The Python Software Foundation (PSF) needed a new website design and functionality to manage and promote their annual conference for over 2000 attendees.
The Python Software Foundation (PSF) runs PyCon, the premier annual conference for developers using the open-source Python programming language. The conference attracts over 2000 attendees from around the world.
The week-long event includes scheduled talks, open spaces, lightning talks, poster sessions, an expo hall and multiple days of development sprints. To help organize such a large conference, the PSF maintains and supports ongoing development of the open source project, Symposion, that runs the PyCon website.
For 2014, PyCon wanted a fresh design and added functionality to Symposion. The PSF relied heavily on spreadsheets and manual updates to manage financial aid and talk communication and logistics. Because the conference would take place in Montreal, internationalization added another challenge.
Caktus worked closely with the PSF to create a logo and web design that captured the PSF’s brand while building in features that allowed previously offline administrative tasks to be done quickly online.
Caktus worked simultaneously on design and Symposion functionality. We met weekly with the PSF to ensure that all tasks continued on schedule and on budget, prioritizing needs as new ones arose.
For design, the PSF wanted a bold, colorful, but clean design that emphasized the vibrancy of the conference’s location, Montreal. We created style tiles for the site and solicited regular, continual feedback as the team completed designs. Open communication ensured we could capture exactly what the PSF hoped for.
To create new functionality in PyCon’s specific branch of Symposion, we employed a process of iterative development. We ensured code quality via unit testing before merging code and pushing changes to staging or production branches on Github. The staging and production servers utilized continuous deployment via Chef to seamlessly update the sites.
Our work included streamlining the administrative tasks around the following items by bringing them online and eliminating the need for offline spreadsheets or manual updates:
- Financial aid application submission, review, discussions, and applicant communication
- Talk scheduling that replaced adding rooms and times one by one repeatedly with an easy process that involves one CSV upload; Talk features also include submission, review, discussion, and submitter communication
- Creation of a new editor with live preview for speaker bios and submissions for talks and tutorials
The team also implemented internationalization to support French.
For PyCon 2014, the Python Software Foundation had an engaging website with great design and functionality that made event administration easier than ever.
The PSF had a clear understanding of progress at each stage due to our focus on collaboration and communication. The resulting final site, in both design and function, exceeded the PSF’s goals. Now, what used to take significant amounts of time to manage via spreadsheets happens with ease.