Project Ideas for PyCon

This year my company is sending some folks to PyCon! For those that don’t know, PyCon is a conference that focuses on the Python programming language. When PyCon was in Dallas I was able to go both years and it was a lot of fun. It is an opportunity to totally immerse yourself in programming and the community in a way that is pretty unique. There are literally hundreds of people constantly discussing programming with Python. It is almost impossible to avoid getting sucked into the conversations and learning something new.

It is a good idea to head to a conference like this with some ideas on things you can work on. Sometimes these sorts of projects get some attention from others and you have the rare opportunity to “sprint” on the code and get something working others can use. Other times it simply gives you something to do when considering all the different techniques and libraries you’re learning about. Last year I worked on writing a simple CouchDB-ish database to get better acquainted with some different libraries and learn more about threaded programming. Needless to say nothing came of it in the end, but I did learn a few things, which was the entire point of the excercise.

This year, I don’t really have a focus or specific technique I’d like to learn about. Last year was all about parallel computing, but this year, I’m thinking a bit more practically. This past year in fact has been more about making practical attempts at creating helpful tools more than anything else. In other words, I’d like to finish something this year. This means small ideas or small parts of larger ideas. I’d also like to stick to something that would be relatively helpful to someone other than myself. Really, that last requirement is rather difficult, but it seems reasonable to try.

My first, and most likely what I’ll end up with, is my gettext replacement. I’ve got some real work done on it and coming up with a simple deadline for what needs to be done with it seems reasonable.

Another idea is a feed reader of sorts. My blog already works kind of like Planet in that it pulls in feeds and adds posts to my blog. I’ve been getting worried about my “googly” view of the world, so a slightly smarter planet-like interface sure seems helpful. Likewise, I wouldn’t mind being able to have a feed reader in emacs that actually works. Even though that wouldn’t really do much with Python, it is an itch of mine. I started writing a little code to make a twitter bot. This is like an IRC bot that you can ask questions and it will interact with different services. Specifically, I’d like to be able to send tweets that end up in delicious, so that would mean working out tags, a URL that is not minified and any other bits that need to happen. This is definitely a tool that seems like it could be helpful to others, which is a definite plus. Another tool is one that submits blog posts to the different social news sites automatically. I’m not sure if that is even possible, but it sure would be helpful.

I’m actually pretty short on ideas this year, so any suggestions people have are welcome.