ChiPy at Google

I had a great time last night at the ChiPy meeting last night that was held at Google’s Chicago office. I suspect a lot of people turned up just to see the venue: usually ChiPy gets 15-20 people but we got 51 last night.

So to talk about the office: it’s a nice, if very deliberate space. It’s nice to see that someone thought about all the little decorative touches (like lava lamps) and useful touches (like an acoustic shell above where the projector displayed), but it didn’t feel very lived-in yet. Maybe it was just that having to sign an NDA to enter the office for a public meeting was an unpleasant surprise.

First up, Brian Ray gave a presentation on operator overloading in Python. He covered what operators are available, how Python picks which operand’s code is called, how assignment operators like += and -= are handled, and tips on good style.

Next, Brian Fitzpatrick and Ben Collins-Sussman talked about how they’ve been working on Google Code, specifically the free Project Hosting for open source software. The highlight (and clearly Fitz’s favorite part of the project) was how they used Google’s BigTable as their svn repository.

Last, Jason Huggins demo’d Selenium, the browser-based website testing framework he developed. He had a nice demo showing how Selenium can be integrated into a continuous integration system so that browser tests are run on multiple OSs on every checkin, with screen-capture movies of the test process automatically checked into a repository.

All-in-all, this was a very fun meeting with lots of conversation that didn’t break up until security wanted to close up at 23:00 (5h after the meeting started). I had fun meeting and chatting with at least a half-dozen new folks. Mostly I yammered on and on about how Cambrian House works, but I swear it’s because folks kept asking and not because I’m turning myself into a mobile billboard.

Also, Jonathan Wolter talked me into coming out to San Francisco with him and a few others to attend Yahoo’s Hack Day in two weeks. Looks to be a good time.