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An Invitation to Get Involved in Python Advocacy

P: n/a
I'd like to extend an invitation to those who would like to get involved in
advocating the use of Python. In August, the PSF hired me, for a 6-mo
contract, to coordinate the Python advocacy effort. Since then I've been
working to make the next PyCon one of the best conferences yet, and putting in
place the infrastructure of a newcomer portal (http://advocacy.python.org)
focused on drawing in those people who don't know much about Python but have
developed an interest for various reasons. The portal also has an entry point
(http://advocacy.python.org/getinvolved) to organize the materials and
activities of those already in the Python community who want to get involved.
I've also established a new mailing list <ad******@python.orgon which to
discuss advocacy, replacing the <ma**************@wingide.comlist, and a
blog.(http://python-advocacy.blogspot.com) for keeping the Python community
up-to-date about advocacy goings on. The blog is aggregated into the official
Planet Python (but I can't seem to reach the coordinator of the *unofficial*
Planet Python).

A bit about the newcomer portal to place it in context; the portal is designed
to help someone who has just become aware of Python decide if the language is
right for them. It seeks to quickly direct visitors to the information they
want, and bring to their attention how diverse and vibrant the support for
Python is. The audience is not only programmers but also journalists, project
managers, scientists/engineers, recruiters and educators. Different audiences
come at Python with different needs and often need different explanations.
And some are indeed programmers, but using other languages, who wonder how
Python compares to what they are using now.

For the newcomer portal we have a need for content writers to focus on
specific problem domains, for the various subcommunities to provide technology
roadmaps and representative samples of source code that would entice someone
to check them out. As one example, the SciPy/NumPy group could write about
what makes their software attractive to the scientific community and provide
one-page sources that illustrates certain common operations, to show off the
clarify and expressiveness of Python. I've found plenty of material on the
SciPy website that I'm weaving into the newcomer portal.

The portal is not designed to replace what we have at www.python.org but to
complement it, and to serve as an organizing point for the extensive content
already on www.python.org and elsewhere. The portal also specifically
supports dynamic content, relational database storage of information and easy
plug-in of new components to add new features. Such features will eventually
include, among other things, a searchable roster of user groups, a registry of
speakers and trainers and a catalog of books about Python, each with RSS feeds
where appropriate.

And for the curious, the portal is written using the Zope 3 component system,
building on the underlying Twisted subsystem for internal background
scheduling and hooked to a PostgreSQL database. The site makes use of Zope 3
viewlets to provide pluggable display elements, reStructured text documents
for a clean separation between content and infrastructure, and Nabu for
synchronization of document collections into the indexing engine and
persisting of the reST DOMs to enable content manipulation at presentation
time according to what is to be viewed (biblio data, abstracts, content). The
portal is located on the python.org servers and all software and content are
checked into svn.python.org.

In closing, I am greatly honored by the trust of the foundation members in me
and hope to serve the community well. As coordinator, I invite others to get
involved and will strive to provide an assistive environment within which
everyone can be productive. The primary discussion area is the new mailing
list which can be joined at:

http://mail.python.org/mailman/listinfo/advocacy

and a list of what is needed is at:

http://advocacy.python.org/getinvolved

I am also maintaining a list of accomplishments and near-term To-Do's for
myself at:

http://wiki.python.org/moin/PythonAdvocacyCoordinator

Jeff Rush
Python Advocacy Coordinator
Nov 13 '06 #1
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