I finally made it to a SEAPIG meeting last night. The SEAPIG crew and Google hosted a meeting off their normal schedule, roughly entitled “How python is being used at Google”. Man, talk about a turnout!
Talking with some of the regulars there last night, the usual crowd is anywhere between 5 and 8. Last night we easily hit 45 or 50. Google hosted us in their Fremont offices, and even provided food. Whoa – that’s going to set a whole new bar for attracting people to programming user’s groups. Food? They also sensibly had a post-meeting across the street at the Red Door – a fine drinking establishment (they have Guinness on tap).
So aside from finally catching up with folks who’s names I’ve been watching while lurking on the mailing list, I picked up a couple of tidbits. First is that “pydev” – an eclipse plugin for developing python – doesn’t suck. I’m getting my Eclipse environment updated this afternoon to give it a shot. I’ve used Stani’s python editor most commonly. Not unhappy with it, but I’m curious how PyDev has actually come along.
The second was an interesting late-night observation about how to get help on a open-source project’s mailing list. Seems like one of the critical aspects to getting help is to just get a dialogue going.Â And we came to a consensus (to be tried on some poor unsuspecting mailing list somewhere) that if you asked too complex a question, folks who might have opened a dialog to start helping a newbie would be scared off. Fear of looking dumb, just not knowing the answer, whatever. I know I’ve seen some complex questions and just passed over them, where I’ve gone out of my way to answer a few of the more “newbie” questions that were really simple. The trick of it is, dialog seems to encourage more dialog. You suddenly seem to get a higher chance of more people getting involved in the conversation. That leads to more ideas – and just getting more people involved is often enough to help solve the problem. It’ll be interesting to see how that pans out.