution helps the Python Software Foundation cover expenses and provide scholarships and travel aid for people who could not attend without assistance. If you’re attending, here are some of things we’ll be doing.
Tutorials and Workshops: April 8th-9th
Before the conference talks start, there are two days of tutorials and hands-on workshops that go deeper on topics of interest. This year, we will have two of our engineers doing tutorials. Orlando Karam will be teaching about writing Python for the Spark framework, and Chris Wilcox will be showing how to use Azure, Azure ML, and the Azure Data Market from Python. Both of these are hands-on sessions, but attendees don’t have to be existing customers or even running Windows. Python is a great cross-platform language, and as we add more Python support to our services, like the Azure SDK and Application Insights, they become really easy to use on other operating systems.
Language Summit: April 8th
Python has always done a great job of supporting Windows despite most of its developers being primarily Linux users, but over the last two years we’ve been increasingly contributing to Python’s development. We have our engineers engaging directly with the community, doing bug fixes, and helping on Windows-specific issues. Some of the most significant changes coming for Python 3.5, such as the upgrade to a newer compiler and a shiny new installer for Windows, have been contributed by our engineers, and we also released a compiler package to support Python 2.7. The language summit at PyCon is when the core developers can get together to make the big decisions about Python’s future, so if you have any suggestions about how Python could be better, let us know in the comments and we’ll bring them up.
Expo: April 10th-12th
During the conference, a large expo hall is opened to allow organizations to present their products and services to attendees. Microsoft will have a booth there filled with people who can tell and show you about Azure Machine Learning, Azure App Service (formerly Websites), Python Tools for Visual Studio, and even how to use Kinect from Python. We are also keen to take this opportunity to listen and find out how we can best support Python developers on our platforms. If you’re already using Visual Studio or Azure, we would love to see what you’re doing with them. We have classy polo shirts and quadcopters to give away for anything that impresses us! (Hint: you can get a shirt even if you only just installed VS or created a website — we’ll be impressed by anything.)
Sprints: April 13th-16th
After the main conference is over, there are four days of sprints. These are an opportunity for developers to work on their projects in person, while the rest of the year is spent collaborating over email. We will have engineers at each day of the sprints working on some of our libraries, helping on CPython development, and being available to help other developers when they encounter issues on Windows. Since many attendees won’t actually have a Windows PC handy, we’re also bringing a stack of Surface Pro 3s for people to use for testing and debugging. They’ll all have previews of Visual Studio 2015 and Python Tools for Visual Studio installed, so it’s a great chance to get hands-on with our products. We will have more details at the sprints, so come and find us there.
See you there!
Beyond what I’ve mentioned here, PyCon also has charity auctions, dinners, meetups and more events and opportunities to strengthen the community. PyCon also holds a jobs fair each year so that attendees have an opportunity to talk to recruiters who are specifically offering Python and related positions. We will be there looking for great developers, so come and see us on April 12th or apply online. We’ll also be at the lightning talks during the conference, and may even get up on stage to show off our latest libraries and tools. We are very excited to be attending and are looking forward to meeting more people who love Python as much as we do.
Hope to see you there!
|Steve Dower, Software Engineer, Python Tools
Steve is an engineer who tells people about Python and then gives them excuses to use it and great tools to use it with. He works on Python Tools for Visual Studio, contributes to many of Microsoft’s Python libraries, and is a core contributor and Windows expert for CPython.