Django Chat

Python Web Conference - Calvin Hendryx-Parker

Episode Summary

Calvin is the CTO at Six Feet Up, a Python, Django and Cloud expert consultancy. We discuss Calvin’s career, the Python Web Conference (March 22-26), and LoudSwarm, a highly-engaging online event platform built by Six Feet Up in the heart of the pandemic.

Episode Notes

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Episode Transcription

Will Vincent 0:06
Hello, welcome to another episode of Django chat fortnightly podcast on the Django web framework. I'm Will Vincent joined by Carlton Gibson. Hi, Carlton. And this week we're very pleased to have Calvin Hendricks Parker from six feet up. Join us. Hi, Calvin.

Calvin Hendryx-Parker 0:18
Hello. I'm excited to be here.

Carlton Gibson 0:20
Hi, Calvin. Yeah, thank you for coming on the show.

Will Vincent 0:23
So you're involved six feet up, which is a major consultancy where a lot of hats but maybe we'll just start with how did you get into programming and find your way to the Django space?

Calvin Hendryx-Parker 0:33
Yeah, that's obviously goes way back. But a family friend had brought over our first computer, which was like an ancient, like, 8088, you know, PC that he was, he's upgrading. And he gave me Brad, same time, he brought over some, like basic programming books. And like is, I have no idea what to do with this, you know, I'm like, Oh, 1213. And just didn't have the interest in it yet. But you know, fast forward number of years go to college. And of getting a degree in graphics, like, like CAD and like drafting and things like that. But along the way, I took some CS classes, because I was like, Oh, these computers seem pretty useful. And then when boom was like, right, as I was graduating school, so I mean, a couple guys loaded up San Francisco, you know, started jobs there. And that's where I really started programming. Like, I started building little tools to scratch itches for, you know, this, and that. So little web apps to like index images, you know, because I was doing UI work at the time. But I still needed to have some like niceties for like, my workflow. So I really started coding out of necessity to build tools for that, that kind of a workflow got involved in open source, probably by greater on year 2000. That's where I found Python. So I guess I'm kind of one of the Python, old school folks, I started with, you know, Python, one, five, was my first Python. But I really started because of zope, the the Z word that, you know, some people have a lot of history with, I think things have changed. And there's not such a stigma associated with the zope word anymore. You know, I got very involved in the plum community. But a co worker showed me zope, he's like, check this out. There's like a Python web application server, it's open source, and you can download it. And I think I understood every other word he said, at that point in time, but I went and downloaded it anyway, and started trying it out and started building stuff. Like completely through the web, like the kind of the zope dream at the time was, you would do all your work through the web, you could rapid prototype and design your quick little applications. And so I did, and I got hooked. That was really a lot of fun. No capital downside later, but yeah,

Carlton Gibson 2:33
well could before we move on, can it because so because I you know, I never use up but in my requirements files on one of my projects, I write down the bottom there's this soap dot denefits file, which gets pulled in I don't know, it gets pulled in by like twisted or something. I don't know. But what was so cool about and like, because it was really big, right? It was really it. Oh,

Calvin Hendryx-Parker 2:51
my goodness, how much time we have like, Okay.

Carlton Gibson 2:56
The medium one, the medium story?

Calvin Hendryx-Parker 2:59
Yeah, well, I mean, for me, zoek was kind of the granddaddy of application servers, those back in the time, even probably pre like Tomcat, this was around the time like Perl was like the thing for building like CGI web application, it was guestbook just CGI scripts. I mean, like, you know, doing that kind of stuff. So zoek was interesting, because it was a long running process, you had an object oriented database, there was all kinds of like, just neat innovations around security and permissions and fine grained roles and access that you could really build through the web. Now, obviously, that's frowned upon, I think it's frowned upon now. I mean, we really want to be able to build code on the file system and, you know, make it lightweight and easy and, you know, have source control. But back, like in near 2000, like that some of that stuff just wasn't best practice, or even you right now is about building an application that was useful for your coworkers. So you could have a intranet or a PTO tracking system, or, you know, some interesting small little app and zope enabled a lot of people to kind of kick that off without having to have a serious programming background, which would mean like I felt right, exactly in that bucket. And what's interesting is that, you know, you talk about Zopa interface that didn't come along until many, many years later, when the zope three project kicked off. And it was basically a backward incompatible release of a new the newer version of framework, which included the zope component architecture. And so you'll see soap interface and a lot of other things that are not zope. Because it provided a way for people to use, like the interface patterns, you know, define interfaces or contracts that your code would adhere to. If you go look at the like slash open source page, you'll see zope listed on there, because they've used open interface for contracts and interfaces in their code. It was really a good way of like, they trailblaze a lot of best practices, but they didn't feel very pythonic at the time, which is I think, why the community didn't really like go that direction. I think the community really saw things like Django and flask and other web applications as being more you know, air quotes. pythonic Yeah, to how things are built.

Carlton Gibson 4:59
I mean, there's no agree with.

Calvin Hendryx-Parker 5:00
It's definitely it was it was a mind bender. But I feel like going down the zope path, as my part of my journey has obviously been made me the person I am. And I feel like I'm a way. And I got a deeper knowledge of the web because of it.

Carlton Gibson 5:13
Yeah, I mean, there's a pendulum, right because at the time, it was all like income contrast to say Java, where you're defining, you know, these interfaces, you've got these massive alien structures, and that's horrid. Like, I don't want that. And then so you get you come into Python world, and it's like, it's just like, dynamic dangerously, you know, it doesn't matter, I duck duck typing all the time. And it'll just work and there'll be 10 lines, and I'll import that library that does all the magic things that are difficult and wonderful. And now in Python, we've got the move towards type instance, and you know, static typing with the, the other modern languages that use that more. And it's kind of like coming back to interfaces. And because you define, you know, you, you don't want to pass strings or, or any into right, as you're typing. So you define a protocol of exactly the method you're going to use. And you use that for as your type annotation. And that's defining a protocol, right? It's like the same thing that we were doing all those years ago in Java and hate it.

Calvin Hendryx-Parker 6:11
But I feel like Python to Python take the path like we're we're going to, we're going to look at it very, very carefully before we make any decisions. And I feel like we've still taken this path of make it easy for developers to wrap their heads around, reduce the amount of typing an actual code that you have to write to be productive. So then stay out of the developers way, which I think I feel like still lies right in line with, like, pythons mission of being this language, just get stuff done.

Carlton Gibson 6:39
Yeah, I mean, it's nice when you write new code, and you can just throw in an annotation, and all of a sudden, your editor goes, Oh, I know what this is.

Calvin Hendryx-Parker 6:47
I have discovered that recently, I'd been on long hold out as well on like IDs, like, I'd been just a vim user for just a while, probably up to the last couple years. And then I switched over to pi charm. Mostly because of my friend Paul ever use, like, you know, come on, let's do some webinars together. And I want you to check this out. And so I did, and I got hooked, because it finally was fast enough to kind of keep up with my brain. And then I think that the, the autocomplete the code sense stuff that's kind of working behind the scenes inside of those IDs has gotten really good and really fast. Like, it seems like it's predicting what you want to type before you type it.

Will Vincent 7:20
Yeah, we're actually next guests. We're gonna have Paul and Alexi, who's the lead developer of the Django bit of that to come on and fill that out? Because, yeah, it's a pretty powerful editor. Well,

Calvin Hendryx-Parker 7:32
and I'll tell you, Paul, was one of the first people I met in the open source community. When I went to my very first phone conference, the very first long conference in 2003. In New Orleans. There was 100 people in a small classroom, yet, some University down there, and it was my first introduction to the community of open source and man with I just like, I was hooked. I was onboard full and 100%. How do I get involved? And then like, do more and get engaged in these communities? I that was my first, you know, how am I and I wasn't even using point of time, we were just using zope. I was like, well, there's no zoek conference. There's this plone group getting together like that's built on zope. Let's go. And so my brother and I actually went down to the plum camp in 2003. And then since then, I've been to every Python and since 2004. Oh, wow.

Will Vincent 8:20
Well, slight interruption, but Carlton, I noticed before we started, just an open source. So you and I guess Marcus, so Django has changed switched over from Master domain. Is there anything you just want to add about what it took to make that change? And obviously, we know probably why

Carlton Gibson 8:34
we're waiting for it to all fall over the sea. I'd fall over when we go to bed tonight. We moved. We moved Django over last week and code dot Django project calm which is the track we move that over last week and nothing broke. And it went remarkably smoothly. So you know, I just stopped I bumped the channels, repost channels Daphne and Charles rate is over. And, you know, maybe one PR didn't automatically get migrated. But GitHub has done a really good job, I have to give them credit. They're maintaining the reference from Master to main, so that the old references they just redirect sign. Yeah,

Will Vincent 9:12
I switched over other projects. And it's been it's been very smooth.

Carlton Gibson 9:15
And the only thing they haven't managed to do is get your fork, you have to go and change the default branch when your fork but it could pop. When you go to your fork, it pops up a big, you know, overlay it says, Hey, by the way, it's been updated. You want to do that here and you just go yes, it takes a nanosecond. So we did Django, Django, which is the main repo and who knows, I mean, I'm sure something's gonna break, but we haven't quite found it yet.

Calvin Hendryx-Parker 9:38
So fingers crossed.

Carlton Gibson 9:40
Yeah, fingers crossed. It'll be you know, we literally like five minutes after marriage knocked off tonight. And it will be like,

Will Vincent 9:47
well, the whole naming is one of those things where when I got into programming, I was like, What do you call this? Like, what do you call the databases Really? Like, you know, that was 10 years ago. So

Carlton Gibson 9:56
how are you? You're progressive Well,

Will Vincent 9:59
I'm very progressive. I'm a Vermont progressive. So anyways, I, Calvin, I do want to ask you because I was out in San Francisco, gosh, 10 years ago, after that boom and bust and you know, given where we are now in the state of the world, so you were there through the boom and the bust. I'm curious, what was that, like, you know, you stayed and eventually left. But you know, right now it's all these, Cisco is dead things. And it seems like it's just gonna probably rise up again, in a different fashion.

Calvin Hendryx-Parker 10:26
Like, the closest thing I could, like, align this with was in high school, they made us read The Great Gatsby, maybe a good book, actually, one of the few I loved that was like, kind of forced upon me as part of like, English class or whatever. And it felt like to me at the time reading that as a high schooler, nothing could ever be like the roaring 20s again, like, this is crazy, like, the stories of all the kinda like, you know, opulence and crazy stuff they were doing. I got to San Francisco, I moved out there 1998. And then rode, rode that through to 2003. And man, did I see craziness, like crazy launch parties, we had, you know, one of the offices I was in, and we had adult sized tricycles and pool tables and foosball tables and nap rooms and all this like crazy, crazy stuff. And, um, you know, from coming from the Midwest, moving out of San Francisco, and like the salaries that they were offering to people who had zero experience, like, again, kind of a mind blowing experience like that there was truly this bubble. And I really felt like at the time, like it was creat, just fun stuff all over. And no, but you know that it all kind of came down to the other one. Actually, no time like that, to launch your own company during bust. And then we had our second, like, for six feet up, we actually had our second kind of growth spurt during the 2008 mortgage crisis. So we've we kind of launched during a downturn and then grew during a downturn and see,

Carlton Gibson 11:49
so you must have a good USP, what's your, like? What's your pitch? That's worth knowing.

Calvin Hendryx-Parker 11:57
I think we, I mean, we tried to be we tried to do awesome work, we love doing the Python work being in community. And I feel like you know, just diving in and going all in on being a Python and cloud company, has been really exciting. Now, just full disclosure, my wife founded the company, back in 99. She was, she'd gotten like, laid off from one company or a company close their doors, and she doesn't sit still well. And so she took a hobby of mine, which was I had a server literally sitting in living room hosting some friends and family. And she went and back, build them and turn it into a company. And that's that was the start of six feet up was literally a server sitting in the living room that had been finally moved into, like a data center someplace. But she turned that into a real company. And then in 2003, I went full time, and I left world and we came back to Indiana and started growing six feet up and hired our first first employees and, you know, really made it a real deal with so it's, it's been a fun journey. And I'm really happy to do that, you know, with my my life partner, and, you know, partner in crime and all things.

Will Vincent 12:59
But now, were you in person with your employees from the beginning? Are you remote even?

Calvin Hendryx-Parker 13:05
No, no, we only went fully remote as almost exactly a year ago, March 13 2020, we closed the doors of the actual physical office, we now have employees from South Africa to California. So lots of time zones in there. But it's been we're now remote. First. We've always had a few remote employees, and then kind of been growing over the years. But then we just went all in on it when the pandemic hit. Although we had such cool office, I really wish you all could have come in and hung out at the the 60 bar where we had like, a couple beers on tap and lots of whiskey and try schools and well, building my own version of that. Yeah.

Will Vincent 13:41
So what was that? Like? What was that transition? Like? I mean, because I had somewhat, I mean, I was East Coast, old school, and then I was San Francisco and now back. You know, it's an adjustment moving back, like what was it like trying to hire people? You know, great, cuz you still have that West Coast mentality of like, Let's burn it all down. Right. But you know, mid Indianapolis is more of a normal place. Like I imagine hiring people. You know, you're looking for different things than you would have hiring the same person in San Francisco.

Calvin Hendryx-Parker 14:09
Yeah. I think the mentality never left me like your Midwest sensibilities. We at some point, we wanted to buy a house out in San Francisco, I just couldn't bring myself to do it. knowing what I know about the Midwest and the prices of real estate here. When we came back, we were making so little money. It was almost laughable, like probably below poverty line but it was worth doing. Because you know, it was it was our thing. And so growing and kind of learning how to like get new contracts and sell and all these kind of new skills that weren't part of my day to day is just like a systems engineer working for a startup. I'm now working on how to grow our own business but it was ours like it really does make a big difference when it comes to like quality of life and living in Nick your stress levels and doing the things you want to do and we actually we know at that point in time wanted to grow a family as well. and own a house and all these kinds of luxuries you can do in the Midwest for a reasonable amount of dollars. So but then hiring has been tricky. I mean, the Midwest has been solid, the Microsoft centric area, lots of dotnet developers here. But that's changed. I mean, when we came back in oh three, I was looking for that tech community. So by oh seven, we launched our cup co found the Indianapolis Python user group in Dubai. And that's one now one of the largest single language meetups here in the Midwest, we've got over 2000, members of our meetup, you know, we still meet monthly and I mean, even with a pandemic, we've managed to still maintain, you know, pretty good attendance and getting awesome speakers. And so growing, I felt like I had to grow the community that I wanted to exist. So why not go Yeah, for sure. Just go out and do it. And we've, you know, we've hired lots of people through the indie bike community, because those people basically it's like, stepping forward, like I am interested, I want to be part of the community, I do want to participate. And those are the best folks to hire people who are involved in open source people who are involved in the communities, people who show up,

Will Vincent 15:59
that resonates with me, because I remember when I move, moved to do my own thing from the west coast and very low wages for a while. Yeah, and I remember having that that culture clash, but also got very involved in the so in Boston, there's a large Python community, but not so much of a Django community. So getting very involved in seeing people. And I remember thinking, and maybe that's still the case, if I ever do a company, I feel like Boston is a great place to hire people, because there's really smart people, they stick around, they don't leave every 12 months. But I'd want West Coast investors because VCs are our, you know, they're like, the MBAs versus the West Coast. They're like, yeah, you know, I made a billion dollars, you can do it to me, right? Like Frankenstein, you know, your location,

Calvin Hendryx-Parker 16:45
let's well luxuries of that's when luxuries of founding a consulting company. It's like, either you're making money, or you're not making money. There's no VC investors involved. Like, it's like, right, if you're doing work for a customer, you're, you know, the timer is running, and you're making money. So I've seen a lot of people who've gone off and founded companies, you know, the kind of jealous of this of the consulting life set style, but, you know, they got a higher upside potential upside, but a lot more risk. But running a consulting companies, you know, relatively low risk, you know, but there's not like a super, super appetite. We're not gonna get an investor come in and bring us like $100 million? I don't know, I don't see that happening. It doesn't seem it doesn't feel like that's the exit plan for like six feet up.

Will Vincent 17:25
Yeah, that makes sense. I mean, to make it about me, in my experience, so I wrote this company called Quizlet. That is now hopefully going to go public soon, but was bootstrapped the entire time I was there and had been stripped up bootstrap before. So we were, and we were on Second Street, you know, a block from South Park. So we were surrounded, I know that way. Well, you know, Instagram was literally right, Over all, you know, the node people, right, everything was right there. And yet, but we had constraints. And I feel like it was extremely frustrating at the time when everyone else is throwing money and offers around. But that discipline meant that, you know, quizlets still around. Yeah, and so kind of got to see it wasn't it never felt like fairytale money because we knew exactly where the money was coming in from and the the founder and CEO were really disciplined about that in a way that you know, 22 year olds given $5 million, right? Because why why would you be

Calvin Hendryx-Parker 18:12
and that's pretty much the mindset over here, like you live in your means we we try and contribute back into the community with our time in any way we can. Now we're finally now we finally have grown. We're contributing back monetary into the Django Software Foundation. We're now a silver sponsor for the DSF, which I'm super excited and very proud of the fact that we can, you know, help and do that. It just means we've grown, we've matured. But yeah, we didn't have you know, crazy party. We didn't have the launch parties with like ice sculptures and you know, fireworks and all those kinds of crazy, which I did see these companies, but it's hard not to look at that as a human and be like, Oh, man, that's look so cool. But you know, what, if you look at the other side of the coin that they are sitting on, like, you may not be very happy with the situation they probably actually putting themselves into, like, it may not be all, you know, fireworks and ice sculptures.

Will Vincent 19:01
But it's very hard to avoid that when you're in the middle of it. Oh, yeah.

Calvin Hendryx-Parker 19:04
Especially that area.

Will Vincent 19:06
Yeah, I mean, I think the sort of the founder of Quizlet was 15. At the time, he was in college, when I joined and then there the CEO was older was 40. And had been through all this stuff. And so that was sort of the the tension there of the two of them. You know, the younger one all his friends were literally, you know, the founders of stripe segment, you know, yeah. And he was like, let's take money, let's go for the moon and the older one was like, I've been burned, you know, let's, let's play it safe. Because I think that's the that's the thing is like, when you're there as disciplined as you are, you know, everyone else is doing it. It's hard not to get like we even hired a PR firm at Quizlet to try to get press because we're like, you know, we're growing like crazy. We're doing all these good things. And we had no tech coverage at all, all the edtech was all these other companies that raised 100 million are now out of business. But it's because you know, what is the story tech press story is raising money. It's not organically growing business in doubling every year.

Calvin Hendryx-Parker 20:01
Yep. Oh, and I wouldn't have done this without my wife, my partner Gabrielle. I mean, she's. She's definitely like the one who keeps me a little more grounded. When it comes to those things. I'm more the visionary who wants to, like go off and create crazy things and not that she like stops me from doing crazy things like, but as a combination as a team, we've done way more together than we could have done alone. Yeah,

Will Vincent 20:25
let's do it. So I see in the notes. So was it 2017 when you started unprofessional Django projects? When did Django start to take over the work that you do professionally?

Calvin Hendryx-Parker 20:35
Oh, definitely. 2017 we had our first you know, kind of lead on some Django projects was small thing. It was actually a company I worked with out in California and found me because I put Django like on my LinkedIn profile or something like that. And so they phoned up said, Hey, we need help with a thing we launched. It's built in Django. I'm like, This will be fun. So we started doing more and more Django work. Got went to my first Django conference, which was the Django con Europe, in 2017, in Florence, Italy, so I got to meet more of the Django personalities. I think, actually, before I met Carlton,

Carlton Gibson 21:05
yeah, yeah. That was that was it that was that your first

Will Vincent 21:07
wife, Carlton, right.

Carlton Gibson 21:09
Yeah, yeah, that was my first Django con. So you know, we've been using Django these years and never been to a conference, then we have clients that say, absolutely blown away. And then

Calvin Hendryx-Parker 21:17
Oh, it was, again, it was it was an amplification in San

Carlton Gibson 21:21
Diego Some time later. And I was like, Hey, didn't we meet him Don't go in Europe.

Calvin Hendryx-Parker 21:26
It was more the community that I grown to love through Python and plone conference. So sometimes I dream and wonder what other tech communities are like, because I've never been to like a PHP conference or Ruby conference or anything like that. I just find it hard to believe that they could be they could. For me, I feel like the Python community is just like our heads and shoulders above. All the reps are such such amazing folks who are in our community, that are just giving of their time and their talent. And like, they develop these amazing, like frameworks that we all just take, you know, use. And I thank them, you know, when I whenever I can, for the kind of effort they put into these things. But yeah, Jenga is one of those things where we'd been a plumbing company for decades at that point in time. And I really liked that framework for building content management systems, but I felt like the content management market has shrunk. People don't want a full blown, you know, CMS tool, they want to build web applications, they've got specific needs specific kinds of apps, they want to build in Django feels way nicer way easier to spin people up on to to get them to be productive. So we started doing more and more Django projects, just because that they were things that weren't a good fit for blaan. Now, we still do plum. still love it as a CMS, it's the best one you could possibly install on us. No offense to the Django based CMS, but they don't have the full features out of the box that like, say plone does, because they've really focused on that as their market, but plans not the place to build, you know, kind of one off, we you know, applications that don't fit a CMS, you know, box,

Will Vincent 22:58
can you add, we can edit this out? If the answer is no, but do you feel like you can make a public comparison of plone in wagtail,

Calvin Hendryx-Parker 23:06
I don't have a serious amount of experience with backto than, you know, throwing it in and just trying it out.

Will Vincent 23:12
I think Blacktown has grown a lot recently, which is why it's like, okay,

Calvin Hendryx-Parker 23:16
there's a lot I wouldn't be the right person to do that comparison, I found, you know, for a app that needs to have some content management in it. Why cuz awesome. Like, you know, it's a great way to add in user edit user edit ability to content inside of a Django application. plone is just full blown workflows, fine grained security, leverage is all those things I talked about that I love with zope. When I first came into, like those up community, it transferred those really well into a very highly secure, you know, content management tool for building internets and extra nets and content collaboration to sites and be able to build public facing websites or research tools or content repositories. And I see them actually working together either using wagtail as a CMS for a Django app, the newest versions, upload support, fully headless operation. So you can actually run it side by side and its own Docker container just using react or whatever interface you want on the front of it. And it's got, you know, just full API's into the content. So you have an editor UI on the back end, but you could be managing content for some some forward facing application using phone if you want but I have not tried the latest versions of wagtail. I would do a disservice to any kind of review if I if I was to train you for a comparison.

Will Vincent 24:33
We should get Tom Dyson on again, I'm thinking of it in part because so we just saw NASA just put a you know rover on Mars in the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, their whole site, using all that is built with wagtail. They send something to me and Jeff Triplett, we do the Django news newsletter. So we should have them come and talk about it because a lot of those things had less and all the rest wagtail has grown a lot. So yeah, maybe that'll be let's see if we can get Tom on to compare versus cloned in Yeah, agreed to like a panel discussion. I'm

Calvin Hendryx-Parker 25:01
happy to participate since I've definitely got a lot of experience there.

Will Vincent 25:04
Oh, yeah, that could be interesting. Anyways, well, so you touched upon it, but I was gonna ask, you know, so the the types of common projects, people would bring you in on Django, right, because it was probably more we have an existing project that has issues versus Greenfield was to say, we've got we've both recently,

Calvin Hendryx-Parker 25:23
when we first started, it was people coming to us because they had a existing Django project, you know, they started off with some solo developer, who maybe wasn't doing all the best practices, or didn't know how to scale it to, you know, full blown web, you know, web scale launch of their application, you know, a lot of building community type applications, you know, search and commenting and activity streams and things like that, where those can be tricky, if you don't know how to use caching and, you know, readiness, or the all the kind of like real tricks, which is nice, because those are common between web frameworks, like, you know, varnish, and things like that, we would use those, obviously, to speed up and deploy, you know, faster versions of plone applications, we can use a lot, same knowledge when came into the Django world. And then he picked up more on how to tune for databases, and these kinds of things, that was a big change there, you know, flown in zope, are using an object oriented database, you know, not not exactly a no SQL, but it was kind of the granddaddy of what no SQL databases are. So I wasn't seriously heavy SQL, relational database user, I enjoyed my kind of ignorance is bliss of persistence. And when I say

Will Vincent 26:31
not to do that later, yeah,

Calvin Hendryx-Parker 26:32
I saved an object, it gets saved in the database. And like, I was happy, and it was all atomic. And there were transactions and would roll back if it didn't work. But luckily Django is ORM is nice and simple. And I do love like SQL alchemy as well. So I've become a big fan of the ORM. And you know, it does a lot of that heavy lifting for me. So I still don't have to learn all the SQL junk to be productive with a tool like Django, but it is a different mindset where you're creating models, and that kind of relate to tables, versus when I'd create models before, or create content types inside of zope. And plone. You know, they're just Python objects. They looked like Python objects, they didn't have kind of this RME, you know, syntactic sugar sitting on top of them, that tie them into database tables.

Carlton Gibson 27:17
Yeah, I think that's important to sort of remember about the ORM is it is it's a table, it's a gateway to your table, right? It's

Calvin Hendryx-Parker 27:26
Yeah, so even when you're developing like a Python model, and Django, you still kind of got to be aware of like, a decent database design, like, you know, there's certain decisions and choices you have to make that you got to be aware of like how that works on the back side with the database still.

Carlton Gibson 27:41
Yeah, and any, any time you spend working on your sort of Sq SQL chops, it's always time well spent. Even if you don't want to get you know, you don't, you don't have to get right down in there and know every nitty gritty, but you know, if you spend an hour you think, yeah, learn that. And then you go and look how that works in the other room that really pays dividends for you, right,

Calvin Hendryx-Parker 27:57
and then learning kind of some of the tricks or the ORM, like lazy loading and kind of like prefetching. And some of the things where if you know how your application is going to work, there's, there's things you can do in the ORM to greatly speed up or reduce the number of requests to the database. I mean, it's nice, there's tools out there like century and things like that, they can help you trace and see where you've made an oopsie and the Django.

Carlton Gibson 28:19
She just sort of treat your tree view down to where all the time spent in the right, select related out one query better.

Will Vincent 28:30
I want to ask so you use AWS because you're talking about tweaking servers here, you're not using a platform as a service generally for your hosting needs. No, not really.

Calvin Hendryx-Parker 28:39
I mean, we started out as a hosting company. And about two years ago, we got rid of our final piece of like actual bare metal hardware. And that was a great day. Oh, wow. We are fully in the cloud. We have no more like switches and routers and servers and blinky lights. I mean, I'm a big fan of like blinky lights, but I'm just kind of over managing servers anymore. So yeah, we went all in on on Amazon. I mean, numerous years back, and it's been a slow migration compiling, getting everybody off of our physical hardware in a data center, fully up into the cloud. And it's been so much nicer since then, just from like a peace of mind standpoint. I also run the AWS user community here in Indianapolis called nddb. us and I'm atbs community hero. So Amazon names, they got about 200 people globally, that are heroes, and it's a it's a really cool program. They give you cool stuff. And you basically just are kind of a promoter for all the cool stuff that goes on Amazon but on to work for him.

Carlton Gibson 29:39
Yeah, right,

Will Vincent 29:40
Carlton, that's what you need to be because Carlton Scott, button dot dev is simpler. AWS hosting? Well, we

Carlton Gibson 29:46
know that would qualify

Calvin Hendryx-Parker 29:48
for hero ship. I did things like well,

Carlton Gibson 29:52
the goal the goal with it is simply You know, when you go into the, you go into the console and you're like, there's 200 services here. You know, I couldn't possibly navigate all of those when I'm just trying to get up and running. It's like, Look, here's a few, here's a few that you're going to use for a default stack. And then when you outgrow that, you've you just step out to the console. And it's there for you.

Calvin Hendryx-Parker 30:10
Yeah, no. And that's been a goal for me, as well as, how can we automate and simplify these deployments, because there's definitely way more moving pieces back in the day when it was just like, here's your bare metal server, at whatever hosting company you're at, you ran everything on one box, the database, the web server, the Django app, the plone, app, whatever you're running is all in one one spot. But it means that when it failed, like, like, was miserable after that, because a lot of times, you couldn't rebuild the same exact server, again, use like configuration management, or QA best practices, they were all unique snowflakes. I think that the complexity overhead, we've added in with all these kind of cloud native components is worth the squeeze worth of juice, in this case, because you're not, I'm not messing it up twice. And it's also a lot more resilient. And Amazon's thought about all these things on the backside, and they're doing all the database upgrades for me. And I don't have to think about load balancers. You know, I just write some, either cloud formation or we use terraform, you know, for describing our infrastructure, and I just say Apply, and it figures out the things that need to happen to make sure that my infrastructure is sitting there ready to, you know, host my application. And containers is taking that to the next level for us as well. everything for us is going containers, I was kind of another long kind of hold out on Docker and containers. I feel like it's gotten mature enough that it's made the developer onboarding process a lot simpler. And it's made the deployment story, just more straightforward. Like you build something in a CI server, you put that into a repository, you push a button, and you can now release or rollback I just that's that's, that's so worth it not having to now do apt install nginx. And apt install h a proxy and figure out like all the bits and and wiring them myself, like the terraform does most of that wiring for me, Docker does all the figuring out well of building the image so that I can deploy it to any cloud. Yeah, I

Carlton Gibson 32:04
think that's the thing. The point you said it was like a snowflake. Like if you manually configured your server, you can't rebuild it. And it's like, for me, it's the test is cat, okay, you've deployed it once. But could you tear it down and redeploy it? And if you could tear it down and redeploy it, then you're okay.

Calvin Hendryx-Parker 32:21
Right? Back in the day. I mean, I used to be to the point, like, when we did upgrades of servers, I was building kernels, you know, on the box, like, you know, make make install,

Carlton Gibson 32:29
build, well, you were running Linux from scratch. Well,

Calvin Hendryx-Parker 32:33
I'm a hardcore FreeBSD person. I'm more in a Linux camp now. But like, back in the day, we were 100% FreeBSD. I would do build world install world to keep our boxes up to date. You know, I had source sitting in user local source that I was like, compiling and installing from hand. I get that that was insane. Like, I look back at those days. I mean, sure. It felt like fun. I guess I only felt like a hacker, you know, piling in watching all this stuff. Scroll off the screen, but that's not productive use of my time.

Will Vincent 33:01
Well, it's like telling kids like I used to walk to school, you know, through three feet of snow kind of deal that there's never gonna know. Oh, yeah. But But there'll be new you know, I guess now they have to deal with JavaScript front end. So even

Carlton Gibson 33:12
though this is turned into a Monty Python sketch a my day cold off the road?

Will Vincent 33:19
Well, Carlton, I turned 40 recently, so you know, I can make all these files.

Carlton Gibson 33:23
Welcome to the club.

Will Vincent 33:24
I know. I've got it. I've checked all the other boxes. Now. It's official. I always loud swarm. Tell us about this project that came out of the pandemic. Oh, my gosh, yeah,

Carlton Gibson 33:34
hang on. So this was the this is the conference video thing. It's amazing because they used it for Django con Europe.

Calvin Hendryx-Parker 33:43
So we as as part of running Indy pi in India, DBS, we started doing some little mini one day conferences, like regional one day conferences, we'd have different topics like PI data or web conference, or, you know, just automation. And running up to 2019, we kind of decided we would pull all our resources in running these bigger events into actually running a real like multi day conference, but make it virtual. We we founded the Python web conference in 2019. And it was virtual on purpose. I feel like we were leading the pack there before the painting even started. But we it was virtual by design. And that design was because we're in Indiana. And we were really focused on the web for us, like web development and web tools. And I felt like Python had kind of strayed from that. I mean, back in the days of 2004, Python, there was zope track. The keynotes, were, you know, zope and web frameworks. That was the killer app for Python back in 2004. But the world has changed and moved on. And Python has been adopted for all kinds of awesome types of projects around data and automation. You name it, they're using Python for it. And I feel like Python reflects that. But I still have a passion for Python on the web. And I don't feel like it's boring. I feel like you know It needs to be more outlets for people to come and gather around topics that are specific to web and deployment and cloud. So that's that was the kind of driving force behind the Python web conference. And then 2020 hits. We moved our first cloud conference to zoom in on March of last year. And the experience was okay, when you had basically three zoom webinars that people had to kind of know, the URLs to get into watch the sessions, and there was a Slack channel, and then there was another website. So it was like all these tools were all kind of scattered about, and it didn't feel like people were getting the engagement and like the integrated experience that you come to really love when you go to an in person conference. I mean, obviously, we can't reproduce an in person conference. But we can leverage the technology that is available to can use those same experiences as a guide for how do we either enhance some of them, or try and make some of them, you know, as good as we can make them for an online experience. And so that was the thought process that went into why loud swarm became a platform we built to do our next conference. So we started in April, the first conference was in March, that we did on zoom April, we laid down a whiteboard ideas of what the project would be. And we launched it June 17, or June 15, when we did Python web conference 2020. And it's full blown Django, we have video CD ends, and we integrate with existing services already. My idea was to not rebuild some of these wheels, let's like leverage existing tools. So q&a kind of integrated with slideshow. So you could have polls that were interactive, we'd had in direct interactions or integrations with slack. So real time as you would message in slack on the back channels, whatever session you're watching, there's a feed of that tracks channel directly in the page. So you can actually kind of watch kind of back back channel topics, you know, talk going on, which really adds the experience, like while you're watching me live, you can ask questions live, you can actually interact with the speaker, even though the speakers kind of in a room by themselves technically giving the talk. They feel there are people there. And as a moderator, they're helping to like, you know, say to ask the questions. And then afterwards, we wanted folks to still have that face to face like podium experience, like when you after someone gives a talk at a conference, it's really common for folks to kind of go gather around the speaker at the podium, you know, much of the chagrin of the track runner who's like you guys need to get out of here, we all want to talk to the speaker, because they all got questions they want. And they didn't feel comfortable when we asked them at the microphone, but they wanted to ask them face to face. And so we added in a face to face feature, which basically launches like a jitsi meet room or Zoom Room where folks can actually like do a web meeting and chat face to face with the speaker. And those have been super popular when you have every talk, you know, from a handful of people who've come into 20 to 30, or more folks coming into those rooms, especially when it's like keynote speakers, and it's amazing talks. And you just like you walk out, you want to thank the speaker, personally, that's not a question. But you still want to like say thank you. So you can you can say that face to face with them. And so we've made it just super easy for folks to be able to jump from session to session, if you are in a session. That kind of law of two feet at a conference, if you don't like something, you've got your own two feet, you can stand up and walk out of the room, we really wanted to enhance that. So that it's easy to move from one topic one, one session to another session, and added in a DVR feature. So you could actually go back in time and start at the beginning of the talk. So you didn't feel like you missed anything, which I again felt like was a really great feature for leveraging something we could do online, but you can't do in person

Carlton Gibson 38:34
to be able to be able to catch up on talk to you Mr. Though, you know,

Calvin Hendryx-Parker 38:38
yeah. And features. All right. They're online within about 10 minutes after the talk was given. You've got you know, full, you know, you know, multi, multiple versions and different, you know, quality levels, because we wanted to make sure that folks who were in areas where they don't have great, you know, broadband can still participate in the conference.

Will Vincent 38:57
Yeah, I love that the developer goodbye. It's like the Irish Goodbye, but for which I'm a fan of the Irish Goodbye, Python web comp is next week, right? So people can still sign up for that. And we have a link in the show notes,

Calvin Hendryx-Parker 39:10
March 22 to 26th it's gonna be five half days, so that folks can kind of still go to work or still participate and still engaged in the conference and have a good time. You know, make the most of it for the week. We've got 60 awesome speakers, about 20% of them are women. So maybe in honor of National Women's Day, International Women's Day, but we have I really worked hard to get a kind of a diverse set of people available for us to engage with. And I'm really proud of this year. If you go look at the speaker's page and scroll down that page. It is just I'm, I'm humbled and honored that these people have chosen to participate and spend their time with us as part of the Python World Conference. We do have four tracks this year, we added an additional track. We have app Dev, we've got a culture track, we've got a PI Data track. So that's actually official PI Data sanctioned any event going on inside of the web conference, and then we have a cloud track for folks who are interested in more cloud topics and cloud native deployment type things, it's gonna be fun. The last few years have been great. Last year was obviously the first time we even used Lodz form to produce any kind of an event. And so we've added in new features, and you know, all kinds of new cool stuff that is available for attendees. And I feel like that the community really stands up for some of the kinds of events when we do a Python conference, and Django con Europe was a perfect example of having an awesome community coming together for a virtual event makes all the difference. You've got people who know each other than engage, there's just tons of conversations that start going, there's gonna be great socials, and we're going to do a game night, we're gonna have, you know, all the speakers engage. They're not just like they're for they're talking on, most of the speakers are all around. They're all in slack. They all want to chit chat. And so you should everyone should take advantage of that ability to talk to these folks. Because they, they want to talk to you.

Carlton Gibson 40:58
Yeah, and in a way that talks the least of it. Right. Okay. And during the talk, but that's not what I have here.

Calvin Hendryx-Parker 41:04
But there they are a great talks that, you know, they definitely watch their talks. But then the hallway track is still still exists, it's still a thing, even in the current times. I mean, our goals for things like Python web conference will stay virtual. That was his initial intent, no pi stay virtual. loud. swarm, though, is designed so that when we get back into doing real events in person, that it's meant for hybrid events like that folks who couldn't travel to a conference could now engage with those people.

Carlton Gibson 41:34
There was a good I mean, Django Khan's always streamed that as much as it can it streamed the videos. I remember seeing Django in Europe A few years ago, and being like, wow, they're all live and then not getting much work done. And I think it was the next year that I went to Florence. But the if there could be some sort of feedback from the people watching at home, that would be kind of cool. Some some way of joining into.

Calvin Hendryx-Parker 41:58
Yeah, so I think the tools like that, I mean, I would love to see some really, I think about these things at night when laying in bed is like, can we even have like a 360 virtual view? Or that you could be like you're sitting in the rooms, like we think we could get back into like physical conference space. Could I, you know, see who's sitting in the room with me? Could I ask questions that go up onto the board, you know, that we're the people in the room, and the people who are virtual ask questions, that kind of an even playing field, it's all done in one medium so that they don't feel like they're getting gypped out of asking that question.

Carlton Gibson 42:30
And that's cool. There's one thing I saw, which was called, I think it was called gather dot town where there's like this kind of cartoon hallway, and you could walk between the groups and the sound would come out come in

Calvin Hendryx-Parker 42:41
a little preview hint is that we're going to be using gathered town for Python web conferences here for some of the socials,

Carlton Gibson 42:48
it looks really good because it like you talked about the hallway track. And one thing about the hallway track is you can kind of be in a conversation me now I'm going to stroll over to a different conversation.

Calvin Hendryx-Parker 42:55
Yeah, that's spatial audio, I think is a game changer for virtual events. And we're exploring that and experimenting with it, as soon as we can use it. I found that with a rambling app, now, if you've seen the rambling together, but it's more like, you know, it's an eight bit adventure game, it looks like you're in the 90s, you know, playing your Nintendo,

Carlton Gibson 43:13
she's perfect.

Calvin Hendryx-Parker 43:14
It's perfect for me. And this was kind of cool about that. One is rambling. They have like, secret cheat codes, if you know how to type some stuff into the URL just right, you can get alternate maps and new worlds and all kinds of crazy stuff. None of its published, you know, they felt like I was getting my Nintendo monthly magazine and looking for the cheat codes. Again,

Will Vincent 43:37
I almost reminds me of, again, back in San Francisco, I think still to this day, like every company would put in the the meta, you know, if you're looking at this, you know, we're hiring kind of things and sort of the sort of the equivalent. No, so great. Yeah. Well, that's, that's an amazing, you know, equalizer. I think that's, I don't know, I can't speak for Carlton. For me, one of the reasons of doing this podcast is to try to replicate a conference environment and make it accessible to anyone, anywhere, anytime. Because they are fantastic. But you know, they're expensive. And people have time commitments.

Carlton Gibson 44:08
Well, so there's like, there's like this, this conference boost, right? You go to a conference, you get this power charged up, and you can't find me like I'm power charged and over time that sort of fades away. And then, you know, just having a polka is not the same as a, it's like a little boost top.

Calvin Hendryx-Parker 44:24
Now, I will I will say for Python conference, we do have a grant program for those who may not be able to afford a full ticket. So like a professional tickets 199 a student tickets 99. For every professional ticket that's sold, or for I came up with a formula is but there's basically for some number of professional tickets that are sold, there'll be a number of grant tickets available. So if you are interested in attending but are afraid you couldn't pay, don't, don't fret, please come and check it out and apply for one of the grants. Because we're trying to get back into the community and make sure that everyone who wants to be there can be there. Super,

Carlton Gibson 44:57
super. That's awesome. And I missed the date. When is it

Calvin Hendryx-Parker 45:00
That's the march march 22. To the 26th. Okay,

Will Vincent 45:04
so that's coming out tomorrow. I gotta I gotta do some work here. Because today's with today's the 16th. Right? So

Unknown Speaker 45:10
no, no. Today's the 9th.

Will Vincent 45:13
Today's the 9th? Am I crazy?

Carlton Gibson 45:14
Yes you've got ages.

Calvin Hendryx-Parker 45:16
Come on let's internet time. Yeah, right.

Carlton Gibson 45:18
This is those pandemic time. This is

Will Vincent 45:22
plenty of time to sign up. Yes, we

Carlton Gibson 45:24
can kinda, please do, please

Calvin Hendryx-Parker 45:26
sign up. It's gonna be a ton of fun. Come find me. Come say hi. I would love to chat with anybody who's listening. Great.

Will Vincent 45:33
Well, we have links to everything. I guess. Is there anything we didn't cover as we hit the the virtual doors?

Calvin Hendryx-Parker 45:40
I don't know. No, I mean, I get and I really excited about getting involved more in the Django community. I know some folks from six feet up, have joined the definite board and are actually excited about helping to put onto the Django con events. So I'm excited for them to be engaging. I want to just lead our team into being like an awesome Django job. Like we love the community. We love the people. And I'm, I'm just really grateful that this all exists and and we can participate.

Will Vincent 46:06
Yeah. Oh, and to put my DSF hat on. Thank you again for being a silver sponsor, because corporate memberships are very important to the financing of the DSF paying the fellows like Carlton so that's how it all comes together.

Calvin Hendryx-Parker 46:18
Yep. And I miss you guys. I really, you know, especially since Carlton was kind of my new first conference first Django con buddy. Like every time I see him I know now I haven't seen him in a year. So I miss you.

Carlton Gibson 46:31
Thank you.

Will Vincent 46:32
Well as ever, we are at Django chat comm We're at chango on Twitter. There's there's been some fun conversations on Twitter recently, Carlton, you were very good about not no there it is fair to say well, no, but not not the post side that I added out the pre sigh when he has to say something important. I guess we didn't have anything important today. So. So thank you for joining us, Calvin. Really appreciate taking the time. It was my pleasure. All right. We'll see everyone next time. Bye

Carlton Gibson 47:04