Open + Connected

Session Details

Writing Customized Web Applications with Django

TPR3 Technical: Propeller Hats Required Track



Nazareth College has separated its Web needs into two basic parts: the content-managed and the custom application. Custom applications frequently start out as simple forms for passing information from site visitors to internal customers, but scope always creeps.

Django is a high-level open-source Python framework that provides a foundation both for initial product development and for dealing with the changes that inevitably follow. During this session we will build a custom application in real-time to demonstrate how Django establishes a versatile, data-driven groundwork for any webapp, and how well it handles change. We'll do it carefully, calmly, cheaply, and we'll explain what we're doing while we do it. We'll be done with the app itself in 35 minutes or your pizza's free! (Just kidding about the pizza, but the app will be free, at least!)

During the last 10 minutes we'll discuss how scope and requirements changes affect the product and open the room up for questions.


Michael Smith
Web and Digital / Academic Technologies Manager, Nazareth College

Michael graduated from the school of Apple ][e in 1985, Mac LCII technical school in 1994, and has been studying Linux since 1997. He learned math studying physics as an undergrad at Pitt, and at some point he went to grad school (again at Pitt) where he learned that consistent processes and documentation are important. He worked as a Web designer and team leader at Bayer Chemicals (now LANXESS) Corporation in Pittsburgh, PA, and then freelanced in Rochester, NY, before joining Team Awesome at Nazareth College.

Michael lives with his wife, cat, and mother-in-law in Henrietta, NY, where he plays the violin and tries to break Gentoo Linux.

Steven Smith
Web Developer, Nazareth College

Ever since the age of 8 when he disassembled, and successfully reassembled, his parents’ dot matrix printer, Steven L. Smith has had a natural curiosity for all things technical. By age 13, he had created his first website using CompuServe’s Home Page Wizard. Finding the output to be extremely limited, Steven taught himself HTML. Throughout high school and college, Steven dabbled in several other programming languages, and eventually landed an internship developing sites for a local marketing agency.

In May 2008, Steven graduated with a BA in Music from Nazareth College. Shortly thereafter, he was hired by Nazareth as their full-time Web developer. Working with the rest of the Web Team, he develops rich Internet experiences for all of Nazareth’s constituencies.

Outside of work, Steven enjoys all things music, performing in several ensembles throughout the Rochester area, as well as hacking electronics and going to LAN parties.