Greetings, fellow tech enthusiasts! Recently, I had the opportunity to embark on an incredible journey to Edinburgh, Scotland, for the highly anticipated DjangoCon Europe 2023. As both an attendee and one of the organisers of the conference.
My adventure began on the 27th of May as I travelled from Namibia to Edinburgh. With a layover in Frankfurt, I had time to reflect on the exciting days that awaited me. The anticipation of meeting like-minded individuals and absorbing the latest trends in Django development filled me with enthusiasm. Little did I know that my journey would be accompanied by unexpected wooden companions that held great sentimental value.
Day 1: The first day of DjangoCon Europe 2023 was an exhilarating start to an event filled with excitement and knowledge. The conference kicked off with a remarkable lineup of speakers who delivered talks covering a broad spectrum of topics. From cutting-edge advancements in Django to the best practices in web development, each presentation was a catalyst for thought and inspiration.
While every talk was engaging, I found myself particularly drawn to Psalms Kalu’s session on community building. He shared captivating insights into how the Django community thrives in Nigeria, emphasising the power of collaboration on various projects. Additionally, Mykalin Jones‘s talk on teaching children Python offered fresh perspectives on introducing programming to young minds, making me reflect on the importance of nurturing the next generation of developers.
Day 2: The second day of DjangoCon Europe 2023 continued the momentum with an eclectic mix of talks and workshops. One session that stood out was Paolo Melchiorre‘s presentation, “All about djangoproject.com.” Paolo delved into the intricacies of the Django Software Foundation’s website, providing insights into how developers and users seek updates, access documentation, and gather information. As someone eager to contribute to the Django community, this talk provided valuable insights into how the project’s website operates and how I can actively participate in enhancing its resources.
In addition to Paolo’s talk, Laurent Tramoy‘s talk on “Mastering the Django ORM with PostgreSQL” captivated the audience. The session explored the powerful capabilities of Django’s Object-Relational Mapping (ORM) when combined with PostgreSQL. The talk offered a deep dive into optimising database interactions and leveraging advanced features, empowering attendees to create more efficient and scalable Django applications.
Day 3: On the third day of the conference, I had the privilege of attending a captivating talk by David Smith titled “Good form: How Django’s form rendering improved during the 4.x series.” As a Django developer who frequently utilises crispy forms in my projects, this session resonated deeply with me.
Furthermore, Cheuk Ting Ho‘s talk on “HTMX vs WASM – more backend or more frontend?” added an intriguing perspective to the conference. Exploring the idea behind HTMX and its potential applications, the session delved into accessing AJAX, CSS Transitions, WebSockets, and Server-Sent Events directly in HTM. The discussion around balancing backend and frontend technologies was thought-provoking, sparking conversations about optimizing performance and user interactions in Django applications.
For more schedule: https://2023.djangocon.eu/schedule/
One of the highlights of DjangoCon Europe 2023 was the two-day sprint held at the Factory Store. It provided a unique opportunity for attendees to come together and actively contribute to various Django projects. Witnessing the collective effort and dedication of the Django community was truly inspiring. During the sprint, participants worked in groups, pooling their expertise and tackling specific tasks. The atmosphere was filled with excitement, collaboration, and a shared commitment to advancing the Django ecosystem. As I engaged in the sprint activities, I stumbled upon an old sewing machine that looked like the one my old late grandmother owned.
Wooden Giraffes to Dr. Becky Smith
Throughout my journey, three exquisitely crafted wooden giraffes became my cherished companions. These sculptures held a deep personal significance, reminding me of my late grandfather’s artistic talents and my love for craftsmanship. Growing up, I was surrounded by the artistic talents of my late grandfather, who had a remarkable ability to transform pieces of wood into lifelike animals, people, and various objects. This legacy of craftsmanship has shaped my appreciation for artistry and instilled a special connection to wooden creations.
Recognizing Dr. Becky Smith for being in front of organising the conference, I decided to give her the wooden giraffes. It was a heartfelt gesture, a way to share a piece of my family’s, friends’ artistic legacy with someone who could truly appreciate it. Seeing the joy and curiosity in Becky’s eyes as she examined the intricate wooden sculptures brought me immense satisfaction, knowing that these pieces would find a loving home where their beauty would be cherished.
The presence of these wooden giraffes throughout my journey to DjangoCon Europe 2023 served as a tangible reminder of the importance of embracing our heritage and passions. They represented the interplay between tradition and innovation, as Django itself is built upon a strong foundation of web development principles while continuously evolving to meet modern demands. It was a testament to the enduring nature of craftsmanship and the power of creativity to bridge gaps and foster connections between individuals from diverse backgrounds.
A Cherished Friendship and Sharing Stories and Experiences
I had a great time with Maria Ntinda. As we walked through the streets, Ntinda and I exchanged stories, reminiscing about our shared experiences in the tech industry and the growth we had witnessed since our last meeting. We discussed the impact Python/Django had on our professional journeys and shared insights gained from attending the conference. Our conversations were filled with laughter, inspiration, and a sense of camaraderie that only old friends can understand. Walking alongside Ntinda in the picturesque streets of Edinburgh reinforced the power of genuine connections. Despite the geographical distance that had separated us, our shared interests and the bond forged years ago remained intact. Rekindling our friendship in such a remarkable setting enriched our experience and added an extra layer of meaning to our time at DjangoCon Europe 2023.
Meaningful Connections, Inspiring Encounters, and Meeting People from Diverse Backgrounds:
I had the pleasure of meeting some incredible individuals who have made significant contributions to the Django community. These encounters not only enriched my experience but also provided valuable insights and suggestions for the future development of Django.
One of the highlights was meeting my friend Adam Johnson, the last time we met was at PyCon Namibia 2019, and I also met Sage Abdullah. Spending time with them was an absolute pleasure. , and we had engaging conversations about Django, wagtail evolution and the importance of accessible learning resources. Adam’s expertise and passion for sharing knowledge left a lasting impression, inspiring me to continue my own contributions to the Django community.
Another notable encounter was with William Vincent, the author of the widely acclaimed Django For Beginners and Professional Django books. His books have been instrumental in empowering individuals in my community to learn Django effectively. During our conversation, William I suggested the idea of incorporating coverage of Function-Based Views (FBVs) in future editions of his books. This would provide beginners with a comprehensive understanding of Django’s different view options, catering to various project requirements. Please, William, hear us!!!!
Additionally, I had the pleasure of reconnecting with Daniele Procida, an individual with whom I had previously explored the breathtaking Namib Desert. Our shared memories of that adventure and our mutual dedication to technology made our reunion at DjangoCon Europe 2023 all the more special. Daniele’s commitment to the Django community and his contributions to the growth of the African Python Community continue to inspire me and countless others.
These encounters highlighted the wealth of knowledge, passion, and commitment within the Django community. The willingness to connect, share ideas, and collaborate is what makes this community truly exceptional. By continuing to foster an inclusive and supportive environment, we can bridge the tech gap that exists for women, underprivileged individuals, and young talent. Through open dialogue and knowledge sharing, we can empower these groups to actively contribute to the tech ecosystem in their respective corners of the world.
The Organizing Team
Being part of the organising team at DjangoCon Europe 2023 was a unique privilege. Collaborating with a group of passionate individuals who shared the same vision was incredibly rewarding. Witnessing the meticulous planning and dedication that went into making this event a success was truly inspiring. The organisers’ hard work ensured a seamless experience for all attendees. I would like to give credit to all volunteers that came forward to help the conference run smoothly.
Before concluding this blog, I would be remiss not to express my heartfelt gratitude to Lalokalabs for granting me the flexibility to attend DjangoCon Europe 2023 in Edinburgh. Their support and understanding played a crucial role in making this incredible experience possible. Laloka Labs’ commitment to fostering professional growth and encouraging participation in community events is commendable. Thank you for recognizing the value of attending such conferences and for providing me with this opportunity.
In conclusion, DjangoCon Europe 2023 in Edinburgh was a truly remarkable event that brought together Django enthusiasts, industry professionals, and aspiring developers from around the world. The combination of great speakers, the charming city of Edinburgh, and the opportunity to connect with like-minded individuals made it an unforgettable experience. As I reflect on my time at the conference, I feel inspired, motivated, and equipped with new knowledge to enhance my Django skills. I eagerly look forward to future events and the chance to continue growing within the Django community.