DiscoverThe Python Podcast.__init__
The Python Podcast.__init__

The Python Podcast.__init__

Author: Tobias Macey

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The weekly podcast about the Python programming language, its ecosystem, and its community. Tune in for engaging, educational, and technical discussions about the broad range of industries, individuals, and applications that rely on Python.
315 Episodes
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Being able to present your ideas is one of the most valuable and powerful skills to have as a professional, regardless of your industry. For software engineers it is especially important to be able to communicate clearly and effectively because of the detail-oriented nature of the work. Unfortunately, many people who work in software are more comfortable in front of the keyboard than a crowd. In this episode Neil Thompson shares his story of being an accidental public speaker and how he is helping other engineers start down the road of being effective presenters. He discusses the benefits for your career, how to build the skills, and how to find opportunities to practice them. Even if you never want to speak at a conference, it's still worth your while to listen to Neil's advice and find ways to level up your presentation and speaking skills.
One of the great promises of computers is that they will make our work faster and easier, so why do we all spend so much time manually copying data from websites, or entering information into web forms, or any of the other tedious tasks that take up our time? As developers our first inclination is to "just write a script" to automate things, but how do you share that with your non-technical co-workers? In this episode Antti Karjalainen, CEO and co-founder of Robocorp, explains how Robotic Process Automation (RPA) can help us all cut down on time-wasting tasks and let the computers do what they're supposed to. He shares how he got involved in the RPA industry, his work with Robot Framework and RPA framework, how to build and distribute bots, and how to decide if a task is worth automating. If you're sick of spending your time on mind-numbing copy and paste then give this episode a listen and then let the robots do the work for you.
When you are writing code it is all to easy to introduce subtle bugs or leave behind unused code. Unused variables, unused imports, overly complex logic, etc. If you are careful and diligent you can find these problems yourself, but isn't that what computers are supposed to help you with? Thankfully Python has a wealth of tools that will work with you to keep your code clean and maintainable. In this episode Anthony Sottile explores Flake8, one of the most popular options for identifying those problematic lines of code. He shares how he became involved in the project and took over as maintainer and explains the different categories of code quality tooling and how Flake8 compares to other static analyzers. He also discusses the ecosystem of plugins that have grown up around it, including some detailed examples of how you can write your own (and why you might want to).
Writing code that is easy to read and understand will have a lasting impact on you and your teammates over the life of a project. Sometimes it can be difficult to identify opportunities for simplifying a block of code, especially if you are early in your journey as a developer. If you work with senior engineers they can help by pointing out ways to refactor your code to be more readable, but they aren't always available. Brendan Maginnis and Nick Thapen created Sourcery to act as a full time pair programmer sitting in your editor of choice, offering suggestions and automatically refactoring your Python code. In this episode they share their journey of building a tool to automatically find opportunities for refactoring in your code, including how it works under the hood, the types of refactoring that it supports currently, and how you can start using it in your own work today. It always pays to keep your tool box organized and your tools sharp and Sourcery is definitely worth adding to your repertoire.
Becoming data driven is the stated goal of a large and growing number of organizations. In order to achieve that mission they need a reliable and scalable method of accessing and analyzing the data that they have. While business intelligence solutions have been around for ages, they don't all work well with the systems that we rely on today and a majority of them are not open source. Superset is a Python powered platform for exploring your data and building rich interactive dashboards that gets the information that your organization needs in front of the people that need it. In this episode Maxime Beauchemin, the creator of Superset, shares how the project got started and why it has become such a widely used and popular option for exploring and sharing data at companies of all sizes. He also explains how it functions, how you can customize it to fit your specific needs, and how to get it up and running in your own environment.
Python is a language that is used in almost every imaginable context and by people from an amazing range of backgrounds. A lot of the people who use it wouldn't even call themselves programmers, because that is not the primary focus of their job. In this episode Chris Moffitt shares his experience writing Python as a business user. In order to share his insights and help others who have run up against the limits of Excel he maintains the site Practical Business Python where he publishes articles that help introduce newcomers to Python and explain how to perform tasks such as building reports, automating Excel files, and doing data analysis. This is a great conversation that illustrates how useful it is to learn Python even if you never intend to write software professionally.
There are a large and growing number of businesses built by and for data science and machine learning teams that rely on Python. Tony Liu is a venture investor who is following that market closely and betting on its continued success. In this episode he shares his own journey into the role of an investor and discusses what he is most excited about in the industry. He also explains what he looks at when investing in a business and gives advice on what potential founders and early employees of startups should be thinking about when starting on that journey.
Jupyter notebooks are a dominant tool for data scientists, but they lack a number of conveniences for building reusable and maintainable systems. For machine learning projects in particular there is a need for being able to pivot from exploring a particular dataset or problem to integrating that solution into a larger workflow. Rick Lamers and Yannick Perrenet were tired of struggling with one-off solutions when they created the Orchest platform. In this episode they explain how Orchest allows you to turn your notebooks into executable components that are integrated into a graph of execution for running end-to-end machine learning workflows.
When you are writing a script it can become unwieldy to understand how the logic and data are flowing through the program. To make this easier to follow you can use a flow-based approach to building your programs. Leonn Thomm created the Ryven project as an environment for visually constructing a flow-based program. In this episode he shares his inspiration for creating the Ryven project, how it changes the way you think about program design, how Ryven is implemented, and how to get started with it for your own programs.
One of the perennial challenges in software engineering is to reduce the opportunity for bugs to creep into the system. Some of the tools in our arsenal that help in this endeavor include rich type systems, static analysis, writing tests, well defined interfaces, and linting. Phillip Schanely created the CrossHair project in order to add another ally in the fight against broken code. It sits somewhere between type systems, automated test generation, and static analysis. In this episode he explains his motivation for creating it, how he uses it for his own projects, and how to start incorporating it into yours. He also discusses the utility of writing contracts for your functions, and the differences between property based testing and SMT solvers. This is an interesting and informative conversation about some of the more nuanced aspects of how to write well-behaved programs.
Collaborating on software projects is largely a solved problem, with a variety of hosted or self-managed platforms to choose from. For data science projects, collaboration is still an open question. There are a number of projects that aim to bring collaboration to data science, but they are all solving a different aspect of the problem. Dean Pleban and Guy Smoilovsky created DagsHub to give individuals and teams a place to store and version their code, data, and models. In this episode they explain how DagsHub is designed to make it easier to create and track machine learning experiments, and serve as a way to promote collaboration on open source data science projects.
Creating well designed software is largely a problem of context and understanding. The majority of programming environments rely on documentation, tests, and code being logically separated despite being contextually linked. In order to weave all of these concerns together there have been many efforts to create a literate programming environment. In this episode Jeremy Howard of fast.ai fame and Hamel Husain of GitHub share the work they have done on nbdev. The explain how it allows you to weave together documentation, code, and tests in the same context so that it is more natural to explore and build understanding when working on a project. It is built on top of the Jupyter environment, allowing you to take advantage of the other great elements of that ecosystem, and it provides a number of excellent out of the box features to reduce the friction in adopting good project hygiene, including continuous integration and well designed documentation sites. Regardless of whether you have been programming for 5 days, 5 years, or 5 decades you should take a look at nbdev to experience a different way of looking at your code.
Working with network protocols is a common need for software projects, particularly in the current age of the internet. As a result, there are a multitude of libraries that provide interfaces to the various protocols. The problem is that implementing a network protocol properly and handling all of the edge cases is hard, and most of the available libraries are bound to a particular I/O paradigm which prevents them from being widely reused. To address this shortcoming there has been a movement towards "sans I/O" implementations that provide the business logic for a given protocol while remaining agnostic to whether you are using async I/O, Twisted, threads, etc. In this episode Aymeric Augustin shares his experience of refactoring his popular websockets library to be I/O agnostic, including the challenges involved in how to design the interfaces, the benefits it provides in simplifying the tests, and the work needed to add back support for async I/O and other runtimes. This is a great conversation about what is involved in making an ideal a reality.
One of the common complaints about Python is that it is slow. There are languages and runtimes that can execute code faster, but they are not as easy to be productive with, so many people are willing to make that tradeoff. There are some use cases, however, that truly need the benefit of faster execution. To address this problem Kevin Modzelewski helped to create the Pyston intepreter that is focused on speeding up unmodified Python code. In this episode he shares the history of the project, discusses his current efforts to optimize a fork of the CPython interpreter, and his goals for building a business to support the ongoing work to make Python faster for everyone. This is an interesting look at the opportunities that exist in the Python ecosystem and the work being done to address some of them.
Every software project has a certain amount of boilerplate to handle things like linting rules, test configuration, and packaging. Rather than recreate everything manually every time you start a new project you can use a utility to generate all of the necessary scaffolding from a template. This allows you to extract best practices and team standards into a reusable project that will save you time. The Copier project is one such utility that goes above and beyond the bare minimum by supporting project _evolution_, letting you bring in the changes to the source template after you already have a project that you have dedicated significant work on. In this episode Jairo Llopis explains how the Copier project works under the hood and the advanced capabilities that it provides, including managing the full lifecycle of a project, composing together multiple project templates, and how you can start using it for your own work today.
On its surface Python is a simple language which is what has contributed to its rise in popularity. As you move to intermediate and advanced usage you will find a number of interesting and elegant design elements that will let you build scalable and maintainable systems and design friendly interfaces. Luciano Ramalho is best known as the author of Fluent Python which has quickly become a leading resource for Python developers to increase their facility with the language. In this episode he shares his journey with Python and his perspective on how the recent changes to the interpreter and ecosystem are influencing who is adopting it and how it is being used. Luciano has an interesting perspective on how the feedback loop between the community and the language is driving the curent and future priorities of the features that are added.
Building a web application requires integrating a number of separate concerns into a single experience. One of the common requirements is a content management system to allow product owners and marketers to make the changes needed for them to do their jobs. Rather than spend the time and focus of your developers to build the end to end system a growing trend is to use a headless CMS. In this episode Jake Lumetta shares why he decided to spend his time and energy on building a headless CMS as a service, when and why you might want to use one, and how to integrate it into your applications so that you can focus on the rest of your application.
Notebooks have been a useful tool for analytics, exploratory programming, and shareable data science for years, and their popularity is continuing to grow. Despite their widespread use, there are still a number of challenges that inhibit collaboration and use by non-technical stakeholders. Barry McCardel and his team at Hex have built a platform to make collaboration on Jupyter notebooks a first class experience, as well as allowing notebooks to be parameterized and exposing the logic through interactive web applications. In this episode Barry shares his perspective on the state of the notebook ecosystem, why it is such as powerful tool for computing and analytics, and how he has built a successful business around improving the end to end experience of working with notebooks. This was a great conversation about an important piece of the toolkit for every analyst and data scientist.
When working with data it's important to understand when it is correct. If there is a time dimension, then it can be difficult to know when variation is normal. Anomaly detection is a useful tool to address these challenges, but a difficult one to do well. In this episode Smit Shah and Sayan Chakraborty share the work they have done on Luminaire to make anomaly detection easier to work with. They explain the complexities inherent to working with time series data, the strategies that they have incorporated into Luminaire, and how they are using it in their data pipelines to identify errors early. If you are working with any kind of time series then it's worth giving Luminaure a look.
Technologies for building data pipelines have been around for decades, with many mature options for a variety of workloads. However, most of those tools are focused on processing of text based data, both structured and unstructured. For projects that need to manage large numbers of binary and audio files the list of options is much shorter. In this episode Lynn Root shares the work that she and her team at Spotify have done on the Klio project to make that list a bit longer. She discusses the problems that are specific to working with binary data, how the Klio project is architected to allow for scalable and efficient processing of massive numbers of audio files, why it was released as open source, and how you can start using it today for your own projects. If you are struggling with ad-hoc infrastructure and a medley of tools that have been cobbled together for analyzing large or numerous binary assets then this is definitely a tool worth testing out.
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Comments (3)

Antonio Andrade

terrible audio this time

Jan 14th
Reply

Nihan Dip

this Masonite dude is so full of himself 😂

Sep 21st
Reply

Antonio Andrade

Tobias, are you a robot? nice postcast

May 27th
Reply
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