Software Engineering

Make Your Code More Readable With The Magic Of Refactoring Using Sourcery - Episode 308

Writing code that is easy to read and understand will have a lasting impact on you and your teammates over the life of a project. Sometimes it can be difficult to identify opportunities for simplifying a block of code, especially if you are early in your journey as a developer. If you work with senior engineers they can help by pointing out ways to refactor your code to be more readable, but they aren’t always available. Brendan Maginnis and Nick Thapen created Sourcery to act as a full time pair programmer sitting in your editor of choice, offering suggestions and automatically refactoring your Python code. In this episode they share their journey of building a tool to automatically find opportunities for refactoring in your code, including how it works under the hood, the types of refactoring that it supports currently, and how you can start using it in your own work today. It always pays to keep your tool box organized and your tools sharp and Sourcery is definitely worth adding to your repertoire.

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CrossHair: Your Automatic Pair Programmer - Episode 302

One of the perennial challenges in software engineering is to reduce the opportunity for bugs to creep into the system. Some of the tools in our arsenal that help in this endeavor include rich type systems, static analysis, writing tests, well defined interfaces, and linting. Phillip Schanely created the CrossHair project in order to add another ally in the fight against broken code. It sits somewhere between type systems, automated test generation, and static analysis. In this episode he explains his motivation for creating it, how he uses it for his own projects, and how to start incorporating it into yours. He also discusses the utility of writing contracts for your functions, and the differences between property based testing and SMT solvers. This is an interesting and informative conversation about some of the more nuanced aspects of how to write well-behaved programs.

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Exploring Literate Programming For Python Projects With nbdev - Episode 300

Creating well designed software is largely a problem of context and understanding. The majority of programming environments rely on documentation, tests, and code being logically separated despite being contextually linked. In order to weave all of these concerns together there have been many efforts to create a literate programming environment. In this episode Jeremy Howard of fast.ai fame and Hamel Husain of GitHub share the work they have done on nbdev. The explain how it allows you to weave together documentation, code, and tests in the same context so that it is more natural to explore and build understanding when working on a project. It is built on top of the Jupyter environment, allowing you to take advantage of the other great elements of that ecosystem, and it provides a number of excellent out of the box features to reduce the friction in adopting good project hygiene, including continuous integration and well designed documentation sites. Regardless of whether you have been programming for 5 days, 5 years, or 5 decades you should take a look at nbdev to experience a different way of looking at your code.

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Making The Sans I/O Ideal A Reality For The Websockets Library - Episode 299

Working with network protocols is a common need for software projects, particularly in the current age of the internet. As a result, there are a multitude of libraries that provide interfaces to the various protocols. The problem is that implementing a network protocol properly and handling all of the edge cases is hard, and most of the available libraries are bound to a particular I/O paradigm which prevents them from being widely reused. To address this shortcoming there has been a movement towards “sans I/O” implementations that provide the business logic for a given protocol while remaining agnostic to whether you are using async I/O, Twisted, threads, etc. In this episode Aymeric Augustin shares his experience of refactoring his popular websockets library to be I/O agnostic, including the challenges involved in how to design the interfaces, the benefits it provides in simplifying the tests, and the work needed to add back support for async I/O and other runtimes. This is a great conversation about what is involved in making an ideal a reality.

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Project Scaffolding That Evolves With Your Software Using Copier - Episode 297

Every software project has a certain amount of boilerplate to handle things like linting rules, test configuration, and packaging. Rather than recreate everything manually every time you start a new project you can use a utility to generate all of the necessary scaffolding from a template. This allows you to extract best practices and team standards into a reusable project that will save you time. The Copier project is one such utility that goes above and beyond the bare minimum by supporting project _evolution_, letting you bring in the changes to the source template after you already have a project that you have dedicated significant work on. In this episode Jairo Llopis explains how the Copier project works under the hood and the advanced capabilities that it provides, including managing the full lifecycle of a project, composing together multiple project templates, and how you can start using it for your own work today.

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Pants Has Got Your Python Monorepo Covered - Episode 290

In a software project writing code is just one step of the overall lifecycle. There are many repetitive steps such as linting, running tests, and packaging that need to be run for each project that you maintain. In order to reduce the overhead of these repeat tasks, and to simplify the process of integrating code across multiple systems the use of monorepos has been growing in popularity. The Pants build tool is purpose built for addressing all of the drudgery and for working with monorepos of all sizes. In this episode core maintainers Eric Arellano and Stu Hood explain how the Pants project works, the benefits of automatic dependency inference, and how you can start using it in your own projects today. They also share useful tips for how to organize your projects, and how the plugin oriented architecture adds flexibility for you to customize Pants to your specific needs.

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Cloud Native Application Delivery Using GitOps - Episode 284

The way that applications are being built and delivered has changed dramatically in recent years with the growing trend toward cloud native software. As part of this movement toward the infrastructure and orchestration that powers your project being defined in software, a new approach to operations is gaining prominence. Commonly called GitOps, the main principle is that all of your automation code lives in version control and is executed automatically as changes are merged. In this episode Victor Farcic shares details on how that workflow brings together developers and operations engineers, the challenges that it poses, and how it influences the architecture of your software. This was an interesting look at an emerging pattern in the development and release cycle of modern applications.

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Solving Python Package Creation For End User Applications With PyOxidizer - Episode 282

Python is a powerful and expressive programming language with a vast ecosystem of incredible applications. Unfortunately, it has always been challenging to share those applications with non-technical end users. Gregory Szorc set out to solve the problem of how to put your code on someone else’s computer and have it run without having to rely on extra systems such as virtualenvs or Docker. In this episode he shares his work on PyOxidizer and how it allows you to build a self-contained Python runtime along with statically linked dependencies and the software that you want to run. He also digs into some of the edge cases in the Python language and its ecosystem that make this a challenging problem to solve, and some of the lessons that he has learned in the process. PyOxidizer is an exciting step forward in the evolution of packaging and distribution for the Python language and community.

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Working In The Code Mines: Mining Software Repositories With PyDriller - Episode 277

A large portion of the software industry has standardized on Git as the version control sytem of choice. But have you thought about all of the information that you are generating with your branches, commits, and code changes? Davide Spadini created the PyDriller framework to simplify the work of mining software repositories to perform research on the technical and social aspects of software engineering. In this episode he shares some of the insights that you can gain by exploring the history of your code, the complexities of building a framework to interact with Git, and some of the interesting ways that PyDriller can be used to inform your own development practices.

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Idiomatic Functional Programming With DRY Python - Episode 272

Python is an intuitive and flexible language, but that versatility can also lead to problematic designs if you’re not careful. Nikita Sobolev is the CTO of Wemake Services where he works on open source projects that encourage clean coding practices and maintainable architectures. In this episode he discusses his work on the DRY Python set of libraries and how they provide an accessible interface to functional programming patterns while maintaining an idiomatic Python interface. He also shares the story behind the wemake Python styleguide plugin for Flake8 and the benefits of strict linting rules to engender good development habits. This was a great conversation about useful practices to build software that will be easy and fun to work on.

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