Nov 22, 2018

PyCon2018, the BLKN style

Or what to check out after the conference

Belgrade fortress view.

Hello, folks!

Over the weekend of 16-18 November, the first ever PyCon conference took place in the Balkans! To be more exact, it was held in Belgrade, Serbia. A few colleagues of mine and I were quite excited about this and we decided to join the conference. And I can only say that it was an awesome experience.

I jotted down some notes along the way. These notes are not summaries of the talks, they refer to pieces of interesting blogs, talks and technologies that are worth checking out or using after the conference. Most of them were mentioned by the speakers during the presentations or came up in the Q&A part.

Also, I’ve added some general thoughts on the whole event at the end of this text.

My PyCon Balkans check-out list

  1. How to convince people that refactoring is important? Check out this blog post.
  2. Improve your writing — check out the Hemingway Editor.
  3. Have a look at Rainbow HAT, an IoT add-on board you can plug into your Raspberry Pi, which has a display, buttons and other stuff.
  4. Multithreading in Python under the hood or What the heck is GIL, read this article and this one to find out more.
  5. What is Python and how will it evolve? Will it ever run on mobile devices? This is definitely something to think about, so check out this project.
  6. How to speed up your e2e tests? Check out this for BDD, Allure for aggregate results, Selenium hub with RabbitMQ & celery to speed up.
  7. Using async postgres — asyncpg , more here.
  8. 12 steps to better code by Joel
  9. Packaging gradient
  10. Python executables or self-contained virtualenvs with dependencies, more herehere, and here
  11. Grocker , a minimal size Docker image builder for Python apps

+ Check out the timetable of the whole event and watch the talks you are interested in on the PyCon BALKAN YouTube channel. If you have a minute, I suggest seeing at least all the keynotes.

Okey, and what about the whole event?

The event organisation was incredible, everything ran smoothly and I really enjoyed that drinks — such as water and coffee — were available at all times.

However, what I enjoyed the most was a networking event on Saturday that was co-organised by It was held on the 25th floor in a restaurant called Top Of The Hub Usce so we had a wonderful view of Belgrade at night.

It was possible to meet the speakers there and talk to the attendees while having some food and drinks. Everyone had a really good time (well, not that much on Sunday morning anymore, though).

Belgrade at night from the 25th floor with me in the reflection.

Some pros: The conference was held at a Hilton hotel, which felt pretty cool. I’ve attended about ten conferences so far, but the food here, man! Definitely the best conference lunch ever. There was a lot of different food, including options for vegetarians, fresh veggies, salads and sweets — the best part.

Some cool cakes.

Some cons: There was only one conference room and I’m used to conferences with more stages, but, in the end, it didn’t bother me. However, what I would like to see at PyCon BALKAN next year are some hands-on workshops where you can often learn a lot.

Getting to know Belgrade

Belgrade is a very nice city, except for the fact they smoke in every bar, which feels pretty weird with all the regulations we have in the EU. Even though I’m a smoker myself, sometimes it was just too much.

However, I liked the people there — they are so friendly! We met a few people outside one of the bars, talked to them about Serbia and a lot of other stuff, and it was nice. I’m definitely coming back next year and I’m already looking forward to it.

Thanks to all the organisers for such a nice event.

All in all, my recommendation is to join PyCon BALKAN next year.


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