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Pyjion with Dino Viehland and Brett Cannon - Episode 51

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Summary

In an attempt to improve the performance characteristics of the CPython implementation, Dino Viehland began work on a patch to allow for a pluggable interface to a JIT (Just In Time) compiler. His employer, Microsoft, decided to sponsor his efforts and the result is the Pyjion project. In this episode we spoke with Dino Viehland and Brett Cannon about the goals of the project, the progress they have made so far, and the issues they have encountered along the way. We also made an interesting detour to discuss the general state of performance in the Python ecosystem and why the GIL isn’t the bogeyman it’s made out to be.

Brief Introduction

  • Hello and welcome to Podcast.__init__, the podcast about Python and the people who make it great.
  • Subscribe on iTunes, Stitcher, TuneIn or RSS
  • Follow us on Twitter or Google+
  • Give us feedback! Leave a review on iTunes, Tweet to us, send us an email or leave us a message on Google+
  • Join our community! Visit discourse.pythonpodcast.com for your opportunity to find out about upcoming guests, suggest questions, and propose show ideas.
  • I would like to thank everyone who has donated to the show. Your contributions help us make the show sustainable. For details on how to support the show you can visit our site at pythonpodcast.com
  • Linode is sponsoring us this week. Check them out at linode.com/podcastinit and get a $20 credit to try out their fast and reliable Linux virtual servers for your next project
  • I would also like to thank Hired, a job marketplace for developers and designers, for sponsoring this episode of Podcast.__init__. Use the link hired.com/podcastinit to double your signing bonus.
  • Your hosts as usual are Tobias Macey and Chris Patti
  • Open Data Science Conference, Boston MA May 21st – 22nd, use the discount code EP at registration for 20% off
  • Today we are interviewing Brett Cannon and Dino Viehland about their work on Pyjion, a CPython extension that provides an API to allow for plugging a JIT compilation engine into the CPython runtime.

Interview with Brett Cannon and Dino Viehland

  • Introductions
  • How did you get introduced to Python? – Chris
  • What was the inspiration for the Pyjion project and what are its goals? – Tobias
  • The FAQ mentions that Pyjion could easily be made cross platform, but this being a Microsoft project it was bootstrapped on Windows. Have any of the discrete tasks required to get Pyjion running under OSX or Linux been laid out even in outline form? – Chris
  • Given that this is a Microsoft backed project it makes sense that the first JIT engine to be implemented is for the CoreCLR. What would an alternative implementation provide and in what ways can a JIT framework be tuned for particular workloads? – Tobias
  • What kinds of use cases and problem domains that were previously impractical will be enabled by this? – Tobias
  • Does Microsoft’s recent acquisition of Xamarin and the Mono project change things for the Pyjion project at all? – Chris
  • What are the challenges associated with your work on Pyjion? Are there certain aspects of the Python language and the CPython implementation that make the work more difficult than it might be otherwise? – Tobias
  • When I think of Microsoft and programming languages I generally think of C++ and C#. Did your team have to go through an approval process in order to utilize Python, and further to open source your work on Pyjion? – Chris
  • How does Pyjion hook into the CPython runtime and what kinds of primitives does it expose to JIT engines for them to be able to work with? – Tobias
  • Would an entire project be run through the JIT engine during runtime or is it possible to target a subset of the code being executed? – Tobias
  • In what ways can a JIT compiler implementation be purpose-built for a given workload and how would someone go about creating one? – Tobias
  • Could a JIT plugin be designed with different trade-offs, like no C API compatibility, but that worked around the GIL to provide real concurrency in Python? – Chris
  • One of the most notable benefits of having a JIT implementation for the CPython runtime is the fact that modules with C extensions can be used, such as NumPy. Does that pose any difficulties in the compilation methods used for optimizing the Python portion of the code? – Tobias
  • What kinds of performance improvements have you seen in your experimentation? – Tobias
  • Which release of Python do you hope to have Pyjion incorporated into? – Tobias
  • Has any thought been given to making Python a first class citizen in Visual Studio Code? – Chris
  • What areas of the project could use some help from our listeners? – Chris

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

PyData London with Ian Ozsvald and Emlyn Clay - Episode 48

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Summary

Ian Ozsvald and Emlyn Clay are co-chairs of the London chapter of the PyData organization. In this episode we talked to them about their experience managing the PyData conference and meetup, what the PyData organization does, and their thoughts on using Python for data analytics in their work.

Brief Introduction

  • Hello and welcome to Podcast.__init__, the podcast about Python and the people who make it great.
  • Subscribe on iTunes, Stitcher, TuneIn or RSS
  • Follow us on Twitter or Google+
  • Give us feedback! Leave a review on iTunes, Tweet to us, send us an email or leave us a message on Google+
  • Join our community! Visit discourse.pythonpodcast.com for your opportunity to find out about upcoming guests, suggest questions, and propose show ideas.
  • I would like to thank everyone who has donated to the show. Your contributions help us make the show sustainable. For details on how to support the show you can visit our site at pythonpodcast.com
  • Linode is sponsoring us this week. Check them out at linode.com/podcastinit and get a $20 credit to try out their fast and reliable Linux virtual servers for your next project
  • I would also like to thank Hired, a job marketplace for developers and designers, for sponsoring this episode of Podcast.__init__. Use the link hired.com/podcastinit to double your signing bonus.
  • Your hosts as usual are Tobias Macey and Chris Patti
  • Today we are interviewing Ian Ozsvald and Emlyn Clay about their work with PyData London, a group within the PyData organization. PyData London represents the largest Python group in London at ~2850 members, they hold regular monthly meetups for ~200 members at AHL near Bank and a yearly conference for around ~300 members. Last year, they and their sponsors raised over £26,000 to sponsor the development of core numerical libraries in Python.
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Interview

  • Introductions
  • How did you get introduced to Python? – Chris
  • What is the PyData organization, how does PyData London fit into it and what is your relationship with it? – Tobias
  • In what ways does a PyData conference differ from a PyCon? – Tobias
  • Does PyData do anything in particular to encourage users from disciplines that might not be aware of how much our community has to offer to choose the Python suite of data analysis tools? – Chris
  • You have both spent a good portion of your careers using Python for working with and analyzing data from various domains. How has that experience evolved over the past several years as newer tools have become available? – Tobias
  • For someone who is just getting started in the data analytics space, what advice can you give? – Tobias
  • How can conferences like PyData help strengthen the bonds and synergies between the Python software community and the sciences? – Chris
  • There are a number of different subtopics within the blanket categorization of data science. Is it difficult to balance the subject matter in PyData conferences and meetups to keep members of the audience from being alienated? – Tobias
  • Data science is a young field and we’ve yet to see lots of examples of the successful use of data. How are London-based companies using data with Python? – Ian
  • Is there a Python data science library you think needs a little love? – Emlyn

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

Cython with Craig Citro and Robert Bradshaw - Episode 45

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Summary

Do you find yourself reaching for a different language when you need some extra speed? With Cython you can get the best of both worlds by writing your code in Python and executing it as compiled code. In this episode we were joined by Craig Citro and Robert Bradshaw from the Cython project to discuss how and when you might want to incorporate it into your applications.

Brief Introduction

  • Hello and welcome to Podcast.__init__, the podcast about Python and the people who make it great.
  • Subscribe on iTunes, Stitcher, TuneIn or RSS
  • Follow us on Twitter or Google+
  • Give us feedback! Leave a review on iTunes, Tweet to us, send us an email or leave us a message on Google+
  • Join our community! Visit discourse.pythonpodcast.com for your opportunity to find out about upcoming guests, suggest questions, and propose show ideas.
  • I would like to thank everyone who has donated to the show. Your contributions help us make the show sustainable. For details on how to support the show you can visit our site at pythonpodcast.com
  • Linode is sponsoring us this week. Check them out at linode.com/podcastinit and get a $20 credit to try out their fast and reliable Linux virtual servers for your next project
  • I would also like to thank Hired, a job marketplace for developers, for sponsoring this episode of Podcast.__init__. Use the link hired.com/podcastinit to double your signing bonus.
  • Your hosts as usual are Tobias Macey and Chris Patti
  • Today we are interviewing Craig Citro and Robert Bradshaw

Interview with Craig Citro and Robert Bradshaw

  • Introductions
  • How did you get introduced to Python? – Chris
  • What is Cython and how did the project get started? – Tobias
  • My understanding is that Cython can improve the performance of a Python program without even having to provide any type annotations. How does it manage to do that? – Tobias
  • Can a Cython module be used as a way to sidestep the GIL? What are some of the pitfalls that can be caused by doing so? – Tobias
  • Can you give some examples of how Cython can be used to improve the perfomance of Python programs? – Tobias
  • How does Cython work under the covers? – Tobias
  • What were some of the challenges during the creation of Cython and what design decisions were made to overcome them? – Tobias
  • Does Python’s cross platform nature create any unique challenges when compiling down to the C level? – Chris
  • What processor and system architectures does Cython support and are there plans to expand that support? – Tobias
  • How do generators and list comprehensions map to C, and did those higher level language constructs pose any special challenges in Cython’s design? – Chris
  • Would Rust ever be a potential compile target for performance and safety optimized modules? – Tobias

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

Airflow with Maxime Beauchemin - Episode 44

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Summary

Are you struggling with trying to manage a series of related, interdependent batch jobs? Then you should check out Airflow. In this episode we spoke with the project’s creator Maxime Beauchemin about what inspired him to create it, how it works, and why you might want to use it. Airflow is a data pipeline management tool that will simplify how you build, deploy, and monitor your complex data processing tasks so that you can focus on getting the insights you need from your data.

Brief Introduction

  • Hello and welcome to Podcast.__init__, the podcast about Python and the people who make it great.
  • Subscribe on iTunes, Stitcher, TuneIn or RSS
  • Follow us on Twitter or Google+
  • Give us feedback! Leave a review on iTunes, Tweet to us, send us an email or leave us a message on Google+
  • Join our community! Visit discourse.pythonpodcast.com for your opportunity to find out about upcoming guests, suggest questions, and propose show ideas.
  • I would like to thank everyone who has donated to the show. Your contributions help us make the show sustainable. For details on how to support the show you can visit our site at pythonpodcast.com
  • Linode is sponsoring us this week. Check them out at linode.com/podcastinit and get a $20 credit to try out their fast and reliable Linux virtual servers for your next project
  • I would also like to thank Hired, a job marketplace for developers and designers, for sponsoring this episode of Podcast.__init__. Use the link hired.com/podcastinit to double your signing bonus.
  • Your hosts as usual are Tobias Macey and Chris Patti
  • Today we are interviewing Maxime Beauchemin about his work on the Airflow project.

Interview with Maxime Beauchemin

  • Introductions
  • How did you get introduced to Python? – Chris
  • What is Airflow and what are some of the kinds of problems it can be used to solve? – Chris
  • What are some of the biggest challenges that you have seen when implementing a data pipeline with a workflow engine? – Tobias
  • What are some of the signs that a workflow engine is needed? – Tobias
  • Can you share some of the design and architecture of Airflow and how you arrived at those decisions? – Tobias
  • How does Airflow compare to other workflow management solutions, and why did you choose to write your own? – Chris
  • One of the features of Airflow that is emphasized in the documentation is the ability to dynamically generate pipelines. Can you describe how that works and why it is useful? – Tobias
  • For anyone who wants to get started with using Airflow, what are the infrastructure requirements? – Tobias
  • Airflow, like a number of the other tools in the space, support interoperability with Hadoop and its ecosystem. Can you elaborate on why JVM technologies have become so prevalent in the big data space and how Python fits into that overall problem domain? – Tobias
  • Airflow comes with a web UI for visualizing workflows, as do a few of the other Python workflow engines. Why is that an important feature for this kind of tool and what are some of the tasks and use cases that are supported in the Airflow web portal? – Tobias
  • One problem with data management is tracking the provenance of data as it is manipulated and shuttled between different systems. Does Airflow have any support for maintaining that kind of information and if not do you have recommendations for how practitioners can approach the issue? – Tobias
  • What other kinds of metadata can Airflow track as it executes tasks and what are some of the interesting uses you have seen or created for that information? – Tobias
  • With all the other languages competing for mindshare, what made you choose Python when you built Airflow? – Chris
  • I notice that Airflow supports Kerberos. It’s an incredibly capable security model but that comes at a high price in terms of complexity. What were the challenges and was it worth the additional implementation effort? – Chris
  • When does the data pipeline/workflow management paradigm break down and what other approaches or tools can be used in those cases? – Tobias
  • So, you wrote another tool recently called Panoramix. Can you describe what it is and maybe explain how it fits in the data management domain in relation to Airflow? – Tobias

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

WSGI 2 - Episode 43

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Summary

The Web Server Gateway Interface, or WSGI for short, is a long-standing pillar of the Python ecosystem. It has enabled a vast number of web frameworks to proliferate by not having to worry about how exactly to interact with the HTTP protocol and focus instead on building a library that is robust, extensible, and easy to use. With recent evolutions to how we interact with the web, it appears that WSGI may be in need of an update and that is what our guests on this episode came to discuss. Cory Benfield is leading an effort to determine what if any modifications should be made to the WSGI standard or if it is time to retire it in favor of something new. Andrew Godwin has been hard at work building the Channels framework for Django to allow for interoperability with websockets. They bring their unique perspectives to bear on how and why we may want to consider bringing WSGI into the current state of the web.

Brief Introduction

  • Hello and welcome to Podcast.__init__, the podcast about Python and the people who make it great.
  • Subscribe on iTunes, Stitcher, TuneIn or RSS
  • Follow us on Twitter or Google+
  • Give us feedback! Leave a review on iTunes, Tweet to us, send us an email or leave us a message on Google+
  • Join our community! Visit discourse.pythonpodcast.com for your opportunity to find out about upcoming guests, suggest questions, and propose show ideas.
  • I would like to thank everyone who has donated to the show. Your contributions help us make the show sustainable. For details on how to support the show you can visit our site at pythonpodcast.com
  • Linode is sponsoring us this week. Check them out at linode.com/podcastinit and get a $20 credit to try out their fast and reliable Linux virtual servers for your next project
  • I would also like to thank Hired, a job marketplace for developers, for sponsoring this episode of Podcast.__init__. Use the link hired.com/podcastinit to double your signing bonus.
  • Your hosts as usual are Tobias Macey and Chris Patti
  • Today we are interviewing Cory Benfield and Andrew Godwin about a proposed update to the WSGI specification.

Interview with Cory Benfield and Andrew Godwin

  • Introductions
  • How did you get introduced to Python? – Chris
  • First off, what is WSGI? – Tobias
  • What are some of the ways the current WSGI spec has fallen out of step with the needs of the modern developer? – Chris
  • How did you come to be involved with the new WSGI specification? What brought you into this process? – Chris
  • Do you think the WSGI name itself brings a lot of expectation, or is it good to keep it as a well-recognised Python landmark? – Tobias
  • Would it be better to make a clean break and implement an entirely new set of APIs and style of interaction? – Tobias
  • What kind of compatibility guarantees should be made between the current spec and the proposed upgrade? What would the impact be if the new specification was incompatible? – Tobias
  • How has the response been to your call for comments? What are some of the most frequently raised concerns or suggestions? – Tobias
  • What are some of the proposed changes to the specification? – Tobias
  • Are there any future directions you think WSGI should take that perhaps haven’t been considered yet? – Chris
  • Has your opinion or vision of the proposed update changed as you reviewed responses to the conversation on the mailing list? – Tobias
  • Do you have any ideas of how to design the new specification in order to avoid a similar situation of needing to deprecate the current standards in order to accomodate new web protocols? – Tobias
  • What are some of the points of contention or rigorous debate that have kept previous WSGI 2 attempts from succeeding? – Chris

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

The PEP Talk - Episode 37

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Summary

The Python language is built by and for its community. In order to add a new feature, change the specification, or create a new policy the first step is to submit a proposal for consideration. Those proposals are called PEPs, or Python Enhancement Proposals. In this episode we had the great pleasure of speaking with three of the people who act as stewards for this process to learn more about how it got started, how it works, and what impacts it has had.

Brief Introduction

  • Hello and welcome to Podcast.__init__, the podcast about Python and the people who make it great.
  • Subscribe on iTunes, Stitcher, TuneIn or RSS
  • Follow us on Twitter or Google+
  • Give us feedback! Leave a review on iTunes, Tweet to us, send us an email or leave us a message on Google+
  • I would like to thank everyone who has donated to the show. Your contributions help us make the show sustainable. For details on how to support the show you can visit our site at pythonpodcast.com
  • This episode is sponsored by Zato – Microservices, ESB, SOA, REST, API, and Cloud Integrations in Python. Visitzato.io to learn more about how to integrate smarter in the modern world.
  • I would also like to thank Hired, a job marketplace for developers, for sponsoring this episode of Podcast.__init__. Use the link hired.com/podcastinit to double your signing bonus.
  • Searching for Pythonistas with Disabilities
  • We are recording today on December 7th, 2015 and your hosts as usual are Tobias Macey and Chris Patti
  • Today we are interviewing some of the PEP editors

Interview with PEP editors

  • Introductions
  • How did you get introduced to Python? – Chris
  • For anyone who isn’t familiar with them, can you explain what a PEP is and how they influence the Python language? – Tobias
  • What are the requirements for a PEP to be considered for approval and what does the overall process look like to get it finalized? – Tobias
  • How has the PEP process evolved to meet challenges posed by changes in the Python community? – Chris
  • How many reviewers are there and how did each of you end up in that role? Is there a set number of editors that must be maintained and if so how did you arrive at that number? – Tobias
  • What mistakes have other communities made when creating similar processes, and how has PEP learned from those mistakes? – Chris
  • There are different categories for PEPs. Can you describe what those are and how you arrived at that ontology? – Tobias
  • Is there any significance to the numbering system used for identifying different PEPs? – Tobias
  • How does the PEP process maintain its sense of humor (e.g. PEP 20) while being sure to be taken seriously where it really counts? – Chris
  • Along the lines of humorous PEPs, can you share the story of PEP 401? – Tobias
  • How does the PEP process strive to prevent an undesirable level of control by any one company or other special interest group? – Chris
  • How much control does Guido have over the PEP process? Has a PEP ever directly countered Guido’s wishes? How did it turn out? – Chris
  • What is your favorite PEP and why? – Tobias
  • What, in your opinion, has been the most important or far-reaching PEP, whether it was approved or not? – Tobias
  • What was the strangest / most extreme PEP proposal you’ve ever seen? – Chris

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

Eric Holscher on Documentation and Read The Docs - Episode 36

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Summary

The first place we all go for learning about new libraries is the documentation. Lack of effective documentation can limit the adoption of an otherwise excellent project. In this episode we spoke with Eric Holscher, co-creator of Read The Docs, about why documentation is important and how we can all work to make it better.

Brief Introduction

  • Hello and welcome to Podcast.__init__, the podcast about Python and the people who make it great.
  • Subscribe on iTunes, Stitcher, TuneIn or RSS
  • Follow us on Twitter or Google+
  • Give us feedback! Leave a review on iTunes, Tweet to us, send us an email or leave us a message on Google+
  • I would like to thank everyone who has donated to the show. Your contributions help us make the show sustainable. For details on how to support the show you can visit our site at pythonpodcast.com
  • I would also like to thank Hired, a job marketplace for developers, for sponsoring this episode of Podcast.__init__. Use the link hired.com/podcastinit to double your signing bonus.
  • Linode is sponsoring us this week. Check them out at linode.com/podcastinit and get a $10 credit to try out their fast and reliable Linux virtual servers for your next project
  • We are recording today on November 30th, 2015 and your hosts as usual are Tobias Macey and Chris Patti
  • Today we are interviewing Eric Holscher about Documentation
Linode Sponsor BannerUse the promo code podcastinit10 to get a $10 credit when you sign up!

Hired LogoOn Hired software engineers & designers can get 5+ interview requests in a week and each offer has salary and equity upfront. With full time and contract opportunities available, users can view the offers and accept or reject them before talking to any company. Work with over 2,500 companies from startups to large public companies hailing from 12 major tech hubs in North America and Europe. Hired is totally free for users and If you get a job you’ll get a $2,000 “thank you” bonus. If you use our special link to signup, then that bonus will double to $4,000 when you accept a job. If you’re not looking for a job but know someone who is, you can refer them to Hired and get a $1,337 bonus when they accept a job.

Interview with Eric Holscher

  • Introductions
  • How did you get introduced to Python? – Chris
  • You are one of the people behind the Read The Docs project. What was your inspiration for creating that platform and why is documentation so important in software? – Tobias
  • What makes Read The Docs different from other static sources for documentation? – Chris
  • The Python community seems to have a stronger focus on well-documented projects than some other languages. Do you have any theories as to why that is the case? – Tobias
  • Can you outline the landscape of projects that leverage the documentation capabilities that are built in to the Python language? – Tobias
  • Can you estimate the overall user base for Read The Docs? – Chris
  • Do you have any advice around methods or approaches that can help developers create and maintain effective documentation? – Tobias
  • Can you list some projects that you have found to provide the best documentation and what was remarkable about them? – Tobias
  • Newcomers to open source are often encouraged to submit improvements to a projects documentation as a way to get started and become involved with the community. Do you have any general advice on how to find and understand undocumented features? – Tobias
  • Do you have any statistics on the languages represented among the projects that host their documentation with you? – Tobias
  • What are some of the challenges you’ve faced and overcome in maintaining such a large repository of documentation from so many projects? – Chris
  • How can our listeners contribute to the project? – Chris

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

Maneesha Sane on Software and Data Carpentry - Episode 33

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Summary

The Software and Data Carpentry organizations have a mission of making it easier for scientists and data analysts in academia to replicate and review each others work. In order to achieve this goal they conduct training and workshops that teach modern best practices in software and data engineering, including version control and proper data management. In this episode we had the opportunity to speak with Maneesha Sane, the program coordinator for both organizations, so that we could learn more about how these projects are related and how they approach their mission.

Brief Introduction

  • Hello and welcome to Podcast.__init__, the podcast about Python and the people who make it great.
  • Subscribe on iTunes, Stitcher, TuneIn or RSS
  • Follow us on Twitter or Google+
  • Give us feedback! Leave a review on iTunes, Tweet to us, send us an email or leave us a message on Google+
  • I would like to thank everyone who has donated to the show. Your contributions help us make the show sustainable. For details on how to support the show you can visit our site at pythonpodcast.com
  • This episode is sponsored by Zato – Microservices, ESB, SOA, REST, API, and Cloud Integrations in Python. Visit zato.io to learn more about how to integrate smarter in the modern world.
  • I would also like to thank Hired, a job marketplace for developers, for sponsoring this episode of Podcast.__init__. Use the link hired.com/podcastinit to double your signing bonus.
  • Linode is sponsoring us this week. Check them out at linode.com/podcastinit and get a $10 credit to try out their fast and reliable Linux virtual servers for your next project
  • We are recording today on November 10th, 2015 and your hosts as usual are Tobias Macey and Chris Patti
  • Today we are interviewing Maneesha Sane about Software Carpentry and Data Carpentry

Interview with Maneesha Sane

  • Introductions
  • How did you get introduced to Python?
  • Can you explain what the Software and Data Carpentry organizations are and what their respective goals are?
  • What is the history of these organizations and how are they related?
  • What does a typical Software Carpentry or Data Carpentry workshop look like?
  • What is the background of your instructors?
  • Can you explain why Python was chosen as the language for your workshops and why it is such a good language to use for teaching proper software engineering practices to scientists?
  • In what ways do the lessons taught by both groups differ and what parts are common between the two organizations?
  • What are some of the most important tools and lessons that you teach to scientists in academia?
  • Do you tend to focus mostly on procedural development or do you also teach object oriented programming in Software Carpentry?
  • What is the target audience for Data Carpentry and what are some of the most important lessons and tools taught to them?
  • Do you teach any particular method of pre-coding design like flowcharting, pseudocode, or top down decomposition in software carpentry?
  • What scientific domains are most commonly represented among your workshop participants for Software Carpentry?
  • What are some specific things the Python community and the Python core team could do to make it easier to adopt for your students?
  • What are the most common concepts students have trouble with in software & data carpentry?
  • How can our audience help support the goals of these organizations?

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

Bryan Van de Ven on Bokeh - Episode 22

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Summary

Bryan Van de Ven is the project maintainer for Bokeh, a plotting and visualization toolkit that allows Python developers to easily create attractive interactive visualizations for the web. We talked about the project’s history, some interesting use cases for it, and what its near future looks like. Bryan also told us about how Bokeh compares to some of the other visualization libraries in both Python and Javascript, as well as how to use Bokeh from other languages such as Scala and Lua.

Brief Introduction

  • Hello and welcome to Podcast.__init__, the podcast about Python and the people who make it great.
  • Subscribe on iTunes, Stitcher, TuneIn or RSS
  • Follow us on Twitter or Google+
  • Give us feedback! Leave a review on iTunes, Tweet to us, send us an email or leave us a message on Google+
  • I would like to thank everyone who has donated to the show. Your contributions help us make the show sustainable. For details on how to support the show you can visit our site at
  • There is a new Python podcast that just started up recently! It’s called the Python Test Podcast and covers the world of testing in Python, so go ahead and give it a listen. You can find it at
  • We are recording today on Aug 18th, 2015 and your hosts as usual are Tobias Macey and Chris Patti
  • Today we are interviewing Bryan Van de Ven about the Bokeh project

Interview with Bryan Van de Ven

  • Introductions
  • How did you get introduced to Python?
  • For our listeners who aren’t familiar with what Bokeh is, can you describe it?
  • What inspired you to create Bokeh?
  • Bokeh has integrations with some of the other Python graphing libraries such as matplotlib and seaborn. I can see how this would be useful to easily update existing code to publish visualizations on the web. Are there other use cases for these integrations?
  • I noticed that Bokeh has bindings for some languages other than Python. R and Julia are obvious candidates due to their strong focus on analytics work, I’m curious what made you choose Scala and Lua as languages worth targeting?
  • Do you lose any capabilities using the javascript library by itself?
  • Other than the sample data sets that come with Bokeh, can you suggest a good publicly available data set with accompanying tutorial for people who want to get started with data visualization using Bokeh?
  • Can you provide some comparisons between D3.js and the Bokeh javascript library in terms of capabilities and performance?
  • The Bokeh project has a server component that allows for streaming data to clients. Can you describe the architecture of that and some example uses for it?
  • Why was the server written as a Flask blueprint as opposed to making it a component of another framework such as Django or Pyramid and how difficult would it be to port the functionality to another system?
  • What’s the most interesting use of Bokeh you’ve seen?
  • Are you aware of any projects in other languages that are comparable to Bokeh?

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Jessica McKellar - Episode 21

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Summary

We got the chance to talk to Jessica McKellar about her work in the Python community. She told us about her experience as a director for the PSF, working as the diversity outreach manager for PyCon, and being a champion for improving the on-boarding experience for new users of Python. We also discussed perceptions around the performance of Python and some of the work being done to improve concurrency, as well as her work with OpenHatch.

Brief Introduction

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  • We are recording today on Aug, 12 2015 and your hosts as usual are Tobias Macey and Chris Patti
  • Today we are interviewing Jessica McKellar

Interview with Jessica McKellar

  • Introductions
  • How did you get introduced to Python?
    • Attended MIT, originally for Chemistry
    • Had friends pursuing CS degrees
    • Toolset and skills seemed worth investingating
    • Led to BA and MS
    • MIT was in transition from LISP to Python
  • Can you describe what your responsibilities are as a director of the PSF?
    • A lot of outreach and investment in the community
  • Do you think the PSF does a good job of making people aware of what it is, what it does for the community, and how they can help?
    • Struggled with this historically but has gotten better in recent years
    • Website re-design has helped
  • A large focus of your work in the community has been around improving the experience of users who are new to Python and programming in general and I noticed that you just received the Frank Willison Memorial Award for your contributions to outreach and education in the Python community. What is your motivation behind this particular focus?
    • Great deal of empathy for newcomers due to personal history
    • Knowing how to program changes how you think about the world
  • Has the situation for newcomers running Windows who wish to try Python gotten any better since your keynote at Kiwi PyCon?
    • Some vaguaries of setup have gotten better with recent versions (e.g. setting path variables)
    • Ruby has in-browser tutorial to get people hooked
  • Do “Batteries Included’ distributions like Anaconda help or is it the same problem of visibility you discussed in your talk?
    • Informatino flow / what are you default options question
    • We could be much more opinionated about this
  • You have presented a number of times about the future of Python and how we can all help to make sure that story is a happy one. How has the material for that talk changed over the past few years?
    • As a largely volunteer community, how to maximize the impact of the bandwidth that we have
    • Focus on the ‘top of the funnel’ to win over new users
    • Python has the steepest positive curve of any language
    • Community should invest in AP high school Python curriculum
  • What do you anticipate will be the talking points for this topic over the next few years?
    • We need to be smart about which areas we invest in to ensure success e.g. mobile, web, desktop.
  • If you could grade the Python community on how well they have listened to and acted on the calls to action in your talks over the past few years, what would you give them?
    • Rallying large groups of volunteers is a hard problem
    • We need to think about commercial partnerships in key areas
  • In your Kiwi PyCon talk you mentioned Kivy as an example of a great way to do mobile software development in Python. It feels to me like the Kivy team are still not getting the community involvement and buy in they should. How can we help make Kivy the mobile app development platform of choice for beginners?
    • This will be a tough battle because Python is not the default platform for mobile compared to Java for Android, Objective C, Swift
    • Users vote with their feet depending on what provides the most value to them
    • Opportunity for a virtuous cycle here
  • Game development as an entree to programming has been a recurring theme on our podcast. Has the Python game dev scene improved at all since 2013? And do you still see the same pitfalls holding people back (like app packaging), or have we moved on to different problems?
    • The problems are largely the same
    • Status quo still feels pretty broken
    • Creative experiments around this definitely make sense for the community
    • KivEnt could be a win here because Kivy apps are free standing binaries and require no dependencies.
  • What do you view as the biggest threats to the popularity of Python currently and what can we do to address them?
    • Other languages gaining popularity where Python has historically been strong (e.g. server-side development)
    • A lot of this may be a perception issue
    • May be largely a marketing problem
  • I understand that you were involved in the formation of the Open Hatch organization. Can you describe what Open Hatch does and how our listeners can get involved?
    • Non-profit dedicated to lowering barriers to entry for open source contribution
    • Host workshops in colleges, underserved communities, etc.

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