Call for Sessions extension

Now that the conference website is up and running, we are pleased to confirm that the deadline for session proposals has been extended until 2016-12-02T23:58+00:00. That’s a few minutes before the midnight (UTC and Europe/London) that ends Friday 2nd December 2016.

The full details are in Call for Sessions which has been updated to reflect the new submission deadline.

Updated Website

After some stress and a lot of work, we think we may, just may, have sorted the major problems with the session proposal submission system. This is not to say the system is pretty, but it should be functional: people should be able to register, then login, then submit, and even amend their proposals.

I am hoping that next year, this will all be a lot smoother. And prettier.

If there are any further problems please feel free to submit an issue here and/or email the conference chair.

Website Problems [Now Fixed]

Updated 2016-11-19: The website problems have been fixed, so we are staying with Plan A – proposal submission via the website. The deadline for submissions is 2016-12-02 – see Call for Sessions for details of submitting a session proposal.

As anyone who has tried to submit a proposal for ACCU 2017 has discovered, there are some serious problems with the Flask application. Failure to acknowledge a submission is one, not being able to submit more than one is another. Plus a whole collection of the buttons do the wrong thing. Sadly, for various reasons, the people who were developing the website have not been able to contribute for a while. Clearly this is ending up in a minor crisis. I guess this being a volunteer software development with a deadline, serious problems were inevitable. The issue is avoiding a major crisis.

We are going to try and get the website working so as to put website submission back on track. Failing this we will have to revert to Plan B. Yes there is a Plan B, no worries there. The question is only when, if we have to call time on website submission, we call time on website submission.

In any event we are going to extend the submission deadline as the current one is unreasonable in the circumstances. We are trying to decide what is the fairest date to set. Current thinking is people should be given at least three weeks of reasonable submission time. Let’s see if we can fix the website…

PS If you know anyone who wants a speaker deal ACCU 2017 ticket, and can be a major contributor to fixing this Flask/Jinja2/SQLAlchemy point them to the GitHub repository and get them to start getting the pull requests that add tests and fix the bugs rolling in.

PPS There is the possibility of some budget to hire a person for a short time to work on this if they can show they are capable and able to fix the Flask application very quickly. Anyone in this category should contact the conference chair.

Call for Sessions

Update 2016-11-14T14:38+00:00, altered URLs and dates.

We invite you to propose a session for this leading software development conference.

We have a long tradition of high quality sessions covering many aspects of software development, from programming languages (e.g. C, C++, D, C#, Go, Rust, Clojure, Erlang, Groovy, Haskell, Java, JavaScript, ECMAScript, Python, Ruby, Scala, etc.), and technologies (libraries, frameworks, databases, etc.) to subjects about the wider development environment such as testing, architecture and design, development process, analysis, patterns, project management, and softer aspects such as team building, communication and leadership. See the 2016 schedule for examples.

Conference sessions are one of:

  • 15 minute session: This format is ideal for presenting a small piece of technical material without the pressure of creating a complete 90 minute session around it.

  • 90 minute session: Typically these sessions are based around a presentation but have lot’s of audience interaction either during the session or as a 30+ minute question/answer/discussion period after a 50(-ish) minute presentation.

  • 90 minute workshop: These sessions are for attenders to do things, based around, for example, problem solving or collaborative work in small groups.

  • 180 minute workshop: For when a 90 minutes is just too short for the topic, this format is a "double session".

  • Pre-Conference tutorial and workshops: a full day that gives the possibility of introducing people to a new subject, or going really quite deeply into an interesting topic.

The conference also has lightning talks, which are 5 minutes in length. These presentations are organized on-the-fly at the conference. Please think about creating and presenting a lightning talk, but these do not need a submission as part of this call for sessions.

Proposals about specific products and technologies will only be considered if they are open source and available for free (at least for non-commercial use) and there is some non-trivial technical content to the session. If you are interested in presenting about a proprietary technology, there are "sponsored sessions" which are outside the standard conference schedule. Also being a conference exhibitor is a very good way of bringing products to the attention of attenders. Please, email conference@accu.org for more information.

Presenters of 90 and 180 minute sessions will be offered free conference attendance and financial assistance in the form of contribution to travel and accommodation costs. Presenters of pre-conference session that run will be offered a package of fee, accommodation and travel tailored on a case-by-case basis. (NB The conference organizers reserve the right to cancel a pre-conference session that is scheduled if insufficient people sign up for it.)

To propose a session please first Register on the website. You will then need to Login to the website. On successful login the menu will change to reveal the proposal submission and review entries: navigate to the Submit Proposal page and fill in the proposal form (NB navigating to this link before being logged in will likely result in a server error 500). In case that you want to do a shared presentation, please add the other Presenters/Co-Presenters. In a joint presenter situation, the person completing the proposal will be treated as the proposer and the person to whom conference presenter benefits will be offered.

The Abstract should contain a short description of about 250 words and the expected level of participants/audience: all, beginner, intermediate, expert. This text will be used on the website for those sessions accepted for the conference.

Each person should only put forward one or two proposals.

The Call for Sessions will close at Friday 2016-12-02T23:58+00:00.

Acceptance/rejection emails should be sent out by Friday 2017-01-13.

The full conference schedule should be announced Friday 2017-01-20.

The conference has always benefited from the strength of its programme. Please help us make 2017 another successful event.

Thank you!

Release Early, Release Often

As two observant people have observed, and reported, the ACCU 2017 call for session proposals is open, but there appeared to be no statement of how to submit a submission. In the past, submissions had been by email. This though caused a lot of work that should be replaceable by using better tooling, i.e. a website of some sort. Whilst there are many "off the shelf" conference management systems, and they have all the features needed to deal with submissions, none of them seemed to fit the constraints of lightweight, able to generate webpages for the ACCU website, and free. We therefore (maybe wrongly in later hindsight, but we are committed for now) wrote our own little Flask/SQLAlchemy/SQLite application. For various reasons, it is not entirely production ready, but the data model should not need any adjustment from now. After taking a poll amongst various people, the Conference Chair has decided to go with the "release early, release often" concept which is clearly about putting alpha grade software out into the field and then debugging it whilst in production. The Conference Chair is claiming this is beta software not alpha software, so call is a release candidate and get it out there. Momentarily after this post goes live the application will go live, so as to allow people to submit session proposals. If you find any glitches, errors, or just things you feel should be improved here is the place to submit issues. All the software is FOSS, so if you also submit pull requests, that would be even better. (Pull requests to make changes to posts already posted on the blog will, obviously, be ignored, for obvious reasons.)

The Code of Conduct

One hopes, indeed often assumes, that there will never be any misconduct at a conference. Most conferences, and all the ACCU ones to date as far as we know, have had no problems. If there has been some small offence given, it has been handled between the parties to the satisfaction of everyone concerned. Nonetheless it is incumbent on conference organisers to have in place a process for handling situations that cannot be dealt with directly by the parties involved. To this end, ACCU 2017 has adopted an adaptation of the PyCon UK 2016 Code of Conduct, and processes for dealing with infractions. Many people sensitive to the issues have commented that this is a good Code of Conduct and process, so it seems better to adapt something seen as good rather than attempt to start from scratch.

There should be a link on every page on this site in the top right under the ACCU organisation logo that leads to the ACCU 2017 Code of Conduct. Such document should never be cast in stone, they should be allowed to evolve to become better and to stay relevant to the moment. If you find any errors or text you feel should be amended please contact the Conference Chair.

We hope the process outlined never has to be invoked, that everyone coming to ACCU 2017 speaks and behaves appropriately for the context. We hope the document just lies there in the background gathering dust, but it is there, just in case.

ACCUConf Dates

The dates of ACCUConf 2017 have been known for a while but we delayed announcing them formally for reasons which are unlikely to come to light – mostly because we have no idea what they were. However,

  • Full-day Workshops and Tutorials: 2017-04-25

  • Conference: 2017-04-26 to 2017-04-29

are the dates in my diary and the diary of the Archer Yates people who are organising the conference for ACCU. Obviously at this stage we have no idea what the conference content will be as we haven’t had the call for session proposals as yet. I have been waffling about "mid-October to mid-November" to various people, but it seems reasonable to be a bit more specific. We seem to be iterating on:

  • Call for Proposals: 2016-10-17 to 2016-11-17.

We are busy making a website entry form for submitting the proposals. We will be trying it out ourselves in the next few days to ensure it works. Members of the Programme Committee will review the proposals as they come in. A short while after the end of the call for proposals, the Programme Committee will meet, sift the sessions to put into the schedule and make the first cut at the schedule. This is not usually an easy process, so we are likely to leave notification until 2017-01-13. We will of course though inform as soon as we can, preferably well before that date.

So put the dates in your diaries, and prepare you proposals awaiting the opening of the call.

ACCUConf Website In A Flask

A month and a half ago we said we would "release early, release often". Well we released early, but it has been a while since we released anything – so not exactly often. However, a release has come, in fact it happened an hour or so ago. The core of the change is that whilst this blog and other static pages are still static and managed with Nikola, we now have a Flask wrapper and driver for the material. We also have a single style across the static and dynamic pages. The blog will have entries added as and when. Other static pages will be added as appropriate. The dynamic stuff will be the submission of session proposals, and their review. This is the next thing to be put in place, along with more (and better) styling. So this is a website that is going to grow somewhat organically. If you find any problems or have any suggestions (preferably backed by pull requests!) please checkout the repositories for the Flask stuff and the Nikola stuff on GitHub.

In other news, the site is now always HTTPS. Whilst this is probably not necessary for the static material, it is will necessary for the session proposal submission sections. It seems easier not to switch back and forth between HTTP and HTTPS, so it is HTTPS always. Hopefully this meets with people’s approval.

The ACCU Conference YouTube Channel

Session proposal submission for ACCU 2017 will likely start in the middle of October and last for one month to the middle of November. The system of email used last year didn’t really work, was a lot of effort, and there are better ways of doing things. So we are busily creating a Web-based system for proposal management, and scheduling of accepted sessions. In the meantime we have this blog and static material, the styling of which will almost certainly change over the next few weeks.

If you are wondering what sort of sessions will happen at ACCU 2017, then the sessions at ACCU 2016 will give a flavour. Go take a look at the ACCU YouTube Channel. Obviously the actual material in ACCU 2017 will be a year on from that of ACCU 2016, but the videos will give you the idea of the sort of thing that goes on. Of course we are always open to new ideas, do not feel constrained by what you see there.

ACCU conference sessions are 90 mins or 15 mins – and we also have lightning talks of 5 mins. 90 mins sessions can be presentations, mini-workshops, panel sessions, anything with "meaty" content that attendees will be interested in. Presentations here doesn’t mean just talk. One of the reasons for the 90 min session is to get interaction and discussion. 45 min and 50 min sessions with maybe a minute for questions doesn’t work in really informing, it is the 50 mins of content and 40 mins of questions and debate that really works. Some people intermix so it is 90 mins of presentation, question , debate. The important thing is that 90 min sessions at ACCU conferences are interactive. 15 mins sessions are generally presentations, but these "quickies" allow people to get some ideas over without the need for a full 90 mins. Lightning talks are, well lightning.

Check out the videos on ACCU YouTube Channel Let us know what you think.

The ACCU Conference Website Emerges

In previous years the ACCU Conference website was just a part of the ACCU website using the same content management system. This year we are branching out and creating a website for the conference that is separate from the main ACCU website. As many of you will know the ACCU website has moved and completed changed infrastructure, it is this revolution that has enabled separation of the technologies for the main website and the conference website.

The conference website will principally be a Flask/Python3/SQLAlchemy/SQLite3 system but with the blog and static pages being Nikola managed. Clearly this is an experiment. But we are going with "release early, release often" so we are putting the Nikola blog and static pages up now so as to get assistance designing and styling the pages and preparing the ground for the dynamic section which will handle session proposal submission, proposal review, accepted session scheduling and rendering of the programme, speakers, and session blurbs.

This website is almost certainly going to change style and structure as well as content on a fairly regular basis.

If anyone wants to get involved in helping bring this infrastructure to fruition in the few weeks we have, all help gratefully accepted, email conference@accu.org.