For those of you unable to attend, Google has released the videos from the recent Django Conference (see our coverage). Highlights include the DjangoCon keynote from founders Adrian Holovaty and Jacob Kaplan-Moss, as well as the always hilarious Cal Henderson talking about why he hates Django.
Where does Django go from here? That’s the question that closed out the final talk here at DjangoCon, with the co-creators of Django, Adrian Holovaty (above left) and Jacob Kaplan-Moss, addressing their own ideas for the future of the framework and as well as some “I want a pony” suggestions from the audience.
But before they delved into the nuts and bolts of what we can look forward to, both Kaplan-Moss and Holovaty went to great lengths to stress that Django is still not, at least in their minds, a framework, but rather “a way to get shit done.”
Although it could be taken as quip, after two full days of DjangoCon there’s one thing that’s abundantly clear — the core Django developers are extremely informal and very willing to listen too feedback and criticism. In fact Kaplan-Moss repeatedly stressed the importance of the community remaining open to criticism and admitting mistakes as well as fixing them.
So what can you expect in future version of Django? Kaplan-Moss and Holovaty had a number of suggestions for improving the Django admin — multiple delete, multiple edits and more — as well as support for multiple databases, an updated official Django book and more.
Perhaps the most welcome news (judging by audience response) is that Django will, baring serious community objections, move to a timed release schedule.
Other ideas included bringing the Django community sites together; perhaps using OpenID to handle identity, but also perhaps simply bringing together some of the many community sites — Django Snippets, Django People, Django Plugables, etc — so the sites could share data between themselves.
After outlining their own ideas, the pair turned suggestions over to the crowd, which asked for everything from multiple database support (a running theme at the conference) to ORM improvements, as well as dozens of smaller requests.
[Update: Simon Willison has collected up most of the suggestions and entered them in the Django ticket tracker with the keyword DjangoCon; head over to see a complete list of what the people want.]
The only suggestion that was universally booed was rolling Ajax support into Django. As Holovaty suggested, “that’s what JQuery.com is for.”
And that brings the first ever DjangoCon to a close. But be sure to stop by Webmonkey for all the latest Django news as well as some more tutorials.
Andy McCurdy of Whiskey Media, Michael Greer from The Onion and Leah Culver of Pownce talk about the successes their websites have found with Django.
The real test of any web application framework doesn’t involve abstracts like benchmark scores, but rather how well it performs in the wild. Maybe even more important is the big question: is anyone using it to build serious websites?
In the case of Django, the answer is yes. There are already several very large sites running on the framework, proving that, multiple database issues aside, Django can scale. It works for everyone from Google and the Free Software Foundation to The Onion, which is using Django to power its new Decider website.
Sunday afternoon at DjangoCon, attendees got a behind-the-scenes peek at some successful Django sites and the people who run them. In addition to those in the photo above, panelists also included Jason Yan from Disqus, Joshua “jag” Ginsberg from the Free Software Foundation and Matt Croydon of the Lawrence Journal-World.
But the panel guests didn’t limit the discussion to just their sites and what Django does for them. Moderator Jacob Kaplan Moss also asked each developer to offer some background on how and why they came to use Django.
The common theme on the panel? An overwhelming desire to stop using PHP and embrace Python for web development. Given that Django is the current standout option when it comes to using Python on the web, all the panelists eventually found themselves downloading the Django code. And the rest of course is, well, live sites.
We’re deep into the second day of DjangoCon, the two day event dedicated to the open-source web framework. There are some over-arching themes we’re seeing here, mostly involving a lot of self-criticism among Django’s core developers and a lot of discussion about how the framework can be improved and extended so it can better compete with more mature offerings like Rails. Also, you can sense the enthusiasm — everyone’s sporting Django shirts and buttons, chattering away about Django, GeoDjango, Python, and some cool new Django-powered site they heard about at last night’s party.
The hosts here at Google will be posting videos of all the talks soon (we’ll put up a link as soon as one’s available). Attendees are posting photos to Flickr, as are the Webmonkeys. You can also check out the latest tweets using this Twitter widget we whipped up:
Day two of DjangoCon brought together a number of journalists working with Django to talk about how the framework is helping change the way we get our news.
It’s no secret your local newspaper is in big trouble — even major publications are hemorrhaging money and readers. Hounded by aggregation sites like Reddit and Digg on one side and hampered by conservative management unwilling to take risks on the other, the newspaper world is in real trouble. But the good news is that some new organizations are starting to turn to Django to help them do more innovative things online.
Django began life at the Lawrence Journal-World, a progressive online newspaper site, and the journalism background makes itself felt throughout the project. And then there’s Ellington, a Django-powered commercial content management system aimed specifically at newsrooms.
While Django can make a nice CMS for journalists, its real power lies in the potential to completely transform the way news and realtime data is presented online. From the groundbreaking app ChicagoCrime.org to the more recent EveryBlock, Django is helping newspapers discover that, often, the database itself is the news.
The two common themes that quickly emerged from today’s panel were the vast amounts of time newspapers can save with Django — like hurricane evacuation shelter tracker that Waite was able to build in a scant 4 hours — and the ability to flexibly handle and display large chunks of data in organized ways.
Part of the appeal for the newsroom stems from Django’s admin tools which allow developers to almost instantly give reporters a place to post their stories, even before the views, URLs and user interface have been created.
As moderator Adrian Holovaty pointed out, journalists are “some of stupidest people when it comes to using computers,” and the Django admin system makes it relatively simple to manage and update a site.
Of course Django isn’t a panacea — often times the real and more pressing problem is that so much news data is in truly useless, inflexible formats.
But even in the case of awkward source data, Django has helped some journalists change the way they look at their stories — Politifact’s Matt Waite, for instance, said that Django encouraged him to learn programming, which is a familiar refrain here at DjangoCon.
As LJWorld‘s Matt Croydon pointed out, there’s a good bit of crossover happening because of Django — journalists turn to programming because of Django and programmers increasingly find themselves working for newspapers interested in pushing the future of online news. Django has become a kind of bridge between the two once disconnected groups.
Naturally, not everything is rosy. Like nearly everyone at DjangoCon, journalists have their gripes about Django. The main complaint from the journalist panel was the lack of good database migration tools — changing a Django model when the database is already storing a good bit of data is not easy (though Simon Willison’s dmigrations tool promises to make that task much easier)
While Django alone isn’t enough too save the floundering world of online news, it is at least offering journalists and their editors some innovative ways to present data, stories and mashups in new and creative ways.