[Twisted-Python] Re: Teach Me Twisted Redux

Steve Holden steve at holdenweb.com
Thu Mar 20 07:33:40 EDT 2008

glyph at divmod.com wrote:
> This session was really fabulous, and it's unfortunate that Steve will 
> be a Twisted expert in short order, making it a once-in-a-lifetime 
> opportunity.
> It was probably the high point of PyCon for me this year as well. Thanks 
> a lot for doing it.  I really felt like having a presenter who wasn't 
> afraid to admit that they didn't know what they were doing either really 
> reduced the impression that Twisted is this impossibly hard thing to 
> learn quite a bit.  And we really covered a fair amount of material.
As I believe I mentioned early on, one of the issues is that the Twisted 
core developers are so smart (I believe I may have used the phrase 
"brains the size of planets"), and so knowledgeable about Twisted, that 
it's difficult sometimes to get a 90% answer out of them. This was 
particularly the case with Itamar, whom I lambasted quite mercilessly 
(and whom I therefore owe a public apology: sorry, Itamar) when he tried 
to complete all the corner cases after a slightly inaccurate statement 
on my part that was perfectly good enough for a learner.

Think about driving a car: "never use the brake and the accelerator 
together" is a good rule for learners, and it isn't helpful to then have 
someone say "except if you want to put the car in a 180% power slide" -- 
not because it isn't true, but because you definitely need more than a 
couple of days' experience before undertaking that maneuver (God, 
American really mangles that word), and most drivers will never need it 
in a lifetime.

I left the session feeling we had accomplished hardly anything, but was 
persuaded afterwards that wasn't the case.

One of the tragedies of the session was due to the blue screen crash of 
my own computer I have absolutely nothing left of the code we developed. 
I had hopes that one or two blog entries might appear to allow me to 
lift it from those attending, but so far the success of the session is a 
closely guarded secret among PyCon attendees (thought it's been 
gratifying to have people saying "I wished I'd gone to that").

If someone can provide me with the code I will undertake to produce some 
sort of blog entry, and this might further publicize Twisted. Never 
underestimate the value of marketing: the Twisted community is a subset 
of the Python community, and it's my particular vanity that PyCon has 
helped to increase the Python community. It's important to keep feeding 
introductory material into the process as growth continues, because 
typically 50% of those present are likely to be newbies.

In point of fact this type of session *might* work with pretended 
ignorance, but it wouldn't have the same honesty, and I think that 
honesty *could* make the learning experience more powerful. Anyway the 
PyCon organizers list seems to have got fired up about it, so there's a 
good chance that there'll be more "Teach Me ..." sessions next year.

> Next year, we should definitely have more regular Twisted talks; I'd say 
> that someone else should do another "teach me twisted" session, but I 
> don't know if anyone else has the raw charisma and pedagogical expertise 
> that Mr. Holden combined with Twisted ignorance to make this session so 
> great :).
Don't forget the whisky ...

I hope this actually marks my entrance proper into the Twisted 
community, to whom I owe a great debt for the success of PyCon. Your 
initial energy and enthusiasm (as I remember it, PyCon represented the 
first major opportunity for the Twisted team to have a more or less 
all-hands meeting) was responsible in large part for shaping the PyCon 
experience, to the extent that the spirit lived on even after the 
Twisted contingent departed due to ... well, I guess you guys just got 
busy with DivMod and the like. I missed you. It goes to show, we often 
don't appreciate the positive influence we have on events. But you are 
more than welcome, consider it payback and pass it on.

What we possibly need first of all is for someone to do a "Teach Me 
Teach Me" in the tutorial track, with myself and a number of the more 
experienced trainer types as the "subject matter experts". These things 
are always one-off in nature and it's unrealistic to expect that they 
will all have the same charm as "Teach Me Twisted" did this year for all 
the reasons I mention above, but if it gets information out more 
effectively about "difficult" topics it's probably worth a try if we can 
find someone to facilitate them.


> On 16 Mar, 07:33 pm, steve at holdenweb.com wrote:
>> I'd just like to thank the Twisted community for their support in 
>> yesterday's "Teach Me Twisted" Open Space session. To see the room 
>> still half-full of people talking animatedly about Python twenty 
>> minutes after the session ended was a great tribute to how interested 
>> people are in making Twisted work for them, and a reminder of what 
>> PyCon is all about. I haven't ever enjoyed any PyCon activity so much.
>> Couldn't have done it without you,guys, thanks a million.
>> regards
>>  Steve

More information about the Twisted-Python mailing list