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Django Celebrates 10 Years Of Web Development In Lawrence

Cody Newill
Django Birthday organizer Jacob Kaplan-Moss introduces a speaker onstage at Liberty Hall in Lawrence.

A group of Web developers from across the globe gathered in Lawrence's Liberty Hall over the weekend to celebrate the 10th anniversary of "Django," a Web application framework with Kansas roots.

In 2005, Web developers at the Lawrence Journal World created Django to help journalists put stories on the Web quickly. Now, it's used in a wide variety of websites and apps, such as Instagram, Pinterest and the Washington Times. 

Organizers of the "Django Birthday" say much of the framework's versatility comes from being open source, or free to anyone who wants to use it. Django co-creator Adrian Holovaty says it was an obvious decision to try to convince his then-bosses to keep it open.

Credit Cody Newill / KCUR
Dozens filled up Liberty Hall to celebrate the various applications of Django, which include Instagram and Pinterest.

"It got so good that we decided, kind of selfishly, that we wanted to open source it so we could use it after we no longer worked [at the World]," Holovaty said. "There have been several generations now of fantastic developers who have worked at the paper now because it was the birth place of Django."

Jacob Kaplan-Moss was hired by the Lawrence Journal World in 2005 to help work on Django, and said nobody could've predicted the growth that developers have seen over the last decade.

"We thought, best case scenario, maybe a few other sort of journalist nerd people would use this," Kaplan-Moss said. "At this point, I think we have more people using Django who aren't in the U.S. than are. It's really a worldwide thing now."

One of those people is Ola Sitarska, a Polish native who started using Django about six years ago. She's co-founder of "Django Girls," an initiative meant to help get women into programming through online tutorials and meet ups.

"When people come to Django Girls, they learn how the Internet works, what a server is, and then they deploy the application to the Internet," Sitarska said. "So far, 1,660 people have attended our events, all of them women."

More than 30,000 users have visited Django Girls' online tutorial so far. There are also DjangoCons in the United States and abroad every year. 

Cody Newill is part of KCUR's audience development team. Follow him on Twitter @CodyNewill or email him at cody@kcur.org.
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