As we build software projects, complexity and technical debt are bound to creep into our code. To counteract these tendencies it is necessary to calculate and track metrics that highlight areas of improvement so that they can be acted on. To aid in identifying areas of your application that are breeding grounds for incidental complexity Anthony Shaw created Wily. In this episode he explains how Wily traverses the history of your repository and computes code complexity metrics over time and how you can use that information to guide your refactoring efforts.
Digital books are convenient and useful ways to have easy access to large volumes of information. Unfortunately, keeping track of them all can be difficult as you gain more books from different sources. Keeping your reading device synchronized with the material that you want to read is also challenging. In this episode Kovid Goyal explains how he created the Calibre digital library manager to solve these problems for himself, how it grew to be the most popular application for organizing ebooks, and how it works under the covers. Calibre is an incredibly useful piece of software with a lot of hidden complexity and a great story behind it.
Investigative reporters have a challenging task of identifying complex networks of people, places, and events gleaned from a mixed collection of sources. Turning those various documents, electronic records, and research into a searchable and actionable collection of facts is an interesting and difficult technical challenge. Friedrich Lindenberg created the Aleph project to address this issue and in this episode he explains how it works, why he built it, and how it is being used. He also discusses his hopes for the future of the project and other ways that the system could be used.
As data science becomes more widespread and has a bigger impact on the lives of people, it is important that those projects and products are built with a conscious consideration of ethics. Keeping ethical principles in mind throughout the lifecycle of a data project helps to reduce the overall effort of preventing negative outcomes from the use of the final product. Emily Miller and Peter Bull of Driven Data have created Deon to improve the communication and conversation around ethics among and between data teams. It is a Python project that generates a checklist of common concerns for data oriented projects at the various stages of the lifecycle where they should be considered. In this episode they discuss their motivation for creating the project, the challenges and benefits of maintaining such a checklist, and how you can start using it today.
Maintaining the health and well-being of your software is a never-ending responsibility. Automating away as much of it as possible makes that challenge more achievable. In this episode Anthony Sottile describes his work on the pre-commit framework to simplify the process of writing and distributing functions to make sure that you only commit code that meets your definition of clean. He explains how it supports tools and repositories written in multiple languages, enforces team standards, and how you can start using it today to ship better software.
How secure are your servers? The best way to be sure that your systems aren’t being compromised is to do it yourself. In this episode Daniel Goldberg explains how you can use his project Infection Monkey to run a scan of your infrastructure to find and fix the vulnerabilities that can be taken advantage of. He also discusses his reasons for building it in Python, how it compares to other security scanners, and how you can get involved to keep making it better.
The need to process unbounded and continually streaming sources of data has become increasingly common. One of the popular platforms for implementing this is Kafka along with its streams API. Unfortunately, this requires all of your processing or microservice logic to be implemented in Java, so what’s a poor Python developer to do? If that developer is Ask Solem of Celery fame then the answer is, help to re-implement the streams API in Python. In this episode Ask describes how Faust got started, how it works under the covers, and how you can start using it today to process your fast moving data in easy to understand Python code. He also discusses ways in which Faust might be able to replace your Celery workers, and all of the pieces that you can replace with your own plugins.
Continuous integration systems are important for ensuring that you don’t release broken software. Some projects can benefit from simple, standardized platforms, but as you grow or factor in additional projects the complexity of checking your deployments grows. Zuul is a deployment automation and gating system that was built to power the complexities of OpenStack so it will grow and scale with you. In this episode Monty Taylor explains how he helped start Zuul, how it is designed for scale, and how you can start using it for your continuous delivery systems. He also discusses how Zuul has evolved and the directions it will take in the future.
Twisted is one of the earliest frameworks for developing asynchronous applications in Python and it has yet to fulfill its original purpose. It can be used to build network servers that integrate a multitude of protocols, increase the performance of your I/O bound applications, serve as the full web stack for your WSGI projects, and anything else that needs a battle tested and performant foundation. In this episode long time maintainer Moshe Zadka discusses the history of Twisted, how it has evolved over the years, the transition to Python 3, some of its myriad use cases, and where it is headed in the future. Try it out today and then send some thanks to all of the people who have dedicated their time to building it.
The future is here, it’s just not evenly distributed. One of the places where this is especially true is in sub-Saharan Africa which is a vast region with little to no reliable internet connectivity. To help communities in this region leapfrog infrastructure challenges and gain access to opportunities for education and market information the Ascoderu non-profit has built Lokole. In this episode one of the lead engineers on the project, Clemens Wolff, explains what it is, how it is built, and how the venerable e-mail protocols can continue to provide access cheaply and reliably.