Anthony Scopatz on Xonsh


October 30th, 2015

57 mins 53 secs

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About this Episode

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Anthony Scopatz is the creator of the Python shell Xonsh in addition to his work as a professor of nuclear physics. In this episode we talked to him about why he created Xonsh, how it works, and what his goals are for the project. It is definitely worth trying out Xonsh as it greatly simplifies the day-to-day use of your terminal environment by adding easily accessible python interoperability.

Brief Introduction

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  • We are recording today on October 12th, 2015 and your hosts as usual are Tobias Macey and Chris Patti
  • Today we are interviewing Anthony Scopatz about Xonsh
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Interview with Anthony Scopatz

  • Introductions
  • How did you get introduced to Python?
  • Can you explain what Xonsh is and your motivation for creating it?
  • For people transitioning to Xonsh from a shell like Bash or Zsh, what are some of the biggest differences that they will see?
  • What are some really powerful one-liners that showcase Xonsh’s capabilities?
  • What is it about Python that lends itself to this kind of a project and what are your thoughts on building something like Xonsh in another language such as Ruby or Node.js?
  • If you had to single out one killer feature that Xonsh brings to the table, what would that be?
  • Is it possible to specify which shell, such as bash or zsh, gets used in subprocess mode?
  • I started using the Xonsh shell as my daily terminal recently and have been enjoying it so far. One of the things that I have been wondering is how to hook into the completion system to provide eldoc style completion from parsing the output of help flags. Do you have any advice on where to start? Perhaps using the docopt library to handle parsing of help output and generate completions from that?
  • What are your thoughts on adding a section to the project documentation for people to list various extension modules that people can take advantage of? Or perhaps creating something along the lines of Oh my Xonsh?
  • How do bash function definitions interoperate with the Xonsh environment and functions defined in Python?
  • It seems as though there could be some potential path or compatibility issues when moving between virtual environments and having access to extension modules loaded into Xonsh. Can you shed some light on that?
  • Do you have any suggestions for people who may not have the privileges to set their own login shell but who want to try Xonsh?
  • What are some of the most interesting uses of Xonsh that you have seen?
  • What does the future hold for the Xonsh project and how can our audience help?


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