Tools used by Python Super Stars – First Edition

I personally asked several top developers the following five simple questions:

1. What’s your primary development focus currently ?
2. What Hardware are you using for your projects ?
3. Which Editor or IDE do you use ?
4. What’s your future plans ?
5. Any Suggestions for Python users ?

So i did just that. I chose some top authors and asked them the same five questions. You’ll find the answers they gave below and hopefully discover some tools that could make your development much easier.

Alex Martelli

Bio: Alex Martelli is an Italian computer engineer and member of the Python Software Foundation. Since early 2005, he works as “Über Tech Lead” for Google, Inc. in Mountain View, California. He holds a Laurea in Electrical Engineering from Bologna University (1980); he is the author of Python in a Nutshell, co-editor of the Python Cookbook, and has written other (mostly Python-related) materials. Martelli won the 2002 Activators’ Choice Award, and the 2006 Frank Willison award for outstanding contributions to the Python community.

Connect with Alex Martelli on his blog.

Q.1 What’s your primary development focus?

Proprietary software for my employer’s (Google’s) use, mostly Business Intelligence.

Q.2 What Hardware are you using for your projects ?

Mostly Google’s cloud servers, directly or via Google App Engine. A little, a Unix workstation and a Macbook Air.

Q.3 Which Editor or IDE do you use ?

vim, gvim, mvim; occasionally iPython but no actual IDE.

Q.4 What’s your future plans ?

Most likely stay with Google — in exactly what field(s) will depend on opportunities.

Q.5 Any Suggestions for Python users ?

Learn App Engine (with webapp2 or flask, jinja2, &c, not heavy environments like django): great for 90+% of your web projects — and if you ever need to deploy a web app elsewhere, Appscale may let you do most easily.

Daniel Greenfeld

Bio: Daniel Greenfeld is the co-author of Two Scoops of django and he has a experience of about 6+ years in Django field. He is a former NASA engineer and from there, he started his Python venture and came this far into Python. He is currently Principal at Cartwheel Web.

Connect with Daniel on Twitter: @pydanny and on his blog.

Q.1 What’s your primary development focus?

My primary development focus is on client work that is mostly Python. Django is used sometimes to serve content, but the vast majority of my current work is outside the web.

Q.2 What Hardware are you using for your projects ?

For hardware, I used a 2011-era Macbook Air. Because of the way I type, ultrabooks like the Macbook Air are really nice. Since Apple products are so expensive and I buy my own gear, I plan to run that laptop into the ground. If I got a new laptop tomorrow I would try and
get either a Linux-friendly ultrabook or even a tablet/laptop hybrid running Windows 8 (This is where I would lean on Vagrant and VirtualBox).

Q.3 Which Editor or IDE do you use ?

I use Sublime Text. I vastly prefer text editors over IDEs, as I like being forced to dig into a library and it’s documentation myself rather than have a tool do tons of introspection.

Q.4 What’s your future plans ?

My future plans are to code, write, and exercise, and do all three as best I can. Maybe take a trip somewhere new. I love going to new places, meeting new people, and trying new foods. However, as most of our travel has been based out of client needs, this year we’re not sure what’s going to happen.

Q.5 Any Suggestions for Python users ?

My suggestions to Python users are to push the envelope. Find new libraries and practices and try them out. Some of them won’t be so good, but the bad ones teach you something (what not to do).

Miguel Grinberg

Miguel is a software engineer, photographer and filmmaker in Portland, Oregon, USA. He is currently writing a book on web development with Python and Flask, to be published by O’Reilly Media in 2014. The official site for Flask Book.

Connect with Miguel on Twitter: @miguelgrinberg and on his blog.

Q.1 What’s your primary development focus?

This may surprise you, but at work I don’t do web development work. I work for Harmonic  on video software for the broadcast industry. C++ is my main language at the office, but we have a pretty sophisticated unit testing and automation framework written in Python that is also fun to work on.

On my free time my number one project these days is my book on the Flask microframework for O’Reilly, which is in its final stages of completion.

Q.2 What Hardware are you using for your projects ?

My desktop machine dual boots Ubuntu and Windows 8. I also have a Mac OS X laptop.

I’m a bit of a cross-platform freak. Except when I’m writing code for an embedded platform such as the Arduino, all the code I write (on any language) runs on the three major platforms. To achieve this I’m constantly switch between my Linux, Windows and OS X machines.

Q.3 Which Editor or IDE do you use ?

I have a few favorites. PyCharm is very good, so I’m using it more and more for larger projects due mostly to its interactive debugger.

On Windows the Python plugin for Visual Studio is an excellent free IDE that I’m sure many never heard of.

I also use SublimeText quite a bit, more so when I’m working on my book.

Notepad++ is always at hand on my Windows PC. I also have good old Vim in all my computers, even on Windows under Cygwin.

Q.4 What’s your future plans ?

I’m giving a tutorial on Flask at PyCon in April, so I’m starting to prepare for this event, as the book effort winds down.

I haven’t been blogging much lately and I miss it a lot. I’m looking forward to have more time to blog. I have been making a list of new topics I want to write about. If you want an advance, an article on using web sockets with Flask is near the top of my list. :)

Q.5 Any Suggestions for Python users ?

My recommendation for any developers, not only Pythonistas, is to spend as much time as you can on doing things, and then to share what you’ve done with the world. The sharing part is important, getting feedback from others is how you improve and get better.

More specifically for Python coders, I wonder how better we would be if all the time we spend discussing Python 2 vs. Python 3 was instead spent on porting more software to Python 3. Just saying…

Great Stuff!

It’s great to be able to peak behind the curtains of other developers and see how they do the magic they do. And from what you can see, the tools and technologies they use are all easily available, and in many cases for free. I’d like to thank the authors for sharing this information.

  • pebre79

    I really like the topics you cover in each of your articles. Keep up the great work!

  • laike9m

    So true “I wonder how better we would be if all the time we spend discussing Python 2 vs. Python 3 was instead spent on porting more software to Python 3. Just saying…”