Django, a project I have helped nurture for more than four years (including some time as a proprietary project when I worked at the Lawrence Journal-World) has today reached a milestone: we've given it a "1.0" status. In the world of open-source programming, this means it's stable, well-tested and generally a strong piece of software that its developers are proud of.
Given the milestone, I was reminded of an early Django memory that has stayed with me for years. Soon after we casually open-sourced the framework in July 2005, a Web developer, somewhere many time zones away from Chicago, posted a screenshot of his Django-powered Web site. It was the Django admin login page, and I remember feeling a strong sense of astonishment.
What? Some random guy halfway across the planet, whom I'll most likely never meet, actually took the time to learn and use this software that we'd built? And, what's more, he actually found it useful?
I was quite struck by that. Obviously, we'd intended this to happen -- the whole point of releasing code under an open-source license is to make it available to as many people as possible -- but it was an amazing feeling, nonetheless.
Over time, I've grown accustomed to the fact that, yes, people use Django -- so seeing a screenshot of the Django admin doesn't faze me much anymore. But the cool thing is: Bigger and bigger things are happening, and I still get amazed, time and time again.
A print version of a Django book that I cowrote is actually sitting on the shelf in the bookstore down the street from my house? And, what's more, readers actually pay money for it, given that we released a free version online? People take the time to record a weekly podcast devoted to our community? We formed a non-profit foundation? Google supports Django in its App Engine product? And there's a Django conference this weekend?
It all continues to amaze me, and it all continues to inspire me. Here's to a fantastic community and a great piece of software. Thanks for the experience so far.