Tuesday, March 13, 2012

PyCon retrospect

Ok, so, this was the first time I've been on PyCon and I must say it was pretty nice.

Initially, it started out kind of lousy for me: United seems to have 'misplaced' my bag and I only got it back in time to check it back to Brazil, so, that sucked. On the other hand, to balance things, I won a Kindle DX in raffle from http://www.truecar.com :)

Mainly, it was awesome talking to so many great names of the Python world... Meeting people face to face does make a great difference (some things are simply not as well expressed in an e-mail).

On the PyDev side, it was pretty nice seeing many people using it while hacking away during the conference and even having some people asking 'how can I help to make PyDev better?'.

I guess I wasn't properly prepared and mostly, my answer was: read the devs guide to grab the code/compile, find an itch to scratch and mail me about it so that I can help you find yourself there... Some things can be done in Java, some in Jython, depends a lot on what you want to do.

Aside from that, documentation-wise, I guess the major issue would be having some section explaining how to configure each major library on how to work with PyDev (most work out of the box, but some need minor adjustments such as adding a token to the forced builtins and some may even require more than that), so, if someone is willing to help working on the PyDev documentation in that topic, that would be a great help (and I guess that if someone doesn't have an itch to scratch and still wants to contribute in code, there are things I can point to that need to be done and are relatively simple to get started).

On the scientific computing side, I liked Numba (https://github.com/ContinuumIO/numba), which seems to be a pretty nice idea... it's still in its early stages, but I think it could be a nice substitute for Psyco (but with knowledge about numpy types and maybe a bit more strict -- if I did understand it properly)... I'd much rather use something as Numba for speedups than Cython (as the Cython code is only 'close' to Python, but doesn't really run on a Python interpreter) and Pypy is just not an option right now...

Although Pypy seemed strong in the conference, I must say that it'll probably be a long, long time until I'll be able to use it in production... I really use lots of code in C/C++ bindings, so, this is a killer CPython feature which I'm not sure Pypy will ever be able to provide (and the 'current' workaround of porting a library to RPython as is being done in Pypy/Numpy doesn't seem to be really feasible).

One thing I thought was a bit strange was the lack of projects with Python in mobile platforms, as I was guessing it should be straightforward to compile Python to Android/iPhone (so, I'm guessing the issue is probably the lack of proper multi-platform bindings on that area). In contrast, Python seems very strong on the server-side and scientific computing fields.

And I think Python 3 does deserve a special note here: I think Guido left it pretty clear (as much of his keynote talked about the subject) that Python 2 is really deprecated, so, although it's currently the production version that's most widely deployed/used, people have to really start getting used to the idea that a port to Python 3 is the way to go -- although in the real world, I still do expect this to take quite a few years (probably more than was initially expected by the Python-core folks). The fact that Guido made this topic such a big portion of his keynote, does make me feel like many of the Python lovers were against this move and the actual response from the community on this respect has been mixed, but regardless of that, the direction that Python-core is going is 100% on Python 3 (maybe doing something here or there to help in easing the port or having a shared Python 2-3 codebase).

And, there are still have some talks I'll see later at: http://pyvideo.org (because many interesting talks took place at the same time).

Tuesday, March 06, 2012


Tomorrow I'll be traveling to PyCon and I'll be staying during the 3 days of the main conference (Friday to Sunday).

So, anyone who wants to talk about PyDev, scientific programming, how to best structure a Python development environment -- or just wants to say hi, I'll be there this time :)

Just to note, currently the major projects I'm working on are:

PyDev (http://pydev.org), which I guess is pretty well known (especially if you're reading this blog), and I've been developing it for 9 years already :)

and Kraken (https://www.esss.com.br/kraken/), which is a software to do post-processing of reservoir simulations (this may be less known, but actually, I started working on PyDev to scratch my own itches while doing scientific programming in Python, and so far, Kraken is the most advanced/complex software I've worked on this area and I've been involved with its development since its beginning, around 5 years ago).

See you in Santa Clara :)