Tuesday, 17 April 2012

Ghanaian Developers Put Python and Other Technologies in Action

A cross-section of Ghana’s developer community gathered at BusyInternet, Accra, last Saturday, 14th April as part of Coders4Africa (C4A)’s monthly Coders in Action series. This month’s event was put together in collaboration with Python African Tour (PAT), and focus was naturally on using Python and allied technologies to build useful applications for Africa and beyond. It was a day of fun presentations, demos and networking that reiterated the tremendous progress that is being built in the Ghanaian tech community. Present on the day were established and emerging tech leaders such as Emmanuel Okyere (Hutspace), Adu Saarah-Mensah (PaasCo Africa) and Jojoo Imbeah (Suuch solutions). Selom Kossi Banybah, Ghana Technical Manager for C4A coordinated affairs for the day.

Pre-event interactions
The programme kicked off with introductory remarks by Kwame Andah (via Skype) of C4A and Gameli Adzaho of PAT. Kwame spoke about the essence of the C4A programme, their joy at collaborating with PAT and closed by giving hints on upcoming training opportunities. Gameli also gave an overview of Python African Tour, their activities so far, what the next plans of the tour in Ghana are (planned training events in Cape Coast and possibly another in Accra). All the attendees then took turns to introduce themselves and explain their connections to the Python language.

After the introductory remarks, the main presentations took off but not as planned as Anne Mukundi of PopKenya speaking from Nairobi, could not highlight on PHP Code Ignitor as she was impeded by intermittent breaks in the Internet connection. 

Francis Addai enjoying his presentation on Pyramid
Back home, PAT Kumasi co-organiser and mFriday Training Coordinator Francis Addai showed participants how to play with Pyramid, a Python Framework. Taking time to explain key advantages of Pyramid, chiefly its flexibility and versatility, Francis could not hide his love for the framework. He rounded up his talk by demoing how he is using Pyramid to build Geekry, a system that would allow developers to give and receive feedback, giving them the impetus to improve the quality of their work. 

After Francis’ great presentation, PAT Ghana trainer/organizer and CEO of Hutspace, Emmanuel Okyere, took the stage to showcase RapidSMS, another Python web application framework based on the Django. RapidSMS, he said, originally developed by UNICEF and it extends the capabilities of Django for SMS handling. Emmanuel went on to showcase sample apps developers can build with the tool, emphasizing that there are lots of opportunities they can exploit using RapidSMS. 

Emmanuel walking attendees through RapidSMS
Next, another PAT Ghana trainer, Kweku Danso of ilugi, stepped up to demo Showcase, a web application that, true to its name, showcases software built in Ghana on the web. He and his team mates, Jojoo Imbeah and Henry Addo, built Showcase using the Django Python framework. Kweku’s goal for Showcase is to be a one-stop shop for finding all the latest software developed in Ghana.

 Another brilliant young dynamic developer, Kwabena Antwi-Boasiako of Parallax Consult, then took over from Kweku to demo his innovation, Gspeaks, which aggregates the most interesting online stories Ghanaians care about. Gspeaks appears to be highly targeted version of Reddit aimed at the Ghanaian web user. Kwabena built his app with Ruby on Rails, an agile framework similar to the Python frameworks.

Finally, Ransford Okpoti rounded up events for the day through a short presentation on Google App Engine. He started by explaining the meaning of cloud computing concepts IaaS, PaaS and SaaS, pointing out the key offerings in each category. He then plunged into the Google App Engine, showing how developers can leverage on Google’s infrastructure to seamlessly deploy their apps on the Internet. He explained that using the cloud service was more advantageous to lean teams as they may not have the time or technical expertise to manage multiple servers on site.
Sarsah and Kweku discussing what next after the event
After Ransford was done, group pictures were taken and a brilliant day grudgingly came to an end as attendees stayed on a bit to network, give feedback, ask questions and discuss ideas. Truly, the Ghanaian tech scene is buzzing with useful activity as exhibited by another splendid day of learning and skills building facilitated by Python African Tour and Coders4Africa. It can only get better.
Group picture at the end of the programme


  1. The team from Parallax also shared their experiences on the day: http://blog.parallaxgh.com/2012/04/gspeaks-at-coders4africa-python-african.html

  2. Great event. I hope we have more of these in the future.

    1. Thank you, Admin. Let's all work towards that.

  3. Hello
    Amazing article! I’m pleased I stumbled upon it for useful information. I appreciate the effort here.

  4. please iam Ghanaian and living in wa upper west region region, am a system engineer from ipmc and wanted to learn pyhon....my phone number is 0205366693


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