Episode #132: Algorithms as objects
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Brian #1: History of CircuitPython
- PSF blog, A. Jesse Jiryu Davis
- Adafruit hired Scott Shawcroft to port MicroPython to their SAMD21 chip they use on many of their boards.
- CircuitPython is a friendly fork of MicroPython. Same licensing, and they share improvements back and forth.
- “MicroPython customizes its hardware APIs for each chip family to provide speed and flexibility for hardware experts. Adafruit’s audience, however, is first-time coders. Shawcroft said, “Our goal is to focus on the first five minutes someone has ever coded.” “
- “Shawcroft aims to remove all roadblocks for beginners to be productive with CircuitPython. As he demonstrated, CircuitPython auto-reloads and runs code when the user saves it; there are two more user experience improvements in the latest release. First, serial output is shown on a connected display, so a program like
print("hello world")will have visible output even before the coder learns how to control LEDs or other observable effects.”
- Related: CircuitPython 4.0.0 released
Michael #2: R Risks Python Swallowing It Whole: TIOBE
- Is the R programming language in serious trouble? According to the latest update of the TIOBE Index, the answer seems to be “yes.”
- R has finally tumbled out of the top 20 languages
- “It seems that there is a consolidation going on in the statistical programming market. Python has become the big winner.”
- Briefly speculates why is Python (which ranked fourth on this month’s list) winning big in data science? My thought: Python is a full spectrum language with solid numerical support.
- Aymen El Amri
- Understanding containerization through history
- chroot jail, 1979, allowed isolation of a root process and it’s children from the rest of the OS, but with no security restrictions.
- FreeBSD Jail, 2000, more secure, also isolating the file system.
- Linux VServer, 2001, added “security contextes” and used new OS system-level virtualization. Allows you to run multiple Linux distros on a single VPS.
- Oracle Solaris Containers, 2004, system resource controls and boundary separation provided by “zone”.
- OpenVZ, 2005, OS-level virtualization. Used by many hosting companies to isolate and sell VPSs.
- Google’s CGroups, 2007, a mechanizm to limit and isolate resource usage. Was mainlained into Linux kernel the same year.
- LXC, Linux Containers, 2008, Similar to OpenVX, but uses CGroups.
- CloudFoundry’s Warden, 2013, an API to manage environments.
- Docker, 2013, os-level virtualization
- Google’s LMCTFY (Let me contain that for you), 2014, an OSS version of Google’s container stack, providing Linux application containers. Most of this tech is being incorporated into libcontainer.
- “Everything at Google runs on containers. There are more than 2 billion containers running on Google infrastructure every week.”
- CoreOS’s rkt, 2014, an alternative to Docker.
- Lots of terms defined
- VPS, Virtual Machine, System VM, Process VM, …
- OS Containers vs App Containers
Docker is both a Container and a Platform
This is halfway through the article, and where I got lost in an example on creating a container sort of from scratch. I think I’ll skip to a Docker tutorial now, but really appreciate the back story and mental model of containers.
Michael #4: Algorithms as objects
- We usually think of an algorithm as a single function with inputs and outputs.
- Our algorithms textbooks reinforce this notion.
- They present very concise descriptions that neatly fit in half of a page.
- Little details add up until you’re left with a gigantic, monolithic function
- monolithic function lacks readability
- the function also lacks maintainability
- Nobody wants to touch this code because it’s such a pain to get any context
- Complex code requires abstractions
- How to tell if your algorithm is an object
- Code smell #1. It’s too long or too deeply nested
- Code smell #2. Banner comments
- Code smell #3. Helper functions as nested closures, but it’s still too long
- Code smell #4. There are actual helper functions, but they shouldn’t be called by anyone else
- Code smell #5. You’re passing state between your helper functions
- Write your algorithm as an object
- Refactoring a monolithic algorithm into a class improves readability, which is is our #1 goal.
- Lots of concrete examples in the article
Brian #5: pico-pytest
- Oliver Bestwalter
- Super tiny implementation of pytest core. 25 lines
- My original hand crafted test framework was way more code than that, and not as readable.
- This is good to look at to understand the heart of what test frameworks do
- find test code
- run it
- mark any exceptions as failures
- Of course, the bells and whistles added in the full implementation are super important, but this is the heart of what is happening.
- Cython is one of the best kept secrets of Python.
- It extends Python in a direction that addresses many of the shortcomings of the language and the platform, such as execution speed, GIL-free concurrency, absence of type checking and not creating an executable.
- Number of widely used packages that are written in it, such as spaCy, uvloop, and significant parts of scikit-learn, Numpy and Pandas.
- Cython makes use of the architectural organization of Python by translating (or 'transpiling', as it is now called) a Python file into the C equivalent of what the Python runtime would be doing, and compiling this into machine code.
- Can sometimes avoid Python types altogether (e.g.
- C arrays versus lists: Python collection types (list, dict, tuple and set) can be used as a type in
cdeffunctions. The problem with the list structure, however, is that it leads to Python runtime interaction, and is accordingly slow
- Nice article for getting started and motivation. But I didn’t see Python type annotations in play (they are now supported)
- The Price of the Hallway Track - Hynek
- It’s lame to speak to an empty room, so go to some talks, and lean toward less known speakers. Definitely on my todo list for next year.
- Who put Python in the Windows 10 May 2019 Update? - Steve Dower
- more back story
- Little development board to production via Crowd Supply: The TinyPICO is an ESP32-based board that's, well, tiny ;) but packs a pretty significant punch...and it's been designed from day 1 to have first-class MicroPython support! via matt_trentini
- PyCon 2019 Reflections by Automation Panda
- Python Bytes (yeah, us!) has a Patreon page.
- Upcoming webcast: 10 Tools and Techniques Python Web Developers Should Explore
- What do you call eight hobbits? A hobbyte.
- Two bytes meet. The first byte asks, 'Are you ill?' The second byte replies, 'No, just feeling a bit off.’
- OR: What is Benoit B. Mandelbrot's middle name? Benoit B. Mandelbrot.