Tuesday, August 28, 2018

Redesigning the Python Package Index

In April this year a new version of the Python Package Index (PyPI) was released, an effort made possible by a generous award from the Mozilla Open Source Support program.

A major change in PyPI is the new user interface - something that had not seen any sizeable updates for over ten years. Understandably there have been questions about what’s next for the new UI, which as the designer of Warehouse (the project powering PyPI), I would like to address.


The PyPI homepage

The new design


PyPI’s new design is a reflection of the Python community - modern, welcoming and inclusive.

The design emphasises inclusion by providing extensive help documentation, user friendly interfaces, accessible font sizes and a high-contrast color scheme. The entire site works across all resolutions, meaning that you can now use PyPI on any device.

These features are no accident, as the goal of the redesign is to make PyPI a success for as many users as possible. This a big challenge as over 15 million people from 236 different countries visit PyPI.org each year (Aug 2017 - July 2018).

While the new design is informed by usability standards and user experience best practices, it’s now time to take PyPI to the next level: informing design improvements by engaging in community research and user testing.

Next steps


The first area we are looking to improve is the project's detail page (view example), which is - as the name suggests - the page where the details of a particular project can be viewed.

This is by far the most visited page type on PyPI. In July 2018 alone, 76.59% of page visits were to a project detail page, or 3,594,956 visits from a total page visit count of 4,693,561. The majority of users arrive on these pages direct from Google or other sources, bypassing the PyPI home and search pages.

Given these numbers, even a small improvement in the efficiency of this page would return great results for the community. The question is: how should we decide what to change? What one user might think of an improvement, others may consider a regression.

Conducting user research


In an effort to better understand what our users want from the aforementioned page, we ran a design research exercise (full writeup) asking Python community members to rank the importance of different pieces of information on the page. 1,926 people participated in the exercise. These were the results:




From this research, we can ascertain that many users highly value the project description, information about the required version of Python, and links to the project online. In contrast, few users value the trove classifiers, list of maintainers, or instructions on how to see statistics about the project.

Such insights are essential in driving the redesign in a way that prioritises important information for the largest number of users.

Running user tests


In conjunction with this research we are also establishing a user testing program, where PyPI users will give their feedback to the team via a remote video call; answering specific usage questions or completing certain tasks on the site.

Our goal is to run these sessions with a diverse group of users, accounting for the different people, places and ways that Python is used, while establishing major “pain points” with the current design. From this, we can open issues in the issue tracker to address problems, as has happened before with previous rounds of user tests conducted on the project management interfaces.

User tests can also be used to test new design concepts, compare the performance between old design vs new proposals, and ascertain if the proposed design solutions are truely performant.

Help us help PyPI!


So - how can you help us take PyPI to the next level?

If you’d like to participate in user tests, please register your interest. Depending on your profile and availability, we will be in touch to organise a testing session.

If you have a background in design/research or are interested in facilitating user tests, please contact me on nicole@pypi.org. All help is welcome!

We appreciate new contributors to the Warehouse project, with reserved issues for new contributors and love donations to the Python Packaging Working Group as these help us build a more sustainable model for Python packaging.

Finally, if you are interested in participating in future rounds of user research, please follow PyPI on Twitter or keep an eye on PyPI.org for future announcements!

Thursday, August 23, 2018

PyCon 2019 - Call for Sponsors

It seems like PyCon 2018 was just last week, but the 2019 edition will be here before we know it. We want to say thanks to all our sponsors who helped make the conference a huge success. This year, we welcomed 3,260 attendees from 48 different countries around the world, strengthening the connection in our beloved community even more. 
The invaluable and generous support of our PyCon sponsors enables the Python Software Foundation to help and improve the Python community worldwide by promoting sprints, meetups, events, projects, fiscal sponsorships, software development, open source projects and the Python Ambassador Program – which helps the creation of communities where Python is not well known. 
PyCon sponsorship enabled us to award $118,543 USD in financial aid to 143 attendees in 2018. It also generates 80% of the PSF's revenue, making financial aid, conferences, workshops, and training support possible. As a result, in 2017 $271,138 was awarded to grant recipients in 34 different countries and we are on track to meet or beat our total from last year.
Your sponsorship helps keep PyCon affordable and accessible to the widest possible audience. 
Here is a sample of the many benefits from being a sponsor:
  • Being part of the biggest Python conference in the world
  • Visibility to those who could potentially become new customers or employees
  • Increasing your brand exposure and elevating your corporate identity within the community
  • Expose your products to more than 3,200 attendees
  • Enhance your company’s reputation by supporting and investing in Python and the open source community
Depending on your level of sponsorship, packages may include complimentary conference passes, booth space, lead retrieval scanners, speaking opportunities, and participation in the Job Fair. Our current sponsorship prospectus can be found here. Sponsors in the Diamond, Platinum, Gold or Silver categories will receive additional tickets to the conference.
We want to hear from you! Contact us anytime - we are flexible and willing to build a sponsorship package that fits your needs. Only you know your business, how you measure success and what you're looking for. For more information please contact betsy@python.org or pycon-sponsors@python.org.
We proudly want to announce the organizations that are already sponsoring the PyCon 2019!
Huntington Convention Center - Cleveland, Ohio.
Photo Credit: Mike Pirnat https://www.flickr.com/photos/mikepirnat
PyCon 2019 will be held at Huntington Convention Center in Cleveland, Ohio, from May 1st to May 9th.
If you would like to share information about PyCon 2019 sponsorship, please share with this tweet:
Support @ThePSF by sponsoring @pycon 2019! More information can be found here: https://us.pycon.org/2019/sponsors/prospectus/. #pycon2019

PyCon 2018 Staff.
Photo Credit: Mike Pirnat https://www.flickr.com/photos/mikepirnat

Here’s what our attendees say about the PyCon US experience:

#PyCon2018 was my first PyCon. I have had an INCREDIBLE time! I've listened to inspirational speakers; met some of the most amazing people and have made lifelong connections. Most of all, I had FUN! Thanks to the brilliant @pycon team for working tirelessly to make it a reality!
- Julian Sequeira (@_juliansequeira)

PyCon has been my gold standard for conference accessibility as long as I've been attending, they do a great job and the community here really reflects it. I appreciate all your hard work @pycon, keep it up.
- Jonan Scheffler (@thejonanshow)
#pycon2018 was incredible. The support and hospitality from #Cleveland was stellar. Lighting all the downtown buildings in blue and yellow was a class act. I can’t wait to come back next year for some Mabel’s BBQ and the amazing @pycon community
- Jenn Basalone (@pennyblackio)
One of more understated benefits of @pycon is the economic and social impact in the surrounding communities it takes place at. In the case of larger cities, might not a big deal. In smaller locales, like Cleveland, that impact can be huge!
- Ruben Orduz (@rdodev)
Just got back from @pycon. Was delighted by the inclusiveness and thoughtfulness I saw there.
- David Vandegrift (@DavidVandegrift)


Rock and Roll Hall of Fame - Cleveland, Ohio
Photo Credit: Mike Pirnat https://www.flickr.com/photos/mikepirnat
PyCon is underwritten by the Python Software Foundation, a 501(c)3 charitable organization set up to manage the growth and development of Python worldwide.

Thursday, July 26, 2018

The PSF Jobs Volunteer Team: Community Service Award Q1 2018 Recipient

The popularity of the Python language has increased exponentially in recent years. Notably, Stack Overflow highlighted Python as the fastest growing major programming language. As Pythonistas, we know why: Python is easy to learn, solves real world problems in a variety of fields, and has an amazingly friendly community.

With its success, companies around the world are using Python to build and improve their products, creating a growing need for people that know – or are willing to learn – the language. Today you can see Python’s popularity reflected in the growing supply of Python-related jobs with a quick internet search. Or you can head over to the the Python official site and look at the Python Jobs board! Created in 2010 as a way to connect developers and companies, the Python Jobs board was relaunched in early 2015 and has since been run by an awesome team of volunteers.

It’s with great pride that the Python Software Foundation has awarded Jon Clements, Melanie Jutras, Rhys Yorke, Martijn Pieters, and Marc-Andre Lemburg with the Q1 2018 Community Service Award:
RESOLVED, that the Python Software Foundation award the Q1 2018 Community Service Award to the following members of the PSF Jobs Volunteer Team for the many hours they have contributed to reviewing and managing the hundreds of job postings submitted on an annual basis: Jon Clements, Melanie Jutras, Rhys Yorke, Martijn Pieters, and Marc-Andre Lemburg.

PSF Jobs Volunteer Team: A Team of Dedicated Volunteers


As a job poster, all you need to do is register on the Python website and create a job posting filling out the required information. Then, the Jobs Volunteer Team will review them one by one against a list of criteria – such as text format, the job description and how it is related to Python. The entry can be automatically published or sent back to its author with a review note. The process may seem simple, but imagine doing that for hundreds of jobs each year - that's a lot of responsibility!

The PSF Jobs Volunteer team has five members, including members Marc Andre and Rhys York.

Marc-Andre is the CEO and founder of eGenix.com, a Python-focused project and consulting company based in Germany. He has a degree in mathematics from the University of Düsseldorf.
His work with Python started in 1994.

As a Python Core Developer, Marc-Andre designed and implemented the Unicode support in Python 2.0, and authored the mx Extensions. He is also the EuroPython Society (EPS) Chair, a Python Software Foundation (PSF) founding Fellow and co-founded a local Python meeting in Düsseldorf (PyDDF). He served on the board of the PSF and EPS for many terms and loves to contribute to the growth of Python wherever he can.

Rhys grew up in a small town in Ontario, Canada where he developed a passion for drawing, writing and technology.

He began working in 1999 on Marvel Comics' Deadpool, and since that time has had the opportunity to work on ThunderCats, G.I. Joe, Battle of the Planets, and a number of exciting properties. He works in the film, television and video game industries - notably on Funcom’s "The Secret World", Drinkbox’s "Tales from Space: About a Blob" and Ubisoft's "FarCry 5".
Rhys recently wrapped on the third season of the science-fiction television series "The Expanse" as well as on the film "Polar". Rhys is also currently working as Art Director at Brown Bags Films on an undisclosed animation project. As if that wasn’t enough, Rhys teaches Python to children and adults as well. Rhys is very passionate about promoting programming literacy.

Engagement, Challenges and the Future of the Python Job Board


Explaining his involvement with the PSF Jobs Volunteer Team, Marc-Andre says,

“I took over the Job Boards project after the previous maintainer, Chris Wither, left the project in 2013. I kickstarted the relaunch project in February 2014 to migrate the old job board to the new platform.  
The project was on hold for several months between August 2014 and January 2015, but then picked up speed again and we were able to relaunch the Job Board on March 19th 2015. 
Since then a team of reviewers has been working hard to keep up with the many job postings we get each day.”

The Jobs Team faced several challenges during the platform redesign, such as managing the project, rethinking the review process, and finding people to help and. Following the relaunch the team faced additional challenges in keeping up with processing all the job posts that were remaining in the backlog.

As for the future of the Team, Rhys wants to continue providing a service to the Python community and Marc-Andre has worked with the PSF to turn the group into a PSF Working Group as of July 24, 2018. This change will enable to group to get more recognition from the PSF and the Python community at large.

How you can get involved


If you want contribute and be a part of the Team, Marc-Andre says:

Today, the job reviews are pretty easy to manage. We have laid out a set of rules which work well and reviews don't take long to do anymore. The process is documented here.

There are still a few rough edges in the system, so if there are Django programmers willing to help, please get in contact with Berker Peksağ and submit Pull Requests for the open issues we have on the tracker.

Rhys adds, “Do it. Even if you have little time, giving back to the community is a rewarding experience.”

Marc-Andre, member of The PSF Jobs Volunteer Team 


Wednesday, July 18, 2018

The Happy Medium: Distinguished Service Award Winner Tim Peters

When Tim Peters started working on Python, his first advice for Guido van Rossum was that programmers want to add ints and floats. From the beginning, Python had both kinds of numbers, just like today, but adding them together then required a cumbersome type-cast. Peters argued that Python should implicitly convert ints to floats, like most other languages, for programmers' sake: "That is a very common operation for anyone who works with floating point numbers," Van Rossum recalls him saying, "so you’ve got to do it this way."

Ever since, Peters has pushed the language in this direction. He insists that Python should be a practical language that caters to the needs of programmers, and he has a knack for guiding design debates to achieve this goal. In recognition of his contributions, the PSF presented Tim Peters with the 2017 Distinguished Service Award.

A Realist Algorithm

"Timsort is Tim's grand opus," says Van Rossum. The algorithm is not only the standard sort for Python; when Java developer Joshua Bloch saw its merit for sorting real-world data, he incorporated it into the Java standard library as well. The genius of Timsort is to recognize how data naturally occurs in everyday programs: it's less likely to be randomly ordered than to be partly ordered, or ordered in reverse. Programmers usually throw such data at a sorting function anyway, and a theoretically elegant algorithm like Quicksort won't recognize the shortcuts it could take to save work. Timsort is designed to recognize such opportunities and deploy efficient tricks for them.

Timsort is optimized for the world not as we imagine it, but as it is. This realism is characteristic of the Python language as a whole. It flows from Van Rossum's taste in design, which Peters distilled into a poem in 1999.

The Zen of Python

It's only 19 lines. But this short list of precepts has influenced the language and the programs written in it profoundly. It is a shared literature for Python programmers, in the same way that most English speakers know certain lines of Shakespeare. Python's designers quote the Zen of Python in PEP debates, and programmers reviewing code in their own Python projects use the Zen to support their opinions.

Guido van Rossum says, "You can use it to motivate a design choice, but it’s not scripture. It can’t be the only reason to choose a particular design. You still have to put your thinking cap on." Just like the Zen Buddhist sayings that inspired it, Peters's text isn't dogma. Indeed, for every commandment the Zen of Python hands down, there is also a joke or a contradiction to remind us to take it lightly.

Core developer Carol Willing summarizes the Zen of Python's message like this: "We're going to meet constraints in a way that makes good common sense first, so you can maintain the code and people can understand the code." It's this commonsense approach that makes Python a joy to use. Willing began coding on a mainframe at Bell Labs when she was in fifth grade in 1976; in all her years as a programmer the most enjoyable have been her years with Python. She says, "Every day I get to use it makes me feel like a kid again." Now, when she teaches Project Jupyter interns each summer, one of her first instructions is to type "import this".

Willing extends Python's Zen to its community, too. She says that "Beautiful is better than ugly" is a good guide for talking with our colleagues. "There’s an ugly way of saying things, and a more respectful, nicer way of saying things. Maybe we should err on the side of being respectful and nice."

A Happy Medium

In Guido van Rossum's estimation, Peters's biggest contribution to the community has been his years of answering questions and guiding debates on the Python mailing list, writing each message precisely and cheerfully. PSF director Thomas Wouters agrees: "Tim is just never flustered. He always takes it in good humor and it definitely has an effect on everyone else, as well." Even an experienced developer like Carol Willing says that when she sees a post from Peters on a topic she knows, she'll take the time to read it for new insights or new ways of explaining.

In design debates, Peters invented a notion of "channeling Guido" to free Van Rossum from the overflow of emails. He claimed to act like a spirit medium speaking with Van Rossum's voice, but this understates Peters's influence. "He was a mentor for me," says Van Rossum. "He combines incredible technical skills with insight into what the person he's communicating with is missing or needs to see, with a patient way of explaining. He showed me that style of communicating which I strive for but can't always do."

Recently, in the wake of contentious debate over the ":=" operator, Guido van Rossum resigned as BDFL. Tim Peters, too, is less active on Python mailing lists than before. The Python community can no longer rely on one individual and his channeler for guidance. As Brett Cannon wrote, "a key asset that Guido has provided for us as a BDFL is consistency in design/taste." As a summary of Van Rossum's thinking, the Zen of Python is now more important than ever.



Images: Utagawa Kuniyoshi (1797-1861), 108 Heroes of the Popular Suikoden.

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.