Functional Python with Matthew Rocklin and Alexander Schepanovsky - Episode 46

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Summary

What is functional programming, why would you want to use it, and how can you get started with it in Python? Our guests this week, Matthew Rocklin and Alexander Schepanovsky, help us understand all of that and more. Matthew and Alexander have each created their own Python libraries to make it easier to employ functional paradigms in your Python code. In this episode they help us understand the benefits that functional styles can have and the benefits that can be realized by trying them out for yourself.

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Brief Introduction

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  • Your host today is Tobias Macey
  • Today we are interviewing Matthew Rocklin and Alexander Schepanovski about their work on functional libraries for Python.

Interview with Alexander and Matthew

  • Introductions
  • How did you get introduced to Python? – Chris
  • Can you first explain what functional programming is and how it differs from the procedural or object oriented programming that most Pythonistas are familiar with? – Tobias
  • How did you get started with functional programming? – Tobias
  • What are the benefits of functional programming and when might someone want to use functional paradigms in their projects? – Tobias
  • What is it about functional programming that people find so intimidating and what do you think has led to its recent rise in popularity? – Tobias
  • What aspects of the Python language lend themselves to being used in a functional manner and where does it fall down? – Tobias
  • Can you each describe what your respective libraries provide in terms of functional capabilities and what their particular focus is? Are they distinct enough from each other that it would make sense to use them both in a single project? – Tobias
  • What inspired each of you to create your respective libraries? – Tobias
  • There is a functools module in the Python standard library that provides some methods that enable functional paradigms. Where does that module fall short and how do your respective libraries augment or replace the functionality in that module? – Tobias
  • There is also a library named fn.py which provides functional paradigms for use in Python. Can you each compare and contrast it with your own work? – Tobias
  • There are a number of concepts involved in functional programming such as currying, function composition, immutable data, and pure functions. Can you describe some of those concepts and then explain which of them you tried to incorporate into your libraries? – Tobias
  • What are some of the resources that you have found to be most helpful when trying to learn and apply functional principles to your programs? – Tobias

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The intro and outro music is from Requiem for a Fish The Freak Fandango Orchestra / CC BY-SA