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#184: Too many ways to wait with await?

Published Fri, Jun 5, 2020, recorded Wed, May 27, 2020

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Michael #1: Waiting in asyncio

  • by Hynek Schlawack
  • One of the main appeals of using Python’s asyncio is being able to fire off many coroutines and run them concurrently. How many ways do you know for waiting for their results?
  • The simplest case is to await your coroutines:
        result_f = await f()
        result_g = await g()
  • Drawbacks:
    1. The coroutines do not run concurrently. g only starts executing after f has finished.
    2. You can’t cancel them once you started awaiting.
  • asyncio.Tasks wrap your coroutines and get independently scheduled for execution by the event loop whenever you yield control to it

        task_f = asyncio.create_task(f())
        task_g = asyncio.create_task(g())
        await asyncio.sleep(0.1) # <- f() and g() are already running!
        result_f = await task_f
        result_g = await task_g
  • Your tasks now run concurrently and if you decide that you don’t want to wait for task_f or task_g to finish, you can cancel them using task_f.cancel()

  • asyncio.gather() takes 1 or more awaitables as *args, wraps them in tasks if necessary, and waits for all of them to finish. Then it returns the results of all awaitables in the same order
        result_f, result_g = await asyncio.gather(f(), g())
  • asyncio.wait_for() allows for passing a time out
  • A more elegant approach to timeouts is the async-timeout package on PyPI. It gives you an asynchronous context manager that allows you to apply a total timeout even if you need to execute the coroutines sequentially

        async with async_timeout.timeout(5.0):
            await f()
            await g()
  • asyncio.as_completed() takes an iterable of awaitables and returns an iterator that yields asyncio.Futures in the order the awaitables are done

        for fut in asyncio.as_completed([task_f, task_g], timeout=5.0):
                await fut
                print("one task down!")
            except Exception:
  • Michael’s Async Python course.

Brian #2: virtualenv is faster than venv

  • virtualenv docs: “virtualenv is a tool to create isolated Python environments. Since Python 3.3, a subset of it has been integrated into the standard library under the venv module. The venv module does not offer all features of this library, to name just a few more prominent:
    • is slower (by not having the app-data seed method),
    • is not as extendable,
    • cannot create virtual environments for arbitrarily installed python versions (and automatically discover these),
    • is not upgrade-able via pip,
    • does not have as rich programmatic API (describe virtual environments without creating them).”
  • pro: faster: under 0.5 seconds vs about 2.5 seconds
  • con: the --prompt is weird. I like the parens and the space, and 3.9’s magic “.” option for prompt to name it after the current directory.
  • pro: the pip you get in your env is already updated
  • conclusion:
    • I’m on the fence for my own use. Probably leaning more toward keeping built in. But not having to update pip is nice.
    • For teaching, I’ll stick with the built in venv.
    • The “extendable” and “has an API” parts really don’t matter much to me.
          $ time python3.9 -m venv venv --prompt .
          real 0m2.698s
          user 0m2.055s
          sys 0m0.606s
          $ source venv/bin/activate
          (try) $ deactivate
          $ rm -fr venv
          $ time python3.9 -m virtualenv venv --prompt "(try) "
          real 0m0.384s
          user 0m0.202s
          sys 0m0.255s
          $ source venv/bin/activate
          (try) $

Michael #3: Latency in Asynchronous Python

  • Article by Chris Wellons
  • Was debugging a misbehaving Python program that makes significant use of Python’s asyncio.
  • The program would eventually take very long periods of time to respond to network requests.
  • The program’s author had made a couple of fundamental mistakes using asyncio.
  • Scenario:
    • Have a “heartbeat” async method that beats once every ms:
      • heartbeat delay = 0.001s
      • heartbeat delay = 0.001s
    • Have a computational amount of work that takes 10ms
    • Need to run a bunch of these computational things (say 200).
    • But starting the heartbeat blocks the asyncio event loop
    • See my example at
  • Unsync fixes this and improves the code! Here’s my example:
  • Need to limit the number of “active” tasks at a time.
  • Solving it with a job queue: Here’s what does work: a job queue. Create a queue to be populated with coroutines (not tasks), and have a small number of tasks run jobs from the queue.

Brian #4: How to Deprecate a PyPI Package

  • Paul McCann, @polm23
  • A collection of options of how to get people to stop using your package on PyPI. Also includes code samples ore example packages that use some of these methods.
  • Options:
    • Add deprecation warnings: Useful for parts of your package you want people to stop using, like some of the API, etc.
    • Delete it: Deleting a package or version ok for quick oops mistakes, but allows someone else to grab the name, which is bad. Probably don’t do this.
    • Redirect shim: Add a shim that just installs a different package. Cool idea, but a bit creepy.
    • Fail during install: Intentionally failing during install and redirecting people to use a different package or just explain why this one is dead. I think I like this the best.

Michael #5: Another progress bar library: Enlighten

  • by Avram Lubkin
  • A few unique features:
  • Multicolored progress bars - It's like many progress bars in one! You could use this in testing, where red is failure, green is success, and yellow is an error. Or maybe when loading something in stages such as loaded, started, connected, and the percentage of the bar for each color changes as the services start up. Has 24-bit color support.
  • Writing to stdout and stderr just works! There are a lot of progress bars. Most of them just print garbage if you write to the terminal when they are running.
  • Automatically handles resizing! (except on Windows)
  • See the animation on the home page.

Brian #6: Code Ocean

  • Contributed by Daniel Mulkey
  • From Daniel “a peer-reviewed journal I read (SPIE's Optical Engineering) has a recommended platform for associating code with your article. It looks like it's focused on reproducibility in science. “
  • Code Ocean is a research collaboration platform that supports researchers from the beginning of a project through publication.
  • This is a paid service, but has a free tier.
  • Supports:
    • C/C++
    • Fortran
    • Java
    • Julia
    • Lua
    • MATLAB
    • Python (including jupyter) (why is this listed so low? should be at the top!)
    • R
    • Stata
  • From the “About Us” page:
    • “We built a platform that can help give researchers back 20% of the time they spend troubleshooting technology in order to run and reproduce past work before completing new experiments.”
    • “Code Ocean is an open access platform for code and data where users can develop, share, publish, and download code through a web browser, eliminating the need to install software on personal computers. Our mission is to make computational research easier, more collaborative, and durable.”




  • SpaceX launch, lots of Python in action.


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