I just started work on a new Django app to allow me to define my musical practice goals, then record my sessions and the progress I make. This will eventually find its way into the Out of the Darj website so that all of the students can use it as well. The plan is to include a profile of sorts where you can define your goals and show your progress toward making your goals a reality.
The project is named ‘stanton’ after the great Stanton Moore. You can find the repo here: http://github.com/markfreeman/stanton
The last few weeks have been quite busy. I’ve been preparing for the first PyHam meeting, where I will be giving a presentation on common testing frameworks in Python. I have a tendency to volunteer to talk about subjects I’m interested in, but don’t know much about. This should be interesting. I’ve certainly learned quite a bit in the last couple of weeks. Our first official meeting will be next week (1/21) at Birmingham Southern College, at 6:30pm.
In an effort to better connect with other python developers I decided it would be a good idea to form a Python users group in Birmingham. There aren’t many of us, that I personally know, but hopefully this will bring everyone out. I’ve volunteered to discuss testing frameworks because I want to learn more about them. I’ve used Nose some, but no where near what I would like to know. I’ve also volunteered to discuss Django and demo the Out of the Darj website code. It’s pretty simple, but it shows how powerful and easy Django can be to use for building a simple, dynamic website. Below is the announcement for the new groups. If you are in the area and interested in attending, we would love to have you!
A new Python users group is forming in Birmingham, AL USA. We will be holding a planning meeting at Roque on December 10th at 5:30pm. See our group page (http://groups.google.com/group/pyham) for more details.. While you are there, join the group and say hello!
The Out of the Darj website is finally ready for release. I still have some work to do to get the media page up and running, but I didn’t want to wait any longer with the rest of the site. The source code for the site is absolutely available if anyone wants it. I haven’t posted it since it is in such a state of flux, but if you want it, leave a comment and I’ll get it to you.
One of the things that makes me utterly passionate about technology is how it is truly an art. Like a painter stepping back to view his creation, a programmer gets that same feeling of creation from what he codes.
I’ll be attending Atlanta Linux Fest this weekend and I’m excited about it. I’ve never been to this large of a technical conference. I believe there are almost 600 people registered so far. I hope to meet some folks from the Southeast and do some networking. There is no such thing as too many contacts. Now just to drag myself out of bed at 4:30am so I can hit the road in time.
I spent much of the start of my holiday weekend learning to deploy Django. I didn’t have much luck deploying to my web host, even though I have a VPS. To avoid messing up any of my other hosted domains, I had decided using FastCGI was the best option. After several hours of trying, it just wasn’t working for me. I’m sure it is something little that I had set wrong, but the frustration led me to setting up an Ubuntu Server virtual machine on one of my computers I don’t use much. I got everything installed and had no trouble setting up Apache to run Django. I’m really glad I did this. I hope to learn a lot more about Apache and Linux security of the new few months, then buy a dedicated box to serve as a web server. For now, the VM is working fine and surprisingly fast. The site is going to be for my local Middle Eastern Percussion ensemble, Out of the Darj.
DjangoCon starts today. I have a local acquaintance who went. Hopefully I can pick his brain when he gets back. Thankfully, they tend to post all of the sessions online, so you can watch them later.
Lesson learned: Sometimes it is better to do things yourself. This is especially true when you are trying to learn and want to understand things from every angle.
I just finished reading the book, The Passionate Programmer, by Chad Fowler. If you read one inspiring career book this year, this book should be the one. It has been a while since I’ve read such a motivational book that doesn’t just repeat the same old stuff.
The book talks about the things that make you a remarkable programmer and will help you build a remarkable career. For instance, the book mentions that many people come to IT because they think it will be a lucrative career, not because they love it. I see this in my day job. I can look around and see people who are only there to collect a pay check and could care less about technology past the door of the office. Do they go home and study to stay up on the latest trends and developments…nope. To really make it successfully in this field, you have to be passionate about what you do. To be passionate, you have to really love it.
At the same time, the Author urges you not to be dogmatic about your choice of technologies. This makes since considering how fast the technologies can change. Ten years ago, dynamic languages were virtually unused and today, thanks to many web frameworks like Django and Ruby on Rails, Python and Ruby have really taken off. Back then, you were cutting edge if you used Java and now that same decision is playing it safe. The Author also mentions that while you should plan your career, that planning should be more Agile rather than following a Waterfall approach. You must be willing to bend with the tides and adapt yourself and your skill set.
- If you want to be great, you have to be passionate about what you are doing.
- Be willing to change you focus. Don’t get so caught up in a particular technology that you don’t see it all changing around you.
One problem I have is that love to read about programming. It’s a problem because I do more reading about programming than I actually do programming. It’s partially because I’m a curious person and mostly because I don’t know what to actually work on. Well, I finally have a project I can start on. I’ll be working on the new website for my percussion ensemble, Out of the Darj. Interestingly enough, I’ve chosen to do the site with Python and Django rather than Java. I believe Java would be overkill for such a small site. Since Python, and specifically Django, are on my list of things to work on, we have a winner. I’ve just begun The Definitive Guide to Django: Web Development Done Right, 2nd Edition, and hope to start on the actual site framework by next weekend.