PyDev of the Week: Bryan Van de Ven

This week we welcome Bryan Van de Ven (@bigreddot) as our PyDev of the Week! Bryan is a core developer of the Bokeh project, which is a visualization package for Python. He has also helped with the development of Anaconda. You can check out what projects he is a part of on Github. Let’s take a few moments to learn some more about our fellow Pythonista!

Can you tell us a little about yourself (hobbies, education, etc):

I currently work for Continuum Analytics in Austin, TX. I’ve been around there since day one, and helped with the development of Anaconda and the conda package manager early on. I’m very interested in the question of finding sustainable ways for companies to truly help and support open source and open source communities.

My educational path was a bit meandering. I studied Computer Science, then Physics and Mathematics at the University of Texas. I was lucky enough to have the opportunity to take classes from Dijkstra and Weinberg while I was there. Later, I went to grad school for Physics at UCLA, but (fortunately!) left the PhD program early. Fun fact: UC system diplomas have the Governor’s signature, so at the end of all that at least I got an Arnold Schwarzenegger autograph!

For relaxing, I cook, work out, travel when I can, and practice Portuguese. I also love going to “Master Pancake Theater” movie-mocking shows at the Alamo Drafthouse. Anyone who visits Austin should try to check them out: https://drafthouse.com/series/master-pancake

Why did you start using Python?

Somewhere around 1997 (Python 1.4) At the time I used Python for some light system administration type work. Since then I’ve used Python off and on, both personally and professionally. I’ve been using python extensively for the last five years.

What other programming languages do you know and which is your favorite?

My first programming experiences were with LOGO (“Turtle Graphics”) on a TRS-80, and then Commodore BASIC, 6502 and 8086 Assembly, Pascal, and LISP. Professionally, over the years I’ve worked in Perl, Tcl, Python, C, C++, Objective-C, Matlab, Mathematica, Delphi, and CoffeeScript. I’m not sure I have one favorite! There are times I love being able to easily monkey-patch things in Python and there are times I enjoy having static typing. Right tool for the job, etc.

What projects are you working on now?

I spend almost all of my time on Bokeh, which is a platform for creating interactive visualizations and data applications in the browser, easily from Python. I spend time as an individual contributor, doing project management, offering community support (which is getting harder as the community grows!), and traveling and speaking about Bokeh at conferences like Strata, PyData, and PyBay.

Which Python libraries are your favorite (core or 3rd party)?

Bokeh 🙂

Where do you see Python going as a programming language?

Python’s great strength and its most important staying power (IMO) has been it’s ability to be a tremendous “glue” language that let’s people pull many different things together to get a job done. There are all kinds of interesting developments on the horizon, especially in terms of storage and compute. The future will be even more heterogeneous than now, and I expect Python will be in the center of it all.

What is your take on the current market for Python programmers?

Python is gaining in usage and popularity, in many areas, and especially around data science. It’s a good time to be working in Python.

Thanks so much!

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