Another task that was going to be tedious for my team organizing the ESF Computing Conference, as I mention in this post, was that we needed to give certificates of participation to all of the students who attended the conference. Since there will likely be over 100 students, writing out all of their names would have been a waste of time.
After the Java mini-project that I undertook making all of our lives easier, my team challenged me to automate the certificate creation as well. I knew that I wouldn’t be able to easily do it with Java, and my friend suggested Python for the job, so I got busy trying to download Python and learn how to use it.
In the past few weeks, I had done a few lessons on Code Academy for Python so I knew a bit of the syntax, but I was pretty out of my depth still in learning how to use the IDE and the language in general. Funnily enough, I employed the help my 12-year old brother who does some Python work in order to get me going. Once we solved problems of how to download PyCharm, and how to download modules, I start experimenting with some code that I have found on the internet on how to overlay text onto a photo. Eventually figured out how to put a student’s name on the certificate in the right position, but then I had to figure out a way to get a list of the students’ names. I used my Java project from the previous post to simultaneously create a student schedule document in Word and also create “.txt” file that would contain a list of student names that I could use in my Python program to create a bunch of certificates. Once that was done it was smooth sailing, and eventually, I finished my program which would create a certificate for each student in my Downloads folder. I then just simply used Preview on my Mac to take each of the “.png” files for the certificates and combine it into a PDF file that we can print the day before the conference.
As I mentioned in the previous post, it was immensely satisfying to create something that I could actually use to make my life better in a small way. It was even cooler this time since I used Python to make a project like this less than an hour after downloading it. I really like Python, so I think I’ll continue to experiment with it.
If you’re curious, after putting in a certificate image in my program, a certificate like this would be generated: