PyDev of the Week: Takeshi Komiya | The Mouse vs The Python

PyDev of the Week: Takeshi Komiya | The Mouse vs The Python

This week we welcome Komiya Takeshi as our PyDev of the Week! Takeshi is a maintainer of Sphinx, Python’s documentation package. Takeshi is also the creator of blockdiag, diagram image generator. If you are interested in seeing some of the other projects that Komiya contributes to, you should check out his Github profile.

Let’s spend some time getting to know Takeshi better!

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

I am a software engineer from Tokyo, Japan. Now I work at Time Intermedia Corp. as CTO. Time Intermedia is a systems integrator.

I love to have tea when I’m programming. I often bring my laptop to a cafe and enjoy programming all day long. My hobbies include driving all around Japan and watching football games.

Why did you start using Python?

My first contact with Python was 10+ years ago, when I took part in a local Hackathon event as a staff; Zope/Plone Hack-a-thon (now renamed to Python mini Hack-a-thon). In those days, I used to mostly use Ruby for my hobby projects. I started using Python for my OSS projects since then.

My first product of Python is blockdiag. It is a converter from a text written in original syntax to block diagram image. I think it let me know to enjoy programming in OSS. Even now, I sometimes see the tweets and articles about blockdiag. I’m very happy to see them.

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

So far, I have experience in C, Perl, PHP, Ruby, and Python. If I have to choose one, I prefer to use Python. Since I started using Python, I have used it for OSS works almost every night. So I’m familiar with it.

I also love Ruby. It lets me know programming is a fan. Now I have no time to write code in Ruby. But I still like it.

Thanks for doing the interview, Takeshi!

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PyDev of the Week: Jessica Garson | The Mouse vs The Python

PyDev of the Week: Jessica Garson | The Mouse vs The Python

This week we welcome Jessica Garson (@jessicagarson) as our PyDev of the Week! Jessica is a developer advocate at Twitter. She also teaches Python at New York University. You can see some of what she’s up to over on Github. Let’s spend some time getting to know her better!

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

I’m currently a Developer Advocate at Twitter, where I work to make sure developers have good experiences using the Twitter API. What that means is that I write example code, speak at conferences and create blog posts. I also make noise music with Python and perform regularly in the New York area under the artist name, Messica Arson. Before working in technology, I worked on political campaigns.

Why did you start using Python?

I started learning how to code on my own in 2010, which proved to be very difficult. I was working at a political data consulting company, and all of the backend code was written in Perl so I started reading a book on Perl. A coworker saw my book and pulled me aside and mentioned that if he were learning how to code today, he’d learn Python. Shortly thereafter, I found a community group in Washington, DC called Hear me Code which was free beginner-friendly classes for women by women.

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

I’ve been growing my skills in JavaScript lately. I’m excited to learn more about TensorFlow.js. In the past year, I’ve grown my skills in R quite a bit as well. I also make music sometimes using Ruby and Haskell…

Thanks for doing the interview, Jessica!

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PyDev of the Week: Tommy Falgout | The Mouse vs The Python

PyDev of the Week: Tommy Falgout | The Mouse vs The Python

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

I grew up in the bayous of Louisiana, and while everyone else was interested in 4-wheeling and hunting, I gravitated towards computers and spent hours on my Commodore 64. Early on, I knew what it meant to be an outcast. As I matured, my hobbies became numerous and varied, but all focused around my passion of building. For 5 years hosted and competed in Dallas/Fort Worth’s annual trebuchet competition: Slingfest, and was even featured on an episode of Dude Perfect on Nickelodeon as a Trebuchet expert (complete with my own IMDB page!). I also volunteer at a local Makerspace in Plano, TX (TheLab.ms), built a LEGO Robotic Clippy and competed in the Red Bull Soapbox Derby race. After a few exciting near-misses from bodily harm, I’ve settled down and recently taken up crochet and hobby electronics.

Why did you start using Python?

My first experience with Python was over 15 years ago when I needed to automate ~100 network switches and I had to choose between Python and Perl. I will admit, I chose Perl because I liked its terseness and didn’t like using forced spaces. Looking back, that was a silly reason as I created really unreadable code and hardly anyone uses Perl anymore. (Except for maybe Larry Wall) My second experience was about 10 years later when working for Yahoo and I wrote their Network Automation Discovery System. I took my lessons learned from my previous experience and wrote it in Python.

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

I’ve written production code in C, C++, Java, PHP, Python, Javascript, Typescript, Perl and Clojure while dabbling in Go, Rust, Erlang and Ruby. Funny enough, my favorite is assembly. Because I could trust it. I never wrote anything useful; however, there’s a lot less surprises when there’s few language primitives. Being realistic my favorite is Python, as it’s easy to get started and the community support is strong so there’s modules for almost everything…

Thanks for doing the interview, Tommy!

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PyDev of the Week: Doug Farrell | The Mouse vs The Python

PyDev of the Week: Doug Farrell | The Mouse vs The Python

This week we welcome Doug Farrell (@writeson) as our PyDev of the Week! Doug is working on Python book entitled The Well-Grounded Python Developer for Manning. He is also a contributor for Real Python. You can find out more about Doug on his website. Now let’s spend some time learning more about Doug!

Doug Farrell

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

I’m a developer with a lot of other interests and have a varied background. After a couple passes through college, I graduated with an AS degree in commercial art in 1980, and a BS in Physics in 1983. Two clearly related fields. Part of why I graduated so late was having spent five years working at a bronze sculpture foundry. As fun as that was, it took me a while to realize the physical toll of working there wasn’t sustainable, and I went back to school. I guess I’m a slow learner.

During my last year of school, I bought a Tandy Color Computer and learned basic and a little 6809 assembler, and the programming hook was set in me. I’ve worked as a software developer in quite a few industries; process control, embedded systems, retail CDRom software, Internet reference titles, and web applications for production systems. I’ve also worked in several languages during that time; Pascal, Fortran, C/C++, Visual Basic, PHP, Python, and JavaScript.

My wife and are bicyclists and have ridden quite a few organized century rides. We’ve shortened our distances and ride more for enjoyment and fitness now, and of course, competing with each other. I also have gotten back into artistic pursuits and have started painting. This is challenging for me as I never did any creative painting work, or in a larger format. I know I tend to be a realist, but I’m trying to get more expressive fooling around with abstraction.

Susan and I have one daughter and son-in-law, and one grandson who just turned 3 and is fantastic!

Why did you start using Python?

In 2000 I changed jobs to join a school and library publisher putting some of their encyclopedia’s online. Before this, I’d been a long time Windows developer, and now was jumping into a Sun/Unix world. At the time, they were developing their web applications using C/C++ as CGI programs. Offline tasks and processing work was beginning to be done with Perl. I was horrified by the Perl syntax and was fortunate enough to find Python. Python appealed to me immediately because of its clean syntax, “one obvious way to do things” philosophy, and in particular, its native support for Object-Oriented Programming. I was firmly in the OOP camp from working with C++ for a few years.

In 2006 I was fortunate enough to join a company where I could program exclusively in Python and have stayed with it as my favorite language ever since.

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

As mentioned before, I’ve worked in several different languages over the years, Assembler (6809), Pascal, Fortran, C/C++, VB, PHP, Python, and JavaScript. Though I was a “speed freak” working with C for embedded systems and loved that very close to the hardware kind of work, I don’t really want to go back to doing that. Python is my current favorite language, and language of choice for most, if not all, my projects. I also like JavaScript/TypeScript because I like to work on both the front and backend of applications. I enjoy that interface between Python and JavaScript, and in many ways, find lots of parallels between them.

Thanks so much for doing the interview, Doug!

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PyDev of the Week: Hameer Abbasi | The Mouse vs The Python

PyDev of the Week: Hameer Abbasi | The Mouse vs The Python

This week we welcome Hameer Abbasi as our PyDev of the Week! Hameer works on the PyData Sparse project. You can check out what else Hameer is working on over on Github. Let’s take some time to get to know him better!

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

My hobby is, and has been for a while, scientific computing in general, the ecosystem and how to make it better. I’m lucky and grateful to have found a job in that same field, even though my formal education wasn’t in either Mathematics or Computer Science. Moving over to my education, I completed my Bachelors in Electrical (Telecommunications) Engineering from National University of Sciences and Technology, Pakistan in July 2014. After being a professional for a year at LMK Resources, Pakistan until September, 2015, I moved to Germany and completed my Masters in Information and Communication Engineering from Technische Universität Darmstadt (English: Technical University of Darmstadt) in October, 2015. I started with Quansight as a contractor then, and I’m continuing that to date.

Why did you start using Python?

I was doing a Hilfswissenschaftler job (sort of like a Research Assistant in the USA), and there I was presented the problem of scaling a sparse system to a larger space. I discovered the PyData/Sparse project back then (it was in Matthew Rocklin’s personal repository at the time), and was immediately fascinated by the idea of computational gains to be had if one moved to a sparse representation. I’m now the maintainer for that project, and I’m grateful I chose that path, as it landed me a talk at SciPy 2018 and a client in the form of Quansight.

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

I’ve dabbled in a lot of programming languages over the years. Started with Visual Basic 2000, moved on to Visual Basic .NET, HTML, Java, Javascript, C++. The ones I really feel I know, though are Python and C#, because I have hands on experience on real projects with these. I like Rust’s “do it right the first time” model.

My favourite of all these to work with is probably C#, because of the excellent tooling around it, but as a language I like Python more.

Thanks for doing the interview, Hameer!

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PyDev of the Week: Martin Fitzpatrick | The Mouse vs The Python

PyDev of the Week: Martin Fitzpatrick | The Mouse vs The Python

This week we welcome Martin Fitzpatrick (@mfitzp) as our PyDev of the Week! Martin is the author of “Create Simple GUI Applications with Python and Qt 5” and the creator of the LearnPyQt website. You can also check out his personal site or see what he’s up to by visiting his Github profile. Let’s spend some time getting to know Martin better!

Martin Fitzpatrick

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

I’m a developer from the United Kingdom, who’s been working with Python for the past 12 years, and living in the Netherlands (Amersfoort) for the past 5.

I started coding on 8 bit machines back in the early 90s, creating platform games of dubious quality â€” in my defence we didn’t have StackOverflow back then. Later I moved onto the PC, first writing DOS games and then, after someone invented the internet, doing a stint of web dev. I’ve been programming on and off ever since.

Rather than pursue software development as a career, I instead took a long detour into healthcare/biology. I worked first in the ambulance service, then as a physiotherapy assistant and finally completed a degree and PhD in Bioinformatics & Immunology. This last step was where I discovered Python, ultimately leading me to where I am now.

In my spare time I tinker in my workshop, creating daft electronic games and robots.

I like robots.

Why did you start using Python?

I first used Python back in 2007 when I was looking for at alternatives to building websites with Drupal/PHP. That led me to Django and Python. It felt so much simpler and more logical than what I’d used before, after knocking something together in an afternoon I was basically hooked.

For the next few years I was using Python almost exclusively for web development, and it probably would have stayed that way was it not for my PhD.

My thesis project was looking at the effects of metabolism on rheumatoid arthritis, and required me to analyse some big chunks of data. Having worked with Python for the previous 4 years it only seemed natural to try and use it here, rather than stop and learn R or MATLAB. The Python data analysis landscape was still a bit rough back then, but improving quickly — pandas and Jupyter notebooks first appeared during this time. The final couple of years of my PhD I was looking to make the tools I’d written more accessible to non-technical users and started building GUI applications with PyQt5.

In the past couple of years I discovered microcontrollers (ESP8266 and Raspberry Pi) and have built some silly things with MicroPython.

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

Python is my favourite, hands down. There is something about the language that lines up very well with my brain, might be all the empty space.

I have learnt and forgotten quite a few languages including PHP, Pascal, Perl, Prolog and Z80 assembler. I can still bash something together in C and does MicroPython count as another language?

Thanks for doing the interview, Martin

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PyDev of the Week: Paul Sokolovsky | The Mouse vs The Python

PyDev of the Week: Paul Sokolovsky | The Mouse vs The Python

This week we welcome Paul Sokolovsky as our PyDev of the Week! Paul is the creator of Pycopy, which is described as “a minimalist and memory-efficient Python implementation for constrained systems, microcontrollers, and just everything”. You can check out more of his contributions to open source on Github. Let’s take a few moments to get to know Paul better!

Paul Sokolovsky

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

I have Computer Science as my first masters, and later got another masters in Linguistics – when I was a CS student I was interested in Natural Language Processing subfield of AI, and wanted to get a formal degree to work in that areas, perhaps in academia, but that never panned out, I got sucked up into the IT industry, a common story ;-).

Hobbies – well, nothing special, I like to travel, and even if a plane carries me far away, I like to get on my feet and explore like humans did it for millennia. Though if there’s a motorbike for rent, I like to ride it to a more distant mountain before climbing it. My latest interest is history. Like, everyone took history lessons in school and might have their “favorite” history of a particular country at particular timeframe, but trying to grasp history of mankind across the mentioned millennia is a different matter.

Why did you start using Python?

Oh, as many students, at that age I drooled over Lisp and Scheme programming languages. I did a few projects in them, and while they were definitely great and I could grok them, it occurred to me that I wasn’t not sure about the rest of world. Programming is inherently social activity. And besides the power of those languages, their drawbacks were also evident, and while I was able to surmount them, other people might be not just unable, but even unwilling to do that.

So, I started my quest of the best-in-compromise programming languages, sifting thru dozens of both mainstream and obscure languages of that time. I stopped when I found Python. I think of it as “Lisp for real world”. Those were the times of Python 1.5.1…

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

Based on the above, it shouldn’t come as surprise that Python is my favorite languages. I know a bunch of scripting languages – Perl, PHP, Java, JavaScript, Lisp, Scheme, and more “systemish” ones like C and C++. I definitely watch the space and keep an eye on Go, Rust which approaching upstream and niche contenders like Nim, Zig, whatever. I don’t rush into using them – again, I passed that stage of language-hopping when I was a student.

Thanks for doing the interview, Paul!

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