PyDev of the Week: Nicole Harris

This week we welcome Nicole Harris (@nlhkabu) as our PyDev of the Week! Nicole is the lead designer of Warehouse, the replacement for the Python Packaging Index (PyPI). You can see a demo version of the site here. She is also working with O’Reilly publishing on a Django screencast, which you’ll hear more about below. Nicole also has a fun blog that is well worth checking out. Let’s take a few moments to get to know her better!

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

I’ve always been a creative person. I studied film and photography at university and got into web design (which eventually led me to Python) because I wanted to create an online portfolio of my animation works. I never launched that portfolio – but I did fall in love with the web.

In my spare time, I like to cook and sew. I’m also learning to speak French.

Why did you start using Python?

I was running a small consulting business with my husband (who is also a Python developer); him working primarily with Django, and me working on the design side. We had more and more development work coming through, so I decided to learn Python and Django so that I could help out.

To my complete surprise, I absolutely loved working on the back end. Being able to solve my own problems and build things from the ground up was a real revelation.

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

Given my background, I have very intimate knowledge of HTML and CSS, and by extension SCSS.

I dabble in Javascript, with one of my goals for 2016 being to improve my JS proficiency. I’m quite excited about this, because ES6 has a lot of ‘Python like’ features. Given these programming languages have quite different applications, I don’t feel I can say which is my favourite. But let’s put it this way – I’m in no hurry to replace Python with something else for what I use it for.

What projects are you working on now?

I’m leading the design of Warehouse, which is due to replace PyPI this year. The project is really exciting and we’re always looking for contributors. A summary of the work done so far (and how the community can help) can be found on my blog.

I’m also working on a Django project called Connect. The idea is to create a safe, moderated space for connecting members of a community (technical or otherwise). I’m hoping to launch it as a mentorship platform for the Django community. I haven’t been able to make much progress on this lately, but I’m hoping to change that soon!

Finally, I recently finished recording a screencast for O’Reilly Media: ‘Introduction to Django: A Practical Guide to Setting Up, Creating, and Deploying Django Projects’. I’m really happy to be passing on my Django knowledge to newcomers.

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

Django! I also love using FactoryBoy for testing, especially since the recent integration with Faker.

Is there anything else you’d like to say?

Thanks to Mike for reaching out to me! I’m absolutely thrilled to be featured alongside so many great Pythonistas.

For new Python developers, my message is: Get out there! There are so many great projects to work on and people to meet!

Thank you for doing the interview!