Episode #45: A really small web API and OS-level machine learning

Published Fri, Sep 29, 2017, recorded Wed, Sep 27, 2017.

This episode is brought to you by Rollbar: pythonbytes.fm/rollbar

Brian #1: pico

  • "a very small web application framework for Python"
  • Recommended by Ivan Pejić
  • lightning talk from EuroPython 2017
  • This would be a good web framework for building internal services and tools that non-web developers need to interact with and modify.
  • Very simple.
  • Not REST, but not confusing either.

Michael #2: High Sierra ships, first major OS with machine learning built in?

  • September 26th macOS High Sierra was released (yay)
  • Mostly a foundational release with barely visible changes but awesome things like APFS replacing HFS+, etc.
  • Comes with CoreML
    • Apple’s intent with the new CoreML framework is to package up prebuilt ML models and execution engines and make them possible for third-party apps to use.
    • Developers can take a trained machine learning algorithm, package it up as an MLModel, and integrate it into their apps.
    • Apple offers a few default machine learning models that developers can download and use too
  • Rather than sharing your data with a central server, grouping it together with a lot of other people's data, and improving machine learning models that way, Apple stresses that everything CoreML does is happening on the device.
  • On Macs that support Metal—generally, Macs from 2012 and later—CoreML uses a mix of CPU processing and GPGPU processing, depending on the task.
  • Add on the fact that High Sierra has external GPU support now and you have a sweet combo.

Brian #3: A guide to logging in Python

  • Simply put, the best logging introduction I've read so far.

Michael #4: Let me introduce: slots

  • So what are slots? __slots__ are a different way to define the attributes storage for classes in Python.
  • for normal Python classes, a dict is used to store the instance's attributes.
  • With __slots__ we don't have an attribute called __dict__ inside our instance. But we have a new attribute called __slots__.
  • But why would you need to use slots when you have a dict? Well the answer is that __slots__ are a lot lighter and slightly faster.
  • Outcome:
    • ~57% less memory usage thanks to just one line of code.
    • __slots__ are also slightly faster.
  • Covered in depth in my Write Pythonic Code Like a Seasoned Developer course.

Brian #5: pipenv revisited

  • Covered in episode 11. However, there are some notable changes since then.
  • Reminder:
    • pepenv handles virtualenv and pip interaction for you
    • pipenv install creates a virtualenv (if one doesn't exist) and installs stuff into a virtualenv.
    • pipenv shell uses the virtualenv
    • exit allows you to get out of the virtualenv
    • pipenv lock -r will generate a requirements.txt file for you, so you can use it even if you need a requirements.txt file.
  • Notable changes:
    • New 4 minute screencast with Kenneth demonstrating how to use it. Watching him use it makes it very simple to understand.
    • Specify multiple package indexes, and even specify a particular index for particular packages. So you can combine both pypi with a company index and a group index and maybe one for your project.
    • pipenv check will tell you about any known security vulnerabilities in your installed packages
    • 9 months old with 192 releases, so keep an eye on it for new features all the time.

Michael #6: Stack Overflow gives an even closer look at developer salaries

  • Tabs and spaces aren't the only things that influence developer pay…
  • Some of the broad trends are no big surprise; for example, the chosen cities tend to pay more than their respective nations do, for example.
  • DevOps specialists and data scientists both earn well.
  • Other aspects of the data are a little more surprising. Graphics programmers, for example, aren't particularly well paid, in spite of having a relatively specialized, complex niche.
  • And while earnings in four of the countries are surprisingly similar, those in America are substantially higher, regardless of experience; in fact, the median salary of a developer in the US is comparable to that of someone with 20 years of experience in Canada or Germany and markedly higher than 20-year veterans in France and the UK. Even after taking into account the US' higher healthcare costs, America is the place to be if you're a programmer.
  • Comments
    • I do have to wonder how much Silicon Valley skews that salary chart, as the Web 2.0 companies pay HUGE comparatively [ref]
    • I asked Stack Overflow's data scientist that question, and she said not much; even without its outlier cities, the US pays much more than the rest of the world. [ref]
    • Healthcare cost are only part of it. I got paid about $600/month 9 months a year by my government to study in university. [ref]
    • I feel like a lot of IT people lack soft skills, and it caps their salary at a lower end. [ref]

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