Thursday, July 05, 2018

Ophidia in Urbe - PyLondinium Arrives

Latin scholars will tell you that “Ophidia in Urbe,” the tag line for PyLondinium (London, June 8-10), is Latin for “Snakes in the City”.

The snakes, of course, are Pythonic and “the city” is the City, the banking district of London, specifically Bloomberg’s new European headquarters, just across the way from the Bank of England. It’s a beautiful building and it contains the carefully excavated and reconstructed remains of a 3rd century Roman temple to Mithras. Ergo (as those Romans would say) the need for a Latin tagline.

But what’s really distinctive about PyLondinium is the whole idea behind it. PyLondinium was intended to be a small conference that 1) offered great talks, 2) had a very affordable ticket price, and 3) raised a reasonable amount of money for the benefit of the PSF and its programs around the world. And all of this in London, one of the more expensive cities in the world. 

With the London and UK Python community at hand, getting great talks was the easy part. Keeping prices low and still raising money for the cause was a harder problem.

Founder and chair of the conference, Mario Corchero, had an answer to that problem. One of several Bloomberg employees also involved in the Python community, Mario was also the chair of last year’s PyCon España (and co-chair of the PyCon Charlas track), and several other Spanish employees of Bloomberg London had been on the PyConES organizing team. The inspiration of Mario and his team was to combine their own organizing experience with Bloomberg’s sponsorship, which provided the venue and the food. 

The result was a strong first time conference - selling 270 tickets, with 2 days of talks preceded by a day with a dateutils sprint, a PyLadies tutorial, and a Trans*Code hackday, in the heart of London, all for a standard ticket price of only £35. Even better, to support diversity anyone attending the PyLadies or Trans*Code events (both free) also got a free ticket to the main conference if they wanted. Feedback from attendees was overwhelmingly positive, and PyLondinium looks poised to build on that success in the future. 

And what about raising money for the PSF? Yes, PyLondinium did a great job with that as well, sending $14,000 to the PSF to support Pythonic communities and activities around the world. 

Thank you from the PSF, and well done, you!

Friday, June 29, 2018

Python Software Foundation Fellow Members for Q2 2018

We are happy to announce our 2018 2nd Quarter Python Software Foundation Fellow Members:

Anthony Shaw

Twitter, GitHub, Website
Christian Barra
Twitter, GitHub, Website
Jeff Reback
Twitter, GitHub
Joris Van den Bossche
Twitter, Github, Website
Katie McLaughlin
Twitter, GitHub, Website
Marc Garcia
Twitter, LinkedIn, GitHub
Rizky Ariestiyansyah
TwitterGitHub
Tom Augspurger
Website
Wes McKinney
Twitter, GitHub, Website
Yury Selivanov
Twitter, GitHub, Website

Congratulations! Thank you for your continued contributions. We have added you to our Fellow roster online.

The above members have contributed to the Python ecosystem by maintaining popular libraries, organizing Python events, hosting Python meet ups, teaching classes, contributing to CPython, and overall being great mentors in our community. Each of them continues to help make Python more accessible around the world. To learn more about the new Fellow members, check out their links above.

If you would like to nominate someone to be a PSF Fellow, please send a description of their Python accomplishments and their email address to psf-fellow at python.org. Here is the nomination review schedule for 2018:

  • Q3: July to the end of September (01/07 - 30/09) Cut-off for quarter three will be August 20. New fellows will be announced before end of September. 
  • Q4: October to the end of December (01/10 - 31/12) Cut-off for quarter four will be November 20. New fellows will be announced before December 31. 

We are looking for a few more voting members to join the Work Group to help review nominations. If you are a PSF Fellow and would like to join, please write to psf-fellow at python.org.

Thursday, June 28, 2018

Dr. Russell Keith-Magee, the Python Warrior: Community Service Award Q4 2017 Recipient

Dr. Russell Keith-Magee known name in the Python community having developed with Python since the late 1990s starting with Python version 1.5.

Russell started his career coding with Perl but was confused with it’s design philosophy of TMTOWTDI ("There’s More Than One Way To Do It”). This ultimately led Russell to Python. With its minimal use of symbols in it’s syntax - preferring keywords instead - and mandated indentation, Python was “a breath of fresh air”. Russell recalls, “I found myself wanting to use Python for more and more as time went by”. Contrasting Perl’s TMTOWTDI philosophy to Python’s “there should be one - and preferably only one - obvious way to do it” philosophy was a much welcomed change

Russell was elated to discover Python’s broad range of use cases. As he describes, Python “is used for systems integration, to run websites, to statistical data analysis, to predict astronomical phenomena, i
t's used for educating people who are just learning to program, and it's used by experienced programmers for serious heavy lifting". Such breadth of usage gives Python its most incredible aspect -- a diverse user community. “We should always remember that we are a community. Communities depend on people being involved, and giving back when they can.” 


Gallant Sir Russell, The Victorious Knight


Like Russell, we at the Python Software Foundation share the love for our Python community. We are delighted have such selfless and community minded Pythonistas in our ranks. Therefore the Python Software Foundation is honored to present the 4th Quarter Community Service Award for 2017 to Dr. Russell Keith-Magee:

RESOLVED, that the Python Software Foundation award the Q4 2017 Community Service Award to Russell Keith-Magee for his contributions to Django, for his work on the BeeWare project, and for being an active international speaker at PyCons.

Russell’s adventures with Django


Russell has been a core developer on the Django project since January 2006. Additionally, Russell has been a mentor in the Google Summer of Code for both the Django and BeeWare Projects since 2008.

Russell became a professional Python programmer just when the concept of web frameworks was emerging. He explains, “coming from a desktop UI background, I didn’t understand the fundamental shift that web programming required, or how these frameworks mapped onto those requirements”. When Russell discovered Django, however, this technology just clicked. Within a short period of time he had conjured up a working website. “But more importantly, Django allowed me to understand why the web worked the way it does”.

These were the early days of Django development and Russell rolled up the sleeves to start helping the nascent project. At first he, “dug into a couple of small issues, then some bigger ones - and before long, I’d been offered commit access.”


BeeWare: The IDEs of Python


Russell is also the founder of the BeeWare Project - a project developing tools and libraries for cross-platform native user interfaces in Python. One of the key contributions of this work is expanding the availability of Python onto mobile and browser platforms.

In his quest to build a rich, graphical debugger for Python, Russell found he needed a cross-platform, Python-enabled widget toolkit. It was then that he had a stroke of inspiration, “Why not have one code base but multiple apps?” The idea was to, “support Python natively on iOS and Android, and, at the same time, build a cross-platform UI toolkit that was Python-native.”

Five years into the BeeWare Project, Russell, and his fellow BeeWare apiarists were focusing on getting the BeeWare tools to the point where they would be a viable option for user interface development.

BeeWare is now a “spare time” project for Russell. He wishes to work on it full time and, so is looking for means ways of financial support. “It’s difficult to make a business case for something that is (a) Open Source, and (b) not yet ready for commercial usage.” In his words, “this highlights two existential threats for Python.”

The first of these threats is the growth of mobile and browser development . This “will have a profound impact on the viability of Python as a language.” He rejects the claim that JavaScript is a better language , but admits it has a key advantage: “it’s available in the browser, the most important new platform of the last 20 years”. Russell recommends that “Python should focus more on finding ways to target these new and emerging platforms and plan for where our industry is moving”.

The second threat to Python is the threat he sees to , the Python ecosystem - and the broader Open Source ecosystem. Open Source supports the existence of thousands of companies but the development and maintenance of the Python and other open source tools, critical to their existence, is massively* underfunded. For instance, PyPI is a classic example of this second sort of problem: it has active commercial usage but limited support from commercial users. This threat will continue to exist in the “absence of ongoing source of funding”. 

Russell’s Advice for Beginner Pythonistas


Russell’s numerous contributions to the Python community reflect his core belief in service to the bigger project. For beginning Pythonistas, Russell advices to give back to the community.

“As someone coming into the community, you may not think you have a lot to offer, but you do “.

He thinks there are many “activities around the language like user groups, meetups and conferences, that need people to help organize.” These are as essential as coding, for the development of a language, language community. So no specific skill is required to jump in, so come one, come all. 


Dr. Russell Keith-Magee, DjangoCon 2017

These words are an inspiration to us all no matter if we’re beginners or experienced Pythonistas. In short, thank you Russell for your years of service and contributions to the Python community and for those yet to come.

Wednesday, June 06, 2018

Ernest W. Durbin III joins the PSF team

I am happy to announce that on June 1, 2018, Ernest W. Durbin III joined the Python Software Foundation team as the Director of Infrastructure.



Ernest is a long time volunteer contributor to the PSF's Infrastructure Work Group,  PyPI, and most recently PyCon US. Through his past experiences, Ernest has gained the insight needed to best guide the PSF forward.

Ernest's responsibilities in the role will include:

  • evaluating and strengthening internal systems 
  • supporting and improving community infrastructure  
  • outreach and mentorship for our volunteers that contribute to the PSF's infrastructure
  • developing programs that benefit the Python community world wide

Ernest is very excited to take our infrastructure to the next level and through that better support our community. The PSF Staff and Directors are thrilled to have Ernest on board.

Prior to this, the role was held by Mark Mangoba as a part-time position. We thank Mark for his dedication to the PSF for the last two years as our IT Manager. We wish him the best in his future endeavors.

If you have any questions or comments, please email me.

Thursday, May 24, 2018

PyCaribbean, Come for the Language, Stay for the Culture

PyCaribbean is more than Python, it is people, culture, and  spending  time together. Lead organizer Leonardo Jimenez wants attendees to feel like they are home when they are at PyCaribbean. “That sense of belonging and creating a bond helps the community members feel that they have a community that will support them and they can share their experience and knowledge with,” Jimenez explains.

After receiving an invite to speak at PyCaribbean 2017, which  I was unable to attend, I intentionally saved the date for 2018  . Santo Domingo, the capital of the Dominican Republic, hosted PyCaribbean this year.   Now, before we continue, let’s kick off this blog post the right way. Hit play, then continue reading.




Welcome to PyCaribbean 2018! Hosting some 280 Pythonistas from Puerto Rico, Colombia, Venezuela, Cuba, Bermuda, all across the Dominican Republic, and more the conference boasted 50 more attendees than 2017 when it was held in San Juan, Puerto Rico. PyCaribbean is one of the earliest Python conferences started in Latin America and has since iinspired other Latin American countries to host their own Python conferences.

“The community is getting bigger and stronger [over] time,” said Jimenez “[Community members] show more interest to learn new things, get more practice and experience.”

The PyCaribbean organizers scheduled a wide  ariety of talks that were aimed at all levels  in both English and Spanish. One of this year’s speakers, Ordanis Sanchez, gave a talk on getting started in Python. As noted by attendee Rebecca Conley, this was Ordains’ first conference talk in English!



Every conference I attend, I like to focus on a handful of take aways to share. One talk that I especially enjoyed was by Felipe Hoffa, a developer advocate from Google. Hoffa’s research concluded that not all text used in submitting an issue to a code repository will lead have the same closure rates. I learned that starting a ticket with the phrase, “I get the following...,” will have the highest probability of closure.



For me, the best part about this year has to be the founding of Pyladies Santo Domingo! Natacha De la Rosa and Samantha Valdez met at PyCaribbean, and they have a slick website and super CUTE logo!!!!! Swoon!!!



PyCaribbean is already making plans for next year. The possible locations sound amazing, but what doesn’t sound amazing in the Caribbean? The organizers are currently waiting on confirmation from the location before announcing. I assure you that when it is announced, it will not disappoint. Their hopes are to firstly have 400 attendees next year, secondly more participants from a variety of Caribbean countries, and lastly to create a board with different members of the Caribbean community. If you are interested, reach out to Jimenez <leonardo@pycaribbean.com.

Like with most conferences in the Python community, PyCaribbean is volunteer run. Thank you to the 40 volunteers who made PyCaribbean a success and who continue to foster community in their own cities in the Dominican Republic and beyond!



And that’s a wrap, or at least until next year’s PyCaribbean!


Monday, May 21, 2018

2018 Python Software Foundation Board Election: What is it and how can I learn more?

Every year the Python Software Foundation announces an open call for nominations for the PSF Board. Following the 2017 PSF members vote, only a subset of the entire board’s seats are open. This year there are four seats available - three (3) seats each with a three year term and one (1) seat that will finish the last two years of a three year term. Nominations for the board are open through May 25th, 2018 23:59:59 AoE.

Who can vote and how can I vote?

Voting for this year’s PSF Board Directors elections are set to begin on June 1st, 2018. To vote in the elections you must be registered as a voting member of the Python Software Foundation (see the FAQ here). You can register on the Membership page at python.org.


What does a board member do?

Expectations for board members are outlined on the Python wiki here. Basic requirements for board members include participation in monthly (remote) meetings as well as participation for the 2 to 3 in-person meetings.

Who can run for the PSF board and how can I nominate myself and/or someone else?

Anyone can run for a board member, as outlined by the PSF bylaws (reference Article V). Candidates can be either self-nominated or be nominated by another party. When nominating another person, the nomination requires consent of the potinental nominee.

To enter a nomination the following steps must be completed:

After nominations close, voting will begin on June 1st, 2018. If you wish to vote see voting details above. Additionally, PSF Director Thomas Wouters shared information about the nomination process on Twitter.

Who are the current board members?

The current directors are listed on the PSF website here.

How can I learn more?

Tomorrow on May 22nd the PSF will have an open Slack channel for 24 hours to discuss the election, the PSF, and the responsibilities of the PSF board. Current and outgoing directors will be monitoring the channel to respond to questions as well as PSF staff. You can join the Slack channel here.

Friday, May 11, 2018

To the Egoless Pythonistas That Makes Space at the Table: A. Jesse Jiryu Davis, Community Service Award Q4 2017 Recipient

When we think of Pythonistas that have made a significant mark in the Python community there are many to consider - Python open source project maintainers, the Python core developers, or the countless Python organizers who bring Python events to new corners of the world. All these Pythonistas demonstrate the dedication and commitment it requires to make Python and the Python community work. Yet there are many whose contributions are at times less apparent, less visible. These Pythonistas are not so much hidden as intentionally working behind the scenes, offering assistance to others, so that they can take the mantle of leadership and make their own mark in the community. In more ways than one, A. Jesse Jiryu Davis has been a mentor and advocate for the community, inspiring many to take that next step in their own Python pursuits. It is for this reason that the Python Software Foundation recognizes A. Jesse Jiryu Davis with a Q4 2017 Community Service Award:
RESOLVED, that the Python Software Foundation award the Q4 2017 Community Service Award to A. Jesse Jiryu Davis for the work he does on the PSF blog, his outreach & education efforts, and for organizing PyGotham 2017.

Coders aren’t good communicators … right?

Our paths into Python are varied, yet there are common themes that bring us to Python. Perhaps your workplace uses Python or perhaps Python was the obvious language to use to solve the problem you were confronted with. For others, though, we arrive at Python because of the rich documentation and friendly community. In his day to day Jesse is a staff engineer at MongoDB. As such, Jesse has written tools for MongoDB like Motor, the async MongoDB Python driver.  In his role Jesse explains, “I’m really lucky, I was hired by an open source software company who encouraged me to become a well known member of Python community by writing and speaking”. Contributing to and maintaining open source also means contributing to the documentation surrounding open source tools. While writing on the tools that Jesse helped create was an entry point into writing, Jesse recognized the unique position he had within his role, “I want[ed] to use this advantage to open up these opportunities to other folks”.
Photo by Barbara Joshin O'Hara.
Jesse actively writes on his personal blog on such topics as Python (and more broadly programming), photography, and zen as well as on several other platforms. In his Python content Jesse has written on advanced concepts like Python’s Global Interpreter Lock to content accessible to programmers of any level like how to begin one’s public speaking career. Crafting accessible and open content has been a way that Jesse has be able to channel his position into learning opportunities for others (for example, see Jesse’s PyCon 2016 talk “Write an Excellent Programming Blog”).
Another location Jesse actively writes in on the Python Software Foundation blog. Part of formerly a team of three bloggers, Jesse has been a blogger for the PSF since early 2016. Often the work on the PSF blog requires individuals to do extensive research and interviews on Pythonistas and communicate critical Python news. On-boarding individuals requires a careful attention to detail and countless hours of review and back and forth as all the work happens remotely in a decentralized fashion. PSF blogger Christy Heaton joined the Python Software Foundation blogging team in late 2016, “I have considered Jesse a mentor since I began blogging for the PSF. When I got my first assignment, and wasn't sure where to start,” she recalls. “Jesse took the time to thoughtfully detail his process for me, in an ego-less and judgement-free way. Now the process is so natural, and I have Jesse to thank for that!”

Sharing the Wealth: Empowering Others to Speak and Share in the Python Community

Jesse’s writing isn’t the only mechanism he’s used to empower others.  One of the open questions Jesse was interested in exploring as a PyGotham 2017 organizer included the question of how to reach more underrepresented folks to submit and speak at PyGotham. Part of this exploration included participating in a PyLadies NYC panel to discuss the CFP process, discuss example submissions, and learn more about what challenges confronting individuals when submitting talks.
The event inspired Jesse to spearhead a unique opportunity for PyGotham -- discover a way for new speakers to have access to professional speaker coaching. “Speaking and writing are side gigs for programmers. We are expected to be good at them, if we are then that’s beneficial for our careers. Often, though, we don’t know what we are doing. There are many writers and speakers outside tech that are highly skilled and underpaid, and we are often overpaid so there is an opportunity to share this wealth,” Jesse explains. Jesse’s own speaking coach, Melissa Collom, is a professional opera singer and Jesse attributes much of his own success in becoming a storyteller, as she has helped him learn how to use his voice and body effectively to make him a compelling speaker. Melissa comments that the “same things that make me an effective performer are the same things that make someone an effective communicator". Therefore when it comes to public speaking Melissa believes that there is a “plurality of excellences, finding the most authentic expression of you means finding what works best for you".
Based upon this belief that there are complementary skill sets in the world and that it’s often by working together that we as individuals can find our “plurality of excellence”, Jesse set about fundraising to ensure that there would be an ability for 11 new PyGotham speakers to have access to a speaking coach. “The thing that stands out to me [about Jesse is he] believes in mentorship and he is a feminist. Jesse believes that women and non-binary people [should] have a place at the table. He is willing to leverage his privilege to help pull some extra chairs up to the table,” Melissa says when describing Jesse.
Additionally Jesse has worked outside of the conference space to help others in developing their pubic speaking careers. “I appreciate Jesse as an educator and mentor in the Python world. His conference talks are educational, engaging, and thought-provoking. Jesse enjoys sharing his knowledge with others and paying it forward. He is a true ally,” former Python Software Foundation Director and PyLadies Remote Organizer Anna Ossowski shares. In February 2018 as a part of the Global Diversity CFP Day PyLadies Remote invited Jesse to share his expertise in and personal journey into public speaking and writing.  “I am thankful for Jesse taking the time to teach PyLadies Remote classes for us, as well as for his help with my talk proposals,” Anna concludes.
We All Have Something to Contribute: What will you contribute?
The theme that emerges time after time when speaking with those that have worked with Jesse is his selflessness and desire to leave more behind than he may take. Director of Python Software Foundation Operations Ewa Jodlowska shares, “I’ve known of Jesse for many years due to his contributions to the Python community. What stands out the most is the willingness to help others.” From his writing, to his speaking, to his mentoring, to his open source projects (that begs us to question our privilege and social location), to his relentless advocacy Jesse demonstrates the richness of the Python community in our shared values of contributing often and freely sharing. That said, we all have something to contribute to the Python community, what will your contribution be?

Wednesday, May 09, 2018

Updates from Microsoft, PyCon 2018 Keystone Sponsor


Microsoft has been a big supporter of the Python language through sponsored development of Python Tools for Visual Studio, Jupyter, CPython, Azure Machine Learning and organizations such as the PSF and NumFocus. This year the PSF is proud to have Microsoft as our Keystone Sponsor for PyCon 2018 in Cleveland. We also spoke with them to find out more about their recent efforts in the Python community, and here’s what they had to share:


Q: The Microsoft Python extension for Visual Studio code is now available. We’d be interested in hearing about some of the linting improvements that were made in this release.

Microsoft: That's right, we are excited about the Microsoft Python extension! The extension was originally developed by Don Jayamanne who has now joined Microsoft, and we started publishing the extension as Microsoft in November of 2017. We release a new version every month, and it is currently the most popular extension for VS Code. We have been focused on improving the core Python development experience: linting, IntelliSense, debugging, and support for various environments (virtualenv, pipenv, pyenv, conda). Linting specifically is important to Python developers, with Python being a dynamic language we often depend on linters to give feedback to catch coding errors without having to hit them later at runtime. PyLint is enabled by default in the extension because it has a comprehensive set of rules, and we also support many linters used by Python developers: flake8, mypy, pydocstyle, pep8, prospector and pylama.

One of the improvements we made early was to define a default set of linting rules that help developers catch errors, without the distraction of too many optional warnings about coding convention. Developers can enable the coding convention rules or otherwise customize rulesets to match their development style by adding a .pylintrc file to their workplace. We are continuing to make linting improvements in the coming months.



Q: Microsoft is known for being highly invested in security. What can you tell us about adding security enhancements to Python, similar to those already in PowerShell?

Microsoft: We have an incredibly strong security culture at Microsoft with experts on everything from cloud and operating systems to CPU vulnerabilities. As we saw Python usage increasing, we had some of our scripting language specialists investigate how system administrators could integrate Python into their existing security auditing and management systems, much like we enabled for PowerShell in recent releases. One result of this is PEP 551, and while that proposal is yet to be accepted, we are maintaining source implementations against the latest Python 3.6 and 3.7 releases. For a good overview of why we believe these security transparency features are valuable for Python, see this presentation by Steve Dower, one of our engineers and CPython contributors.


Q: How does the Microsoft Software Donation Program at TechSoup work?

Microsoft: TechSoup and its international network of 65 other partner organizations help Microsoft in facilitating software donations for nonprofits, charities, and NGOs in 236 countries and territories. This includes quickly and reliably verifying an organization's nonprofit status. Serving as a dynamic bridge between civil society and corporate donor partners like Microsoft, TechSoup provides transformative technology products, knowledge, and services that enable people to work together toward a more equitable world. To find out more, please visit their site here.


Q: What does the future of Python look like from Microsoft’s vantage point? What sorts of things do you see for the community as a whole as well as Python within Microsoft itself?

Microsoft: The future is bright for Python with its broad applicability and low bar to entry. Microsoft will continue to invest in Python tooling (through Visual Studio and our free, open source and cross-platform Visual Studio Code), in better support for Python running on the Microsoft platforms, e.g. on Windows and on Azure (whether on Linux or Windows VMs), and of course Microsoft will continue to contribute to the Python community. Whether someone is using Python for scripting scenarios and automating tasks, or for web and backend development, or for Data Science and machine learning, Microsoft’s goal is to help them be successful. The real question isn’t what Microsoft thinks of the future of Python, but what the Python community sees as the future and how can Microsoft help towards that future.


Q: We’re thrilled that Microsoft has stepped forward to make such a big investment in PyCon and its community. What would you like attendees to take away from your presence at PyCon?

Microsoft: Microsoft loves Python and we are committed to be a supportive and productive member of the community. We employ more active Python Core developers than any other company, and they contribute to both Python itself as well as Microsoft's products for our Python customers. Plus, we are hiring more! If you are interested in working on our hosted Jupyter notebooks service, check out the job description and send your resume to PythonJobs@microsoft.com. There has been support for Python in the flagship Visual Studio product for some time now, and recently we added Python support in Visual Studio Code, our free, open source, and lightweight editor for macOS, Linux and Windows. We continue to improve and deepen support for Python in our Azure cloud and we are proud to say that you can already use our cloud infrastructure and services to build great apps in any language for any platform. Most of all, we would love to hear your feedback – what else can we do for the Python community? We are listening!


Again, a big thanks to Microsoft for their continued support in the Python community and Pycons specifically. Be sure to look for their booths and workshops if you are at PyCon this year.

Additionally, if you are interested in being a sponsor for PyCon in the future, please contact pycon-sponsors@python.org for more information. Depending on your level of sponsorship, packages include complimentary conference passes, booth space, lead retrieval scanners, speaking opportunities, and a table in the Job Fair.