This year's DjangoCon Europe took place in Warsaw, Poland. It was the best programming conference I've ever attended. Why? Read on.
Not long ago I had the pleasure to work with one of the organizers of this event (Hi Ola!). When I heard first rumors about their idea of DjangoCon, I literally said you gotta be kidding me! This was so crazy at that time, but it turned out so AWESOME! I think every attendee would agree with me :)
Ladies and gentlemen, this is The Django Circus:
That's right - the conference took place in (and around) an actual circus tent with all the circusy stuff you know, baloons, popcorn, ice cream etc.
The regular talks
The agenda was very promising and made me impatient. As one could expect, all speakers delivered great talks. It's really hard to choose, but these were probably my favourites (in no particular order):
- Both keynotes - on Wednesday by Brandon Rhodes and on Friday by Daniel Greenfeld
- The Imaginative Programmer by Zed Shaw
- Planting Open Source Seeds by Kenneth Reitz
- Getting recommendations out of nothing by Ania Warzecha
- Having Your Pony and Committing It Too by Jacob Burch from the present, Jacob Burch from the past and guest-starring Russell Keith-Magee
- Prehistorical Python: Patterns past their prime by Lennart Regebro
At the end of each day there was a lightning talk session. The rules are simple: you have 3-5 minutes to introduce the audience to the subject and it's really great if you leave them yearning for more. Day after day, the number of lightning talks increased, reaching a whopping count of 24 on Friday. The topics ranged from pure productivity and personal development tips to awesome tools for localization to pure jokes (PHP-inspired template engine for example).
After three days of talks had passed, came the time for sprints. No longer in circus, but again an extraordinary place - a former cheese factory in the heart of Warsaw. The attendance at the sprints surprised everyone, even the organisers. More than two hundred people gathered together to hack, help each other, socialize and make the Django world a better place. I had no big goal during these sprints, so I undertook the task of improving the documentation. A better explanation of a configuration setting, an example here and there... small things that matter.
In the end
As I stated in the beginning, this was easily the best conference I've ever took part in. The atmosphere at the circus, the warm welcome from everyone attending, great technical and less technical talks - all this made DjangoCon EU 2013 an unforgettable experience. Huge thanks to all of you that made it possible - organisers, sponsors, speakers, attendees and everyone else involved in such an awesome event!
To quote Russell:
We have a fish above a circus tent - your argument is invalid. #DjangoCon— Russell Keith-Magee (@freakboy3742) May 17, 2013
Well... but seriously.