PyCon Canada 2019 Retrospective

This Tuesday marked the last day of the coding sprints, and with that PyCon Canada 2019 ended. Now that I have wrapped up my own commitments for the conference, I feel that I should post a brief retrospective on how the conference went.

Overall the conference this year turned out very well! The organizers received a lot of praise for our hard work. And I am humbled that I can be counted as one of the core organizers. I am seriously considering helping out again next year with the sprints.


Any larger conference takes time and energy to prepare for. PyCon Canada 2019 proved no different. Thankfully experience from last year proved valuable in getting everything to come together. As the event drew closer, we were able to stay on track with the work, through meetings, emails and messages.

If you never worked on a conference organization team, you do not realize how much work goes into a conference:

  • Picking out a venue.
  • Choosing an appropriate mix of talks.
  • Organizing schedules and volunteers.
  • Ensuring equipment runs smoothly.
  • Designing promotional material, merchandise, websites, etc.
  • Figuring out the catering to feed 500+ attendees.
  • Promoting everything.

Thankfully we had a great team, and were able to make everything come together. Thank you Elaine Wong, and Chris Fournier for chairing this conference, and getting us all through it! Thanks to the team I focused on the sprints, and getting my employer to sponsor the conference, while others could focus on other aspects of the conference.


The Carlu proved an excellent venue for the conference. Not only a stylish, comfortable, compact (but not crowded) space but also staffed by a very professional crew. We only ran into a few minor technical difficulties, but otherwise the operation went smoothly. The catering and food was amazing, even impressing our French Canadian attendees (who are accustomed to good cuisine)! Hopefully we will be able to use the space again in the future.


Corporate sponsors help keep PyCon Canada reasonably priced, and in turn as an organizer, I hope the sponsors find it benefitial. A conference lets sponsors get the word out.

During the conference I ended up chatting with quite a few of the sponsors. The visual effects and animation studio DNEG was an unexpected sponsors. I ended up chatting with their reps a lot about their asset setup (in-house Python), and their work. (I am a huge nerd when it comes to computer graphics and animation.)

Also it was nice to see the other sponsors:

It was great talking to all of you, and I learned a new thing.

I also appreciate all the effort that went into getting all the sponsors onboard. Getting my own employer to sponsor proved a bit more involved than I expected. Even though everyone at Points wanted to go, details of who could go, what benefits to expect from the sponsorship, which budget would be involved, etc., took a bit to figure out. I am hoping that planning for next year’s conference starts early, and because of that the sponsorship experience goes more smoothly.


I enjoyed our selection of talks this year! And I heard similar sentiments from other attendees. Unforunately as a speaker and organizer, I did not get to see many talks, these are the ones really stood out for me:

I also presented my talk Rust Accelerated Python at PyCon Canada this year. It went very well, thank you to both Elaine and the session chair for making the session go well. I found the setup for the slides vs. speaker notes a bit fiddly, but not terribly. Otherwise my edits to make the talk more concise went well, and I had time for a QA! Overall I got a lot of interest in both Rust and creating bindings in Python. Ended up fielding quite a few questions about the state of the Rust ecosystem, how useful would it be to learn Rust for data science, etc. I am super happy that was able to both educate and entertain, and enjoy doing so!

You can view the talk slides here and the associated BitBucket repo here.


Finally the coding sprints went very well. Apart from some minor organizational snafus that almost noone noticed, and that I plan on improving for next year, the sprints went very well. We got a good mix of both experienced and novice developers come out. People sprint on around 8-10 projects including: pyodide, graphene, pylint, commitzen, flask and statsmodels. Overall people enjoyed the sprints, and many of the first time sprinters expressed wanting to sprint again!

I personally I got to work on the pyodide project, once everyone was settled in:

Thanks to Mozilla Toronto for providing the space and hosting us! And thanks again to Elaine with making sure we had coffee, sweets and pizza to fuel the sprinters!

Speaking At PyCon Canada 2019 – Rust Accelerated Pythons

I am happy to announce that I will be giving a talk on Rust and Python at PyCon Canada 2019: Rust Accelerated Pythons!

I will be talking about how to write Python bindings for Rust. With Rust you can create and call fast native code without worrying about having to use C/C++. And creating Python bindings is pretty easy in Rust. This talk will give an introduction to the Rust language, the challenges of writing cross-language bindings, and an example of working with the excellent PyO3 library. Hope to see you there if you are in the Toronto area for PyCon Canada!

If you can’t make it out to PyCon Canada this year, I also plan on giving this talk at an upcoming Rust Toronto meetup. More details will on that in a future post.

Surfacing after PyCon Canada 2018

Uff! What a weekend! For the past few weeks, I did not write any updates because I helped organize PyCon Canada 2018! And present a talk… because apparently life is not exciting enough to do one or the other… Actually these next 2 days I am coordinating the coding sprint portion of the conference which I very much look forward to!

It was totally worth it. Even though I could of used more sleep, the conference went off without any real problems. I met a number of very interesting people, and while I didn’t get to see many of the talks, I thoroughly enjoyed helping out. Big thanks to all the organizers, sponsors and volunteers for making PyCon Canada 2018 a hit!

And I’ll be back to a (semi-)regular schedule of blogging in the next few days.

See you at PyCon Canada 2016!

I’m looking forward to PyCon Canada 2016 that will be happening November 12-13 in Toronto. I submitted two talk proposals and I’m hoping that one of them gets accepted. But regardless I am looking forward to the conference. If you are at the conference, and you want to meet up just message me via Twitter @dorianpula. Also I plan coming out to the sprints that I’m hoping will be happening afterwards. See you there!

Blog Break

Hey there Reader!

Over the past couple of weeks I have tried to post a new article or blog every week. And normally I would do the same today. Heck I do have a few posts in draft that I started working and I plan to publish a bit later.

However for the next couple of weeks I will be taking a break from blogging to concentrate on preparing for my PyCon Canada talk, getting some more traction on Rookeries and a new project that I plan on unveiling soon.

I’ll return to my regular blogging schedule sometime in mid or end of November once the dust settles.

Giving a Talk at PyCon Canada 2015

I am super excited to announce that I will be doing a talk at PyCon Canada this year! I will be talking about migrating from using Fabric to deploy my WSGI app (Rookeries) to using a combination of Invoke and Ansible. PyCon Canada will be happening in Toronto at the University of Toronto campus Saturday November 7 to Sunday November 8, 2015. My talk will on the Sunday at 3:45-4:15 PM. Videos of the talks should be available about a day or two after the talk. I look forward to seeing everyone there!

More info on my talk.

Also I plan on being at the Sprints the following Monday as well.