PyDev of the Week: Tracy Osborn

This week we welcome Tracy Osborn as our PyDev of the Week. She is active in the Django portion of the Python universe. Let’s spend some time getting to know her.


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

Sure thing! I’ve been building websites since I was 12 — 1996! — and I’ve always enjoyed working on the web. I originally went to university for Computer Science but had an awful time with Java. Since I enjoyed the visual aspects of working with the web more, I transferred to an art degree, specializing in graphic design, and became a web designer. I worked primarily front-end until I started building WeddingLovely, my startup, when I taught myself how to program in Python and Django.

Off the computer, I love being outdoors — I’m an avid backpacker and I love mountaineering. Last summer, I did the John Muir Trail solo, which is a bit over 200 miles and takes about three weeks. One of the best things I’ve ever done.

Why did you start using Python?

As mentioned before, I had a terrible time with Java which caused some lasting fear around programming. My now-husband is a Python-er and recommended Learn Python the Hard Way (which is such a great easy intro to Python and programming logic) and Django, which is so great for web apps. By the time I launched my first app (WeddingInviteLove), I didn’t know a ton of Python, but as the app and my startup grew, I kept learning and getting better at programming.

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

I don’t think I remember a thing about Java any more! I pretty much only know Python and a bit of Javascript.

What projects are you working on now?

Programming-wise, I’m still working on WeddingLovely as the sole programmer. It pretty much runs itself but I’m still building features as well as more ways to make it automated. It’s still fun to work on, plus I have about 5,000 businesses partnered now which is really motivating.

I’m also working on marketing my programming book, Hello Web App. The book was released on May 4th this year (May the fourth be with you!) but I have been releasing tutorials to supplement the book, like this contact form tutorial.

I’m also releasing a followup book named Hello Web App: Intermediate Concepts, which’ll be released in December! The new book covers topics like adding payments, an API, working with front-end tools like Sass, and other intermediate concepts. It’s fundraising on Kickstarter now:

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

I recently used EasyPost to generate the labels for my Hello Web App books — so much easier than using USPS! I wrote a tool using their API here.

Is there anything else you’d like to say?

I really love Python and building web apps is so much fun. I’ve really enjoyed bringing more people into the Python fold!


The Last 10 PyDevs of the Week