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PyCon UK is underway!

The first day of Python's UK conference is now winding down. Here's a quick look at what happened and what's still in store...

The community organised Python conference, PyCon UK, got off to a great start today in the Coventry TechnoCentre today.

After a welcome bacon sandwiches and a cup of English Breakfast the keynote address was made by David Mertz, a key board member of the Python Software Foundation and one of the few to take the trip across the Pacific for the event.

There were no woolly introductions or safe topics on offer – it was straight down to business assessing the state of mathematical functions within Python and their apparent need of attention. Where do you draw the line on what’s included in Python’s Standard Library? How can new users hope to pick the right library for the job, given the wide variety and the varying mileage you get from each? While a challenging wake-up call, David’s keynote ensured no shortage of talking points as delegates made their way to lunch.

Python 3.4 and beyond
Despite a few hiccups with scheduling, the afternoon’s talks were headed admirably by Tim Golden, who introduced ten new features coming to Python 3.4. While it has only just gone into Alpha with the final release expected around February 2014, Tim did a thorough job of rounding up the changes and additions programmers can expect. Since the list was dominated by PEPs (Python Enhancement Proposals), we recommend a trip to the Python PEPs page and catching up on PEP 442, 445, 439 and PEP 450 in particular.

You can get up to speed with the schedule for the remaining three days of PyCon UK on the PyCon wiki. As you’ll notice there’s a heavy focus on education for this year’s event with teachers from up and down the country taking part in a training track tomorrow, with students arriving on Sunday for a Raspberry Jam headed by the self titled ‘Raspberry Jambassador’, Alan O’Donohoe. We’ll be there with our Raspberry Pi robot, who will be the cover-star of Linux User issue 132.