Language Design

Taking Aim At The Legacy Of SQL With The Preql Relational Language - Episode 325

SQL has gone through many cycles of popularity and disfavor. Despite its longevity it is objectively challenging to work with in a collaborative and composable manner. In order to address these shortcomings and build a new interface for your database oriented workloads Erez Shinan created Preql. It is based on the same relational algebra that inspired SQL, but brings in more robust computer science principles to make it more manageable as you scale in complexity. In this episode he shares his motivation for creating the Preql project, how he has used Python to develop a new language for interacting with database engines, and the challenges of taking on the legacy of SQL as an individual.

Read More

Finding The Core Of Python For A Bright Future With Brett Cannon - Episode 320

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.

Read More

Driving Toward A Faster Python Interpreter With Pyston - Episode 298

One of the common complaints about Python is that it is slow. There are languages and runtimes that can execute code faster, but they are not as easy to be productive with, so many people are willing to make that tradeoff. There are some use cases, however, that truly need the benefit of faster execution. To address this problem Kevin Modzelewski helped to create the Pyston intepreter that is focused on speeding up unmodified Python code. In this episode he shares the history of the project, discusses his current efforts to optimize a fork of the CPython interpreter, and his goals for building a business to support the ongoing work to make Python faster for everyone. This is an interesting look at the opportunities that exist in the Python ecosystem and the work being done to address some of them.

Read More

How Python's Evolution Impacts Your Fluency With Luciano Ramalho - Episode 296

On its surface Python is a simple language which is what has contributed to its rise in popularity. As you move to intermediate and advanced usage you will find a number of interesting and elegant design elements that will let you build scalable and maintainable systems and design friendly interfaces. Luciano Ramalho is best known as the author of Fluent Python which has quickly become a leading resource for Python developers to increase their facility with the language. In this episode he shares his journey with Python and his perspective on how the recent changes to the interpreter and ecosystem are influencing who is adopting it and how it is being used. Luciano has an interesting perspective on how the feedback loop between the community and the language is driving the curent and future priorities of the features that are added.

Read More

Making The Case For A (Semi) Formal Specification Of CPython - Episode 288

The CPython implementation has grown and evolved significantly over the past ~25 years. In that time there have been many other projects to create compatible runtimes for your Python code. One of the challenges for these other projects is the lack of a fully documented specification of how and why everything works the way that it does. In the most recent Python language summit Mark Shannon proposed implementing a formal specification for CPython, and in this episode he shares his reasoning for why that would be helpful and what is involved in making it a reality.

Read More

The Journey To Replace Python's Parser And What It Means For The Future - Episode 285

The release of Python 3.9 introduced a new parser that paves the way for brand new features. Every programming language has its own specific syntax for representing the logic that you are trying to express. The way that the rules of the language are defined and validated is with a grammar definition, which in turn is processed by a parser. The parser that the Python language has relied on for the past 25 years has begun to show its age through mounting technical debt and a lack of flexibility in defining new syntax. In this episode Pablo Galindo and Lysandros Nikolaou explain how, together with Python’s creator Guido van Rossum, they replaced the original parser implementation with one that is more flexible and maintainable, why now was the time to make the change, and how it will influence the future evolution of the language.

Read More

Build Your Own Domain Specific Language in Python With textX - Episode 269

Programming languages are a powerful tool and can be used to create all manner of applications, however sometimes their syntax is more cumbersome than necessary. For some industries or subject areas there is already an agreed upon set of concepts that can be used to express your logic. For those cases you can create a Domain Specific Language, or DSL to make it easier to write programs that can express the necessary logic with a custom syntax. In this episode Igor Dejanović shares his work on textX and how you can use it to build your own DSLs with Python. He explains his motivations for creating it, how it compares to other tools in the Python ecosystem for building parsers, and how you can use it to build your own custom languages.

Read More

Building The Seq Language For Bioinformatics - Episode 257

Bioinformatics is a complex and computationally demanding domain. The intuitive syntax of Python and extensive set of libraries make it a great language for bioinformatics projects, but it is hampered by the need for computational efficiency. Ariya Shajii created the Seq language to bridge the divide between the performance of languages like C and C++ and the ecosystem of Python with built-in support for commonly used genomics algorithms. In this episode he describes his motivation for creating a new language, how it is implemented, and how it is being used in the life sciences. If you are interested in experimenting with sequencing data then give this a listen and then give Seq a try!

Read More

Protecting The Future Of Python By Hunting Black Swans - Episode 221

The Python language has seen exponential growth in popularity and usage over the past decade. This has been driven by industry trends such as the rise of data science and the continued growth of complex web applications. It is easy to think that there is no threat to the continued health of Python, its ecosystem, and its community, but there are always outside factors that may pose a threat in the long term. In this episode Russell Keith-Magee reprises his keynote from PyCon US in 2019 and shares his thoughts on potential black swan events and what we can do as engineers and as a community to guard against them.

Read More

Exploring Python's Internals By Rewriting Them In Rust - Episode 207

The CPython interpreter has been the primary implementation of the Python runtime for over 20 years. In that time other options have been made available for different use cases. The most recent entry to that list is RustPython, written in the memory safe language Rust. One of the added benefits is the option to compile to WebAssembly, offering a browser-native Python runtime. In this episode core maintainers Windel Bouwman and Adam Kelly explain how the project got started, their experience working on it, and the plans for the future. Definitely worth a listen if you are curious about the inner workings of Python and how you can get involved in a relatively new project that is contributing to new options for running your code.

Read More