Mike Driscoll: Sample Chapters from Creating wxPython Applications Book

The Kickstarter campaign for my latest book has been going quite well, so I thought it would be fun to share some sample chapters of the book with you. You can check out the first couple of chapters here as a PDF.

I have also been doing some experiments with regards to some of the ideas that were given about other chapters for the book for the stretch goals of the Kickstarter. I haven’t made any concrete decisions as of yet, but I do think that interacting with the NASA website’s API sounds fun and appears easy to do as well.

I will research the feasibility of the other ideas too.

Thanks so much for your support!

Planet Python

Mike Driscoll: PyDev of the Week: Lance Bragstad

This week we welcome Lance Bragstad (@LanceBragstad) as our PyDev of the Week! Lance is a core developer of the OpenStack project. You can find out more about his passions via his website or his Github profile. Let’s spend some time getting to know Lance!

Can you tell us a little about yourself (hobbies, education, etc):

In 2012, I graduated with a degree in Computer Science from North Dakota State University, located in Fargo (yup, like the movie). Since then I’ve become more and more passionate about open-source software. I spend most of my time in the OpenStack ecosystem.

Besides being passionate about open-source software, I’m an avid outdoorsman. My wife and I train for running events together. I also donate time as a volunteer firefighter for our community of about 700 people.

Why did you start using Python?

After I graduated college, I started working at IBM building an OpenStack distribution. Since OpenStack is written in Python, learning Python was a requirement, and that’s how I was introduced to the language. Despite being given the opportunity to use different languages in college, I never really experimented with Python. Using it in a new setting with a new job was an exciting learning experience.

What projects are you working on now?

Currently, I spend the majority of my time working within OpenStack’s authentication and authorization realm. There is a dedicated identity service, called keystone, along with several libraries that orchestrate authorization across OpenStack.

Since there are many ways to approach identity management, it’s interesting to work on the piece that handles all of that. Keystone can be used to manage users with MySQL. It can also be configured to use LDAP or even identity providers that issue SAML assertions or use OpenID Connect.

The other exciting part is that OpenStack services offer such a rich set of APIs to users. Since services consume authorization information from keystone, keystone has to support protecting all of those APIs, which presents an interesting set of problems to solve.

Which Python libraries are your favorite (core or 3rd party)?

One library that comes to mind is pyca/cryptography. We used this library in keystone to implement a form of authenticated encryption, solving a significant scale and operations issue at the time. We looked around at some other options, but pyca/cryptography was a near perfect fit.

Before formally pulling it in as a dependency, I went through and read the source code and tests. The authors did a great job organizing functionality, and the tests were easy to parse. Despite the complexity involved in a topic like cryptography, it was refreshing to go through the code and see things laid out cleanly. Being able to clearly understand the intricacies of the library made solving a tough problem a little easier.

How did you get started with OpenStack?

I started working on OpenStack in January of 2012, shortly after Diablo was released and the community was busy developing Essex. I was wrapping up my undergraduate degree at NDSU, and we were entering our final semester before graduation in May. I was one of four members working on a capstone project. We were asked to find use cases to deploy Infrastructure-as-a-Service, primarily looking for people who would consume a private OpenStack cloud if we built one.

By the mid-term, we had the Diablo release deployed on three physical machines using crowbar, chef, and juju (fun fact: only two of the hosts had virtualizations extensions). We spent finals week putting the finishing touches on a brand new Essex deployment (including some marginally better hardware) shortly after it was released (2012 April 5).

Our deployment was primarily used by faculty and graduate students, fulfilling HPC use cases for research.

Where is OpenStack going in the future?

This is my own opinion, but I see OpenStack continuing to stabilize. I think we, as the OpenStack community, are getting better at working towards common goals, which is a challenge given the breadth of projects under OpenStack governance. I think this is exciting because it provides a consistent look and feel to our users, and improves the experience they have with the software we write.

For years contributors have poured tons of effort into features and functionality, especially within specific domains like networking, storage, or compute infrastructure. I think now we’re getting to the point where continuing to move forward means smoothing out usability between components.

I see a lot of truth in Robert Martin’s view that software design is a constant dynamic tension instead of a utopian endstate that is written once*. If you look, you can see we are making choices to simplify software across OpenStack. In my opinion, the tension is shifting from intense feature development to stability and simplicity for users and maintainers. It’s exciting to see these transitions happen when you’ve been involved with a project for a long time, and what they bring to everyone involved in our community.

* Uncle Bob talks about this extensively in his book Clean Architecture, which is a great read.

Thanks for doing the interview, Lance!

Planet Python

Mike Driscoll: PyDev of the Week: Kushal Das

This week we welcome Kushal Das (@kushaldas) as our PyDev of the Week! Kushal is a core developer of the Python programming language and a co-author of PEP 582. You can learn more about Kushal by checking out his blog or his Github profile. Let’s take a few moments to get to know Kushal better!


Can you tell us a little about yourself (hobbies, education, etc):

I am a staff member of Freedom of the Press Foundation. We are a non-profit that protects, defends, and empowers public-interest journalism in the 21st century. We work on encryption tools for journalists and whistleblowers, documentation of attacks on the press, training newsrooms on digital security practices, and advocating for the the public’s right to know.

I am also part of various Free Software projects through out my life. I am a core developer of CPython, and a director of the Python Software Foundation. I am part of the core team of the Tor project. I am a regular contributor to Fedora Project for over a decade now.

I co-ordinate https://dgplug.org along with a large group of friends and fellow contributors in various projects. We spend time together in learning new things and helping out each other on the #dgplug IRC channel on Freenode server. Feel free to visit the channel and say “Hi” to us.

I try to write about the things I learn regularly on my blog.

Why did you start using Python?

I started learning Python at the end of 2005. I wanted to write code for my new Nokia phone and Sirtaj Singh Kang suggested me to start learning Python for the same. While doing so I found that I had to write much less number of lines of code and also it was much easier to understand. I started talking more with the wider Python community over Internet and that hooked me into it more. As Brett Cannon said: “Came for the language, stayed for the community.” is true for many of us.

What other programming languages do you know and which is your favorite?

Through out my programming life, I kept learning a new language in every 8 months to a year. Before I started writing Python, I used to write C/Java/PHP based on what I was working on. Around 2009 I started spending time with functional programming, and loved Lisp a lot. I spent around a year to keep writing more Lisp and was trying to figure out how to use the ideas from there in my daily Python programming life. From 2013 I started writing Go and I do have many projects written in Go.

But, lately I am writing more and more of Rust. I really like the community and also the compiler 🙂

Just in case anyone wants to know how much we love Python in the family, our daughter is named “Py” 🙂

What projects are you working on now?

In my day job, I maintain SecureDrop project along with an amazing team of maintainers and community. SecureDrop is an open source whistleblower submission system that media organizations can install to securely accept documents from anonymous sources. It was originally coded by the late Aaron Swartz and is now managed by Freedom of the Press Foundation.

I am also working on various Python projects which will enable us to have a new Desktop client for the journalists on Qubes OS. Qubes Ansible is another project where I am trying to make sure that we can use Ansible to maintain our Qubes systems.

Which Python libraries are your favorite (core or 3rd party)?

I think I use json module from stdlib and requests module as third party almost everywhere. IIRC my first ever Cpython patch was about adding tests for json module.

In the Python world there are many other amazing libraries which I use regularly, most of them are the product of our amazing community.

What top three things have you learned contributing to open source projects?

  • People are more important than any code.
  • Be nice to everyone.
  • Communication is the key tool for everything in this modern connection world. We have to do a lot more communication over writing than video/audio calls.

Is there anything else you’d like to say?

I would suggest new programmers to look into more number of upstream projects. We need help in various level in all of the projects, so there is a chance to contribute not only by code, but in many different ways.

Last, but least, I would love to mention my wife Anwesha, who is being from a complete different background, helped me to contribute more to the upstream projects and also herself started helping out projects as required.

Thanks for doing the interview, Kushal!

Planet Python

Mike Driscoll: The Packt Python Humble Bundle 2019

Packt Publishing is partnering with Humble Bundle for a Python bundle for 2019.

You can check out the full list of titles here: https://www.humblebundle.com/books/python-packt-2019-books

One of the books is my very own Python Interviews book

Python Interviews book cover

There are quite a few other books in this bundle that look interesting. I know the books by Steven Lott and Dusty Philips are most likely good.

The other nice thing about the bundle is that you can support the Python Software Foundation by getting a bunch of fun Python books!

Planet Python