PyDev of the Week: Ed Leafe

This week we welcome Ed Leafe (@EdLeafe) as our PyDev of the Week! Ed is one of the co-creators of the Dabo Application Framework, which is a neat wrapper around wxPython and is aimed at building database driven applications, although you can use it for more than that. Ed also authors a fun tech blog. Let’s take a few minutes to get to know him better!

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

I’ve had many careers, with software development being the latest and longest one. While my degree is in Biochemistry, CS was a minor, so computers have always been somewhere in the picture. For example, I’ve had 3 startup businesses, but they were all in the construction field, and unlike today, we had to be profitable from the start. But to tie that to today, I partnered with an architect (an actual licensed building architect, not a self-important programmer) to come up with 3-D visualizations of decks, additions, etc, that used photographs as a base with a CAD program drawing on top. The CAD items were linked to a database, so we could generate both a parts list and an estimate directly from the drawing. If the customer wanted to change something, such as add a window, we made the change on the drawing, and the estimate updated accordingly. Oh, and this was in the 1989-91 time frame, running on a Mac SE.

I’m also a photographer. I exhibited quite a bit when I was younger, and am starting to get back into it. Here’s some of my recent work:

Why did you start using Python?

In the early 90s I had sort of fallen into a programming gig for a medical app that was written in FoxPro DOS, and within a couple of years I became a Microsoft MVP for FoxPro and Visual FoxPro. I built a successful consulting business that lasted for many years… and then Microsoft discontinued FoxPro, and refused to release the code. Faced with a dead product that I had invested many hours mastering, I vowed that I would never make that mistake again, so I started looking into the world of Open Source. I tried many languages and packages, but the first time I tried Python things just clicked. It fit my brain. So I started developing in it, and went to PyCon 2004 in Washington, DC. At PyCon I found a wonderful, welcoming community, and that pretty much convinced me to stick with Python ever since.

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

I know SQL, Perl, C, some Java, and, of course, Xbase (the language of dBase and FoxPro). I know JavaScript, too, but it never seems to make sense to me. And every time I have to use Ruby I’m reminded why I like Python so much. Lately I’ve played with Go and Swift a little bit, just to see what they had to offer, but haven’t done anything serious with those. It’s pretty much Python for me.

What projects are you working on now?

I’m working full-time on OpenStack Nova, the compute portion of that cloud product. I was one of the original developers of Nova, and then had my job changed for a few years. Now I’m back on Nova, and love working to make it better and better. I also maintain Dabo, which I co-created. Dabo is an implementation of a Visual FoxPro-like product, design to make creating desktop database applications.

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

Any one that works for what I need it to do. 🙂

Is there anything else you’d like to say?

Just some advice to those who are early in their careers: programming is fun and can consume your full attention, but don’t get sucked into any job that demands 60+ hours a week, no matter how much it pays. Life is much, much more than coding. And it is only when you are happy in all of your life that you will write your best code.

Thanks for doing the interview!