November 17, 2009

Two Thousand Posts Behind

While recording material for the first three episodes of a new Python podcast (you'll have to wait*) I realized that I've been less in contact with the doings of the Python community than usual over the last six months, due to project and teaching work.

When I am in "less busy" mode and have some spare time I often follow the comp.lang.python newsgroup, offering advice and opinion when the occasion allows. I also find the time to track the Planet Python newsfeed, which is full of interesting (and often detailed) information about what various Python personalities have been up to. When I get busy, as I have been this year, those information sources tend to take a background role.

I just started on the task of "catching up" with Planet Python, and have had to recognize that there is no way I am going to. There have been over two thousand posts since the start of June this year, and I just don't have the time to run through it all -- particularly not if I want to follow up all the interesting stuff I see. In the first minute of examination I saw details of an IronPython application that allows you to examine .NET binary assemblies and instantiate the various classes you come across, interacting with them through an interactive console.

This was interesting because it's been one of the reasons many Java shops keep Jython in their toolkit. Java is also a compiled language not an interactive one, and so it's difficult to learn about the tools without going through an intensive "write/run/debug" cycle that makes it difficult to condense your experience into learned material. With Jython you just use the interactive Python interpreter, creating instances as you like, calling their methods and examining their attributes. "Plays well with others" has always been one of Python's strengths.

Anyway, suffice it to say that there's been some amazing stuff going on in the Python ecosphere recently. I am really looking forward to next year's PyCon (February, in Atlanta). There were so many great proposals that even with an expansion from four tracks to five there wasn't room to accommodate all the stuff that could have gone in. So expect some pretty amazing Open Space sessions too!

* Provisionally entitled "A Little Bit of Python"

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