APIs, Sustainable Open Source and The Async Web With Tom Christie


February 18th, 2020

43 mins 45 secs

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About this Episode


Tom Christie is probably best known as the creator of Django REST Framework, but his contributions to the state the web in Python extend well beyond that. In this episode he shares his story of getting involved in web development, his work on various projects to power the asynchronous web in Python, and his efforts to make his open source contributions sustainable. This was an excellent conversation about the state of asynchronous frameworks for Python and the challenges of making a career out of open source.


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  • Your host as usual is Tobias Macey and today I’m interviewing Tom Christie about the Encode organization and the work he is doing to drive the state of the art in async for Python


  • Introductions
  • How did you get introduced to Python?
  • Can you start by describing what the Encode organization is and how it came to be?
    • What are some of the other approaches to funding and sustainability that you have tried in the past?
    • What are the benefits to the developers provided by an organization which you were unable to achieve through those other means?
    • What benefits are realized by your sponsors as compared to other funding arrangements?
  • What projects are part of the Encode organization?
  • How do you determine fund allocation for projects and participants in the organization?
  • What is the process for becoming a member of the Encode organization and what benefits and responsibilities does that entail?
  • A large number of the projects that are part of the organization are focused on various aspects of asynchronous programming in Python. Is that intentional, or just an accident of your own focus and network?
  • For those who are familiar with Python web programming in the context of WSGI, what are some of the practices that they need to unlearn in an async world, and what are some new capabilities that they should be aware of?
  • Beyond Encode and your recent work on projects such as Starlette you are also well known as the creator of Django Rest Framework. How has your experience building and growing that project influenced your current focus on a technical, community, and professional level?
  • Now that Python 2 is officially unsupported and asynchronous capabilities are part of the core language, what future directions do you foresee for the community and ecosystem?
    • What are some areas of potential focus that you think are worth more attention and energy?
  • What do you have planned for the future of Encode, your own projects, and your overall engagement with the Python ecosystem?

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