Django Chat

Resources & Mentorship

Episode Summary

We discuss the best current Django resources and how to find a Django mentor.

Episode Notes

Episode Transcription

Carlton Gibson  0:06  

Hi, and welcome to another episode of Django chatter weekly podcast on the Django web framework. I'm Calvin Gibson joined as ever by Will Vincent, how


Will Vincent  0:12  

are you? I'm great. How are you, Carlton?


Carlton Gibson  0:15  

I'm marvelous. Today we were just going to talk about some resources that are available in the Django Django world, the Django ecosystem, because quite probably, you've heard of them, but maybe there's one or two that you haven't. So let's start. What's your favorite web resource? Well,


Will Vincent  0:30  

well, my favorite resources you actually, why is your brain on Django things? But assuming that's not available to everyone,


Carlton Gibson  0:40  

always we've got the Django Django chat podcasts. That's your number one. Django resourceful. Yeah,


Will Vincent  0:45  

and you can email us questions. Django chat on twitter at chat. Django or Django chat. Hit us up. I would say these days. Besides personal relationships I've developed it would be the Jenga forum. So we'll link to that. So it's forum, Django project calm. This was set up only a couple months ago. The quality is fantastic. I mean, it's all the heavy hitters of Django. So if you have a question about Django, and you don't see an answer, or it's maybe more like a subjective question, that doesn't fit into StackOverflow. So for example, I posted one on top third party packages, amazing discussion on there, people should use this resource, there are experts on there waiting to help. And I think it fills the void that Stack Overflow is good for tiny, discreet questions. But these larger ones like architecture or logic, the community wants to have these discussions and this is set up for it. So I would say right now, the forum is the number one place and it has use but it's not being used as much as it should. I'll throw I'll throw in a number two and then I'll let you get some in. My number two would be the conference videos for Django con pike on I've got a full list on the awesome Django repo But these videos are gold. They are for amazing instructions from the top people trying to make it presentable. There's what 40 every year at each conference, there's going to be Django con Africa this year, go on YouTube, do Django con and search for whatever is top of mind and you'll find amazing content. So those are my top two. What about you, Carlton?


Carlton Gibson  2:22  

Well, I'm gonna comment on your top two before I


Will Vincent  2:28  

allowed it's allowed


Unknown Speaker  2:29  

Yo, like the forum?


Carlton Gibson  2:30  

Yeah, totally. So there's for years have been the Django users group. The Google group, says Django users in Django, they'll be number three. And this is still great. There's lots of people subscribed to those. But you know, over the years, I've kind of got a bit stale. I don't know that Google Groups is the best UI or the best


Will Vincent  2:47  

Oh, it's not I mean, I I get those updates. It's, I mean, there are still people helping on there. But it's I think, just the other format is not not what you would do from scratch these days.


Carlton Gibson  2:59  

Yeah. So the forum is was launched as an attempt to try and reboot that and you know, it's lively and there, you know, you can get direct answers from Andrew Godwin himself. And you know, what more can you


Will Vincent  3:10  

do? Yeah, exactly, exactly. People like that. So,


Carlton Gibson  3:13  

yeah, yours


Will Vincent  3:14  

is that would be the other one. I mean, but it's Yeah. And that's much more active. That is very, I mean, I get an update out of 20 questions back and forth a day or something. Yeah, maybe I don't think the format is as good as a discourse or discord board would be so


Carlton Gibson  3:30  

wait. Yeah, I mean, it was the conversations better and you get live updates? I don't know. Anyway, so try the fourth forum dot Django project calm? And then yes, absolutely. plus one plus 100 on the conference videos. You know that if you want to know how, I don't know Django works with Postgres indexes or anything, just there's a video on it. And you can sit back well, yeah. Do you put it on double speed? You can, you know, and you look at them, and they're on YouTube and this video on this absolutely awesome video on Postgres indexes has got 428 views and you like what it should have 4000? And, you know,


Will Vincent  4:04  

Yeah, seriously, seriously? Well, we'll keep beating the horn on that people should. People should check these out.


What else?


Carlton Gibson  4:12  

But then the other thing that I use a lot is my RSS reader. So I subscribe to blogs. But How'd you find out about these blogs? Well, there's a great aggregator. So if you go to the Django project website, and you go to the community section, there's a community aggregated feed, which is like, you can submit your blog to be included, your RSS feeds be included in that. And so it kind of, you know, it's it's got a number of blogs on it, and all of a sudden, you'll be Oh, that's an interesting blog post on who's this person and that see. So that's, that's one thing that I've, over the years have found awesome blog posts about


Will Vincent  4:50  

D. What our RSS reader Do you use these days?


Carlton Gibson  4:54  

Well, I use one I'm on Mac. So I am for my RSS reading and I use one called newzik. Explorer, which is good because it syncs to uses iCloud to sync to the iPhone or whatever. But years before that I used a thing called net Newswire. And that's just recently been updated and released as an open source and free app. And I'm going to download that and give that another go, because and they're going to have a nice iOS version of that as well. And, you know, people tell me that RSS is dead, but apparently, I still use it to


Will Vincent  5:25  

i, the people I respect, still use it. I mean, there's also I'll plug a resource. So there's a new Django newsletter that I'm co running called. So Django slash news, where we the weekly newsletter, we're curating all this. So we're picking the top news projects, security releases, so that's maybe a easier entryway if you don't want to get you know, as much stuff. We'll link to that that's one option. Because there is there isn't one, there isn't one that's not directly related to Django itself, and when You know, Django itself doesn't really. It doesn't really pick favorites and it shouldn't. So this is a more curated take, and you do it. You're doing that with Jeff Triplett from websites. Yes. We have Joshua, we had on the show. He's kind of a big deal. He knows this stuff. So, I mean, he's probably doing more more on it than I am, to be honest. But we're doing that. And it's, it's a lot of fun. And so check that out. There's also of course, Twitter. So there's a Django project Twitter feed. That's not used all that often. But you should definitely subscribe. I mean, what else there's I mean, there's a whole I've got a whole list of external resources on my awesome Django repos a bunch of sites that I, you know, personally think are good. But probably the community blog posts that you mentioned is that's probably like the top, you know, external focus I place for people I'd say,


Carlton Gibson  6:56  

right, and then the other issues like so Django packages, which is great. been around forever is still a useful resource for finding third party packages, right. And so you want something I know that handles rich text widgets in the admin, well, you know, go and type that into Django packages, you'll find the packages that exists and the options that are there. And you can kind of see how many GitHub stars they've got and when they were last updated, and those kind of interesting stats, which help you choose your packages. So that's useful. And there's another one which is kind of fallen by the wayside, but it's still up and still running and still really good. It's called Jango snippets. And it's got this. It's like, it's like jest or whatever. But it's like code snippets, but they're all Django related.


Unknown Speaker  7:35  



Carlton Gibson  7:36  

actually, an hour spent browsing that you're like, Oh, that's clever. Oh, that's clever. That's clever.


Will Vincent  7:42  

I agree. I think that the layout the UI is, is not updated. But yeah, the content, maybe it's still pretty solid.


Carlton Gibson  7:49  

Right. So but here's the issue we have, right. So the Django project has what has the Django project to maintain the Django Django Django software. It has the Django approach. website, it has the docks that need maintaining and thing. It's got Django packages. It's got Django snippets. It's got, you know, 4050 6070 80,000 users in just in, you know, your country alone. And yet very few contributors. And you know what Django snippets could be a much better site. If we had, you know, more people come in and say, Hey, I'm happy to give a little bit of time. I'm happy to give it a little bit of time. I'm happy to give a little time. It's, it's a question of surface area and then human power to maintain these things.


Will Vincent  8:33  

Yeah, one and I know you've done a bunch of work at Sprint's recently trying to improve the docks with others for contributions that's actually something I want to work on this year. It is still it could be easier to contribute, but it is not super hard. And that's definitely the goal is to you know, instead of sitting there saying like, what can Django do for me? Think what can I do for Django? Right? Like, oh, you have a nice thing you figured out Add it if you have a thought, like write a blog post, I think especially if you're early in your career, those are really interesting blog posts to read. I mean, the best questions I get are from total beginners who asked me, you know, sometimes, you know, out of left field questions that can often be really deep and make me rethink things that I take for granted. So yeah, right, right. Right, right, where you're doing


Carlton Gibson  9:26  

improv. Yeah, and programming is lonely, right? So it's you sit there, and you, if you've never you're in an office in a team, it's still like kind of quite an isolating experience. And you might be the back end person, the front end person where you can talk to them at lunchtime, but you don't really, you can't really communicate about the ins and outs of the ORM with them. Whereas if you write a blog post about your difficult CRM, and you post out on Twitter, all of a sudden, you'll get some responses. And you'll have a conversation, you'll find a couple of people who are into Django that you can follow and they'll follow you back and then all of a sudden, it's like, I'm part of the community.


Will Vincent  9:56  

Yeah, and it's a great way to get hired to because what's the first thing someone's gonna do is they're Gonna Google you. And if you're applying for a Django job, and you've written some posts about Django, again, it doesn't matter what level you're at just the fact that you're writing about it, you're having these conversations, and you will, you know, it's not a big community of Django experts out there, and they are extremely helpful, they will they will help you, right, you know, they'll probably see it one way or another and jump in, you know, I had that with when I was starting out, so. So make the effort to reach out to try to contribute to Django and then you will, you know, it's a better way to interact with the community rather than just consuming.


Carlton Gibson  10:31  

Yeah, and if you've got if you've got, you know, a few blog posts, and then a few pull requests, you can point to it, you know, yeah, I fixed something in the docs. It wasn't, you know, it was Yeah,


Will Vincent  10:41  

I mean, what's the best way to you know, if you can say I've already contributed to Django I mean, that's which entails you know, having a certain technical knowledge and be able to work with others. I mean, that should jump you top to the queue for for any job. Django or something else related, right. I mean, I just saw prominent Django person is the head of engineer A new startup that's using Ruby on Rails. And yeah, it doesn't really matter because he knows how to code. He's really involved with Django. I'm sure he probably knows rails, he can certainly pick it up. But the skills that you learn being involved in a community and framework directly apply across. So


Carlton Gibson  11:15  

yes, more and more, I think more and more like people don't. Once upon a time, it was always here, and it was always he, he is smart and gets things done. And that was the hiring criteria, right? And these days, it's not like that it's much more about are you able to work in a team? Are you able to communicate? Are you able to, you know, do all these what we historically thought of the softer skills and blog blog posting, contributing, you know, partaking in the community actually demonstrates that to an employer or a prospective employer? We've forgotten one thing I will write we've mentioned the forum. We've mentioned that conference videos. We didn't mention the conferences like


Unknown Speaker  11:56  

oh, yeah,


Carlton Gibson  11:57  

go You gotta go to the conferences right. What's the best resource in the Django community. It's Django con Gen Con Europe, Gen Con America, if you can get there.


Unknown Speaker  12:04  

It's like go


Carlton Gibson  12:06  

three days of just amazing mazing talks, amazing community, a couple of days of sprints where you can get involved, you can you know, learn how the open source project works. That's a real resource.


Will Vincent  12:19  

Yes, that's how we met. Come meet us. So I will both be at Django con Europe will both be at Django con us. There's a Django con Africa this year. I'm not able to make it but I hope definitely to make a future one. And yeah, Python. There's a again, there's a list on Awesome, awesome Django repo. But that yeah, that that's the best way because again, it is it is sort of isolating, right? Like we all do even the most introverted person. It's nice to have a community and again, it's it's so welcoming. So, especially these in person things or actually, there's probably there might be a Django meetup in your area. So I'm in Boston, there's a regular monthly meetup. I go there and meet people. You know, it's on Thursday night. So I do Like, I really want to go out on Thursday night, but every time I do, I'm glad I did. You know, so make the effort. I'll apply that advice to myself to anything else. Is that it? That's the


Carlton Gibson  13:10  

no one's there. The top ones. Yeah, like, you know, the package is a sort of an amazing resource but the Django patches to help find them the blog posts. Yeah. No,


Will Vincent  13:22  

yeah, those. Yeah. And I think I said, reiterate what we've said, be part of the community, right? Don't just, like find a way to give back even if it's just sharing your experiences beginner, like for and I'll give it like an example. So for me, like, I love getting emails from people, I get a lot of emails, sometimes people say, you know, will you mentor me, and I want to put a spin on that of Will you mentor me or when you ask someone for advice, they will just do it out of goodness for a little bit but like a mentorship or all these things. It needs to go both ways, right? There needs to be something that both sides are getting. So if you are contributing to Django and helping and being engaged It makes it I don't know more. I don't mean that I want to include this part. I'm trying to say like, be like, don't just be a taker, but maybe I


Carlton Gibson  14:11  

don't know. But that makes it I mean, I've one of my goals for 2020 is to think about something around the mentoring realm. But I don't want to just mentor someone directly. Because every time I've been in that situation, it's like, it's like, what you what you want me to teach, you know, I don't want to teach you like there's lots of things but I'm here to talk to you and say, Look, there's the there's the guide over there, but you have to go and read the guide yourself. Like I can't read it for no good reason you want


Will Vincent  14:39  

an engaged an engaged student. And I think it's also the case that again, as with all these experts, on the Janka forum and all these other places, you know, what I usually say is if someone asked me I say, well ask me the question, if I can answer it quickly, informs my understanding as a teacher, I will answer it and if I can't, I won't, but it's it's sort of like you know, if if people ask Like an hourly rate or this and that, you probably can't pay me what my time is actually worth, if it's just me giving it to you, even though I enjoy doing that. So, like, teed up in a way that I can use that to inform my teaching, we can talk about in the podcast, you know, just be part of the community. And then it's a totally different ballgame. Rather than just, I don't know, a more direct one to one where, you know, software developers time is valuable. So, so try to view it I guess. Just try to understand it from the perspective of Carlton and me and others if we want to help but try not to make it just an ask try to be involved in the community. One way or another. It'll be better for you and it's better for us and it's more rewarding all around.


Carlton Gibson  15:40  

Yeah, I mean, you know, give give out time left, right and center just in passing But anyway,


Will Vincent  15:47  

yeah, the commitment. Commitment phobic.


Carlton Gibson  15:49  

Yeah, it's it as I said, so my goals for 2020 to do something around this area, but I think it's it's got to be more in terms of resources and pointing people to them, rather than Directly guiding folks, if that makes sense. I don't know.


Will Vincent  16:03  

Yeah. And we've I mentioned this on Twitter. But if you are listening and you have a question, send us a voice message to Django chat And we'd love to include some of those in the show. And do it in the context of, you know, answer at once. So lots of people can hear rather than repeating the same thing over and over again. So, okay, that's resources. Let us know, on Twitter or elsewhere if we've missed some, but those are the ones that come to mind for us. Anyways,


Carlton Gibson  16:28  

join us next time. Thank you. Okay, bye.