Finding The Core Of Python For A Bright Future With Brett Cannon

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Summary

Brett Cannon has been a long-time contributor to the Python language and community in many ways. In this episode he shares some of his work and thoughts on modernizing the ecosystem around the language. This includes standards for packaging, discovering the true core of the language, and how to make it possible to target mobile and web platforms.

Announcements

  • Hello and welcome to Podcast.__init__, the podcast about Python’s role in data and science.
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  • Your host as usual is Tobias Macey and today I’m interviewing Brett Cannon about improvements in the packaging ecosystem, the promise of WebAssembly, and his recent explorations of CPython’s interpreter

Interview

  • Introductions
  • How did you get introduced to Python?
  • As a core contributor to CPython, a member of the steering Council, and the team lead for VSCode’s Python extension, what are your current areas of focus for the language?
  • One of the PEPs that you were involved with recently introduced the pyproject.toml file for simplifying the work of building Python packages. Can you share some of the background behind that work and the goals that you had for it?
    • Since its introduction a lot of people have co-opted that file for other project configuration. What was your reaction to that, and if you had foreseen that usage what might you have changed or added in the PEP to account for it?
  • What are the long term impacts on the packaging ecosystem that you anticipate with the standardization efforts that are happening?
  • Another area where there is a lot of attention right now is being able to target additional deployment environments such as the browser, with web assembly, and mobile devices, with projects like BriefCase and Kivy. You had a recent post where you posed some questions about the true nature of Python and the possibility of removing pieces of it to simplify building for these other runtimes. What is your personal sense of the minimal set of features that we need for something to still be Python?
    • How have projects such as MicroPython and PyOdide influenced your thinking on the matter?
  • You have also recently been writing a series of articles about the implementation details of different syntactic elements of Python. What was your inspiration for that?
    • What are some of the interesting or surprising details that you encountered while unwrapping the way that the interpreter handles those syntactic elements?
    • How have those explorations helped you in your efforts to identify the core of Python?
  • Recent releases of Python have brought in some substantial changes to the interpreter and new language features (e.g. PEG parser, pattern matching). What are some of the other large initiatives that you are keeping track of?
  • What are your personal goals for the near to medium term future of Python?
  • What are the most interesting, unexpected, or challenging lessons that you have learned while working on the Python language and related tooling?
  • If you were to redesign Python today, what are some of the things that you would do differently?

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The intro and outro music is from Requiem for a Fish The Freak Fandango Orchestra / CC BY-SA

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