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Feb 17, 2003, 09:00 (0 Talkback[s])

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No, it's not a snake or the name of a British comedy group. Python is one of the most useful, compelling and intelligently designed programming platforms to have emerged into the computer industry mainstream in recent years. It is rapidly gaining wide acceptance and being deployed in major IT shops around the world.

Software developers now have an opportunity to learn more about this exciting platform from the people who created it in the first place. The Python Software Foundation's first annual Python conference for developers, PyCon 2003, is a community-oriented event that targets programmers working with the language -- and on the language itself. It provides opportunities to learn about significant advances in Python development, to participate in a programming sprint with some of the leading minds in the Python community, and to meet fellow developers from around the world.

Python was originally created in the early '90s by Guido van Rossum as a language that could be used to teach the most advanced concepts of programming to non-programmers. Over the past decade, Python has grown world-wide into a programming language that is used in mission-critical applications by major players such as Google, Philips, Nasa, AstraZeneca, Industrial Light and Magic, and Rackspace. Python is also used extensively in universities and by many research groups.

Python stresses readability, simplicity and elegance. Says van Rossum: "As an object-oriented language, Python aims to encourage the creation of reusable code. Even if we all wrote perfect documentation all of the time, code can hardly be considered reusable if it's not readable." Python is also extremely portable. There are currently identical versions available for nearly every computing platform, major and obscure, from PDAs to mainframes. Python is also an open-source platform, which encourages sharing of ideas and code. These characteristics make Python an excellent choice for enterprise application integration, large-scale web development, Web services, XML processing, application scripting, and even GUI development.

"We're constantly amazed at the depth and breadth of our customer base," says Stephan Deibel, co-Founder of Archaeopteryx Software, Inc, a leading vendor of Python development tools. "Python is being used in just about every imaginable domain, quite literally from soup factories to shipyards. Python is a solution that every programmer should at least be aware of."

The first PyCon will be held 26-28 March, 2003, at George Washington University's Cafritz Conference Center in Washington DC. For those who want to get a hands-on opportunity to work on the language itself with the core Python development group, there is also a coding sprint before the conference, on Monday and Tuesday, March 24-25.

Early-bird registration for the conference (until February 28, 2003) has been set at US $150. Subsequent pre-conference registration will cost US $200; and the fee to register at the conference itself will be US $250.

For more information or to register, please visit the PyCon 2003 website:

Interested would-be contributors can still contact the conference organizers at to suggest a presentation or other activities of interest to Python users and developers:

In addition to the Python Software Foundation, other sponsors of the event are software companies involved in the Python community, including Active State, Zeomega, Archaeopteryx Software, and Zoteca:


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