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Checking in on Python

Guido Van Rossum on the state of Python and the two services that are helping to push it forward.

Guido van Rossum is the creator of Python. I recently had the opportunity to talk with him about the state of the language.

You probably don’t realize it, but Python’s capabilities are pushed every time you use YouTube and Dropbox. During our interview, Van Rossum said both of these services are at the forefront of Python’s development.

“Whenever someone clicks on a [YouTube] video, they will see HTML that was generated from Python,” he said. “That’s definitely pushing the limits.” [Discussed 27 seconds in — you can see the scalability presentation that Van Rossum mentions during this segment here.]

On the Dropbox side, Van Rossum said the service’s clients for Linux, Windows and Mac are all implemented in Python. You’re also downloading a miniature version of the Python runtime when you’re using Dropbox. [Noted at 1:20.]

Van Rossum also spoke about the lengthy transition Python has undergone from Python 2 to Python 3. “If you want improvements to your Python … now is the time to start trying out Python 3.” Why? While the changes to the language are actually quite small, with the exception of unicode handling being completely overhauled, Python 3 is a better, faster version of Python. In addition, many third parties like Django are coming on line with libraries and frameworks for Python 3. [Discussed at the 7:01 mark.]

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