PyCon 2011 Predictions

PyCon 2011 is right around the corner. Are you going? You should. The talks are sick. You can still register — it’s too late to be an early bird, but registration is still open!

Well, I am, and I’m here to get the rumor mill started by sharing some predictions for this year’s PyCon.


While last year there was some hubbub around packaging, most notably the poster images declaring that pip and distribute were ‘the new black’, this year that’s old news. The pip and distribute mantra will bear repeating for those who are still behind the times of course, but this year I think there will be more hand-wringing over packaging, probably focusing more on the data and distribution mechanism than the tools. I, for one, am looking forward to any light Tarek Ziade and other’s on the distutils2 team can shed on new metadata elements, new build procedures (I hear is going away someday), and what’s going on with distutils, distribute, pip, distutils2, PyPI, etc.

My prediction? Packaging, while not very exciting, will garner a lot of attention again this year.

Python 3

Dave Beazley and I will be doing a tutorial on Python 3, but besides that, I think there’s going to be a lot of hallway (and lounge) discussion about all things Python 3. This would mirror the clamor around the topic recently online, which I don’t really expect to slow down. Python 3 is, of course, discussed every year, but I think this year’s PyCon will be Python 3’s Woodstock: the time and place where minds merge onto an idea together and harmonize and all that stuff.

My prediction? We’ll see a good number of commitments from projects to port to Python 3, GSOC projects related to Python 3, and more funny looks at projects not getting their porting underway in 2011 as a direct result of PyCon 2011.


Multiprocessing and threading will be hot topics again for two reasons: First, lots of people just look at the GIL and reflexively get heartburn without doing any actual analysis to see if they even need to care about it in the context of a particular application. Second, the uptake for Python in ‘web scale’ environments continues to grow, so that’s bound to be reflected in the attendee demographics if you will, and therefore the perceived interest in the topic.

PyPy is going to loom large at this year’s conference. Some may decide after PyCon 2011 that PyPy is the future for them. Unladen Swallow will be declared dead, in spite of some eager undergrads making empty promises about picking it up. Most who care will opt for the project that appears to be gaining steam, not losing it.

Generator-based coroutines will continue to be a really cool but relatively unused oddity, and Eventlet and the like will continue to have their adherents and go with the flow.

Event-based/async frameworks will garner some attention. Tornado, gUnicorn, and others will do well. Twisted followers will say that all others are either redundant or fatally flawed.

My prediction? Tornado and ZeroMQ will make a big splash, this being the first year it’s being covered (I think). People will still advocate multiprocessing over threading after the conference, and Twisted will start to see declines in usership after PyCon 2011.


  • Python core development contributions will increase thanks to efforts by the PSF and core development communities, though not without some growing pains.
  • Michael Foord’s ‘mock‘ library will take off as a de facto standard module in the toolbelts of Python developers everywhere.
  • Fabric’s parallel branch will be merged as the default either before or as a result of activity at PyCon 2011.
  • Flask will announce a merger with another web framework in 2011, in part due to conversations and activity at PyCon.
  • PyCharm will become recognized as the preeminent Python IDE as a result of everyone getting to PyCon only to find that everyone else they were going to advocate it to is already using it.
  • Some outside the scientific community will attend a Python-Science talk anyway and come away with valuable techniques they can apply to distributed computing problems. Some outside the web scalability domain will attend related talks anyway and take something back to the enterprise computing space. Some outside the cloud space will attend a cloud talk and find a cool project to put in the cloud. As a result:
  • At least 30 new Python projects will be created as a direct result of PyCon 2011.