Web Application Development Entirely In Python - Episode 215

Summary

The knowledge and effort required for building a fully functional web application has grown at an accelerated rate over the past several years. This introduces a barrier to entry that excludes large numbers of people who could otherwise be producing valuable and interesting services. To make the onramp easier Meredydd Luff and Ian Davies created Anvil, a platform for full stack web development in pure Python. In this episode Meredydd explains how the Anvil platform is built and how you can use it to build and deploy your own projects. He also shares some examples of people who were able to create profitable businesses themselves because of the reduced complexity. It was interesting to get Meredydd’s perspective on the state of the industry for web development and hear his vision of how Anvil is working to make it available for everyone.

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  • Your host as usual is Tobias Macey and today I’m interviewing Meredydd Luff about Anvil, platform for building full stack web applications entirely in Python

Interview

  • Introductions
  • How did you get introduced to Python?
  • Can you start by explaining what Anvil is and the story of how and why you created it?
  • Web applications come in a vast array of styles. What are the primary formats of web applications that Anvil supports building and what are its limitations?
  • Are there certain categories of users that tend to gravitate toward Anvil?
    • How do you approach user experience design and overall usability given the varied backgrounds of your customers?
  • For someone who wants to use Anvil can you talk through a typical workflow and highlight the different components of the platform?
  • Can you describe how Anvil itself is implemented and how it has evolved since you first began working on it?
    • For the javascript transpilation, are you using an existing project such as Transcrypt or PyJS, or did you develop your own?
  • Given that the Python dependencies on your servers are managed by how, how do you approach version upgrades to avoid breaking your customer’s applications?
  • What are the main assumptions that you had going into the project and how have those assumptions been challenged or updated in the process of growing the business?
  • What have been some of the biggest challenges that you have faced in the process of building and growing Anvil?
    • What are some of the edge cases that you have run into while developing Anvil? (e.g. browser APIs, javascript <-> Python impedance mismatch, etc.)
  • Can you talk through how you manage deployments of your customer’s applications?
  • What are some of the features of Anvil that are often overlooked, under-utilized, or misunderstood which you think users would benefit from knowing about?
  • What are some of the most interesting/innovative/unexpected ways that you have seen Anvil used?
  • What are the limitations of Anvil and when is it the wrong choice?
  • What do you have planned for the future of Anvil?

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