December 30, 2009

New Year’s Python Meme

What’s the coolest Python application, framework or library you have discovered in 2009?

Multiprocessing, which was included in the standard library starting with Python 2.6. It is uses the same API as the threading module, but spawns separate OS processes, rather than threads. You can use it as a basis to build some very powerful concurrent programs that fully utilize multi-core systems.

What new programming technique did you learn in 2009?

Better concurrency with threads and processes. Up until a few years ago, I mostly dealt with uniprocessor systems. 1 processor, 1 core, concurrency was simple since you didn't have to think about it beyond using threads for non-blocking IO. Now everything is multi-way and multi-core and you have to think about true concurrency. Python gives you some primitives to deal with that, and I have been poking around and trying to learn what I can so I can build concurrent and scalable systems.

I also started dabbling in GUI programming with the new ttk (Tk Themed Widgets) in Python 2.7/3.1.

What’s the name of the open source project you contributed the most in 2009? What did you do?

Pylot is a performance/load testing tool for http and web services. I am the author and maintainer.

I have also been releasing snippets of open source code at my new Google code repository and on my web site.

What was the Python blog or website you read the most in 2009?

Planet Python gets you most everything in the Python world. But if I had to pick, I'd say my favorite Python blogs are from Jesse Noller and Michael Foord (Voidspace). Both of them write about topics that I am very interested in. (They are both Python Core maintainers).

I also like the regular geek sites: Reddit Programming, Slashdot, Digg. Then there is a big crew of Python developers on Twitter that are fun to follow (follow me: @cgoldberg).

I also really got into StackOverflow this year. It is a really useful question/answer site. The wealth of Python information on there is staggering. I mean, where else can you ask a Python question and have people like Alex Martelli answering it 5 mins later? ... with others fighting to provide even better answers. It's great!

What are the three top things you want to learn in 2010?

- Selenium/WebDriver 2.0 - the new WebDriver browser driver and API. The Selenium guys have been doing a lot of great work and this is becoming the industry standard tool for UI testing of browser based apps. 2.0 is a big change from 1.x and is the merger of 2 projects: Selenium and WebDriver.

- Python 3.1 - I have already been writing some code in Py3k, and to be honest it's barely any different than 2.x. It feels right at home, with some minor syntactical changes and reorganization of some standard library modules.

- Better copy writing - I produce lots of code in the form of snippets or larger projects. Most of these often get lost because I don't have the words to go along with them. If I was a better writer and could express myself better, I would be able to post more often and get my ideas out there.

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