Wednesday, January 28, 2015

The PSF Brochure

Sometime back in 2011, the PSF realized that Python, although at the time a mature and widely-used language, was still unknown to many decision-makers outside of the tech world. To remedy this obstacle to Python's growth (and grave injustice), the brochure project was born.
For over two years, the brochure team, headed by PSF Director, Marc-Andre Lemburg, sought success stories and sponsors, in order to demonstrate to “CIOs and chief developers, scientists and programmers, university lecturers, teachers and students, customers, clients, managers and employees”  that Python could be the programming solution they were looking for. The brochure team also worked hard to ensure there would be no cost to the PSF membership by securing sponsors' ads to fund all printing and distribution.
Making its debut in April at PyCon 2014 in Montreal (issued in two releases of 5,000 copies each, with the first release running out almost immediately), the brochure was titled “python: a programming language changes the world.” The brochure makes clear in 32 pages of vivid detail why Python has become a leading programming language in business and industry, finance, science and research, media, education, the public sector, government, and charity worldwide. 
Python's leanness (for example, "a task that requires an average of twenty lines of code in C and seven in Java can often be done with just one line in Python”), agility and flexibility, ease of teaching and learning, capacity for system integration, along with the extremely large number of libraries available, were cited in the brochure over and over again as reasons for its use. According to Chuck Groom – Head of Engineering at the Seattle SurveyMonkey office, “The transition to Python from NET has been a great success. Our Python applications handle heavy traffic without problems. Developers have found it possible to add new features much more quickly than before. New employees get up to speed in a manner of days, and recruiting has become easier.” And other web-service providers featured in the brochure, including Google and You Tube, are just as effusive in their praise. 
Examples from science and industry also abound. ArcGIS (geographic information systems), who created the ArcPy module for data analysis conversion and management, identifies an additional benefit in describing the Python community as “an extended workbench of a company's own IT department.”  More scientific uses are described in the brochure by OpenQuakeOpenERP, and Intellovations (maker of ForecastWatch). 
Making "heavy use of Python," scientists at the European Space Agency (ESA) are able to develop software that will, in the future, be put to use on Mars to search for signs of life. And at CERN, physicists, in only 6 months, were able to replace the C++ analysis framework used for choosing experiment parameters with Python. The result, “This new system has been in use for a few years now, and many problems that could not be solved using the previous system are now literally one-liners.”
Today's film industry is also shown to be committed to Python. Companies such as Industial Light and Magic and Side Effects use Python for their animation software and to manage production processes. Accoring to Tommy Burnette, head of Global Pipeline, Lucasfilm, "Python plays a key role in our production pipeline. Without it a project the size of The Avengers would have been very difficult to pull off. From crowd rendering to batch processing to compositing, Python binds all things together."  And Blender , “a free open-source 3D content creation suite," uses Python as its primary language.
Not to be overlooked, the financial services industry is also featured as greatly reliant on Python. Examples in the brochure include Swisscom IT Services and Landesbank Baden-Wurttemberg. And companies such as, which provides Python-based software to the nation of Ghana for the collection of VAT revenue, point up Python's importance in contributing to developing economies.
The brochure also features several educational uses of Python that serve to empower disadvantaged learners, like One Laptop per Child (OLPC), which has provided laptop computers to over 2.5 million children and teachers in 42 countries, and the PHOENIX project (Physics with Homemade Equipment and Innovative Experiments) started in 2004 by the Inter University Accelerator Centre (IUAC) in India.
The above are just a few of the abundant and impressive stories highlighted in the PSF brochure. Visit the website or download a copy for more info about how Python is indeed "changing the world." And If you or someone you know would benefit from this type of exposure or if you have a success story you'd like to share, please let us know.