PyDev of the Week: Ben Bangert

This week we welcome Ben Bangert as our PyDev of the Week! Ben is the mastermind behind the Pylons project, which was a web framework in Python. It is now known as Pyramid. If you have a moment or two, you should check out Ben’s website or his Github profile to see what he’s been up to. Let’s spend some time learning more about him!

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

I’ve been programming professionally for about 17 years. I graduated from Sonoma State University with a Philosophy degree in 2001, and have been living in beautiful Sonoma County ever since. I live here with my wife, son, and two dogs, whom I regularly take on walks throughout the day. When the weather is good I like to BBQ, go on hikes, and take trips out to the local county parks.

I currently work at Mozilla, on the Push team where we’re building a large-scale Push service for Firefox.

Why did you start using Python?

Before Python, I was a Perl/PHP/C++ programmer. It was during one particularly heinous Perl debugging session, after spending 2 days chasing a bug by dropping print statements through hundreds of lines of code, to eventually discover that an implicit hash key creation had been the cause to decide, “Surely, there must be something designed better”. I began looking around, and noticed that Python didn’t have such implicit behavior. It seemed designed to avoid bugs like this, and I was hooked.

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

At one time I knew to varying degrees, Pascal, C++, Java, Scheme, PHP, and Perl. I can currently hack my way through Javascript, Haskell, and Go. I’ve also been learning Rust as it fascinates me quite a bit. My favorite language is probably Haskell but I think Rust will be soon.

What projects are you working on now?

I’ve mostly retired from working on open-source projects in my ‘spare time’ since all my work at Mozilla is open-source by default. The projects I most recently worked on are kazoo (a Zookeeper pure-Python client), heka (a Go-based log shipper/analyzer), loads-broker (a Python 3 AWS-based load-testing tool), and my current Push work which is all Python (

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

In no particular order:
– twisted
– pyramid
– click
– cryptography
– prompt-toolkit

Where do you see Python going as a programming language?

I think use of Python will continue to expand for some time and we’ll see an uptick in interesting new libraries and frameworks as Python 3.5 and later hit wide-spread adoption. I’d still like to see the multi-core issue solved better, and have high hopes that PyPy or something similar will be the way we get there.

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

I haven’t looked around for a job lately but if the recruiter-spam is anything to go by then the market is looking better than ever for Python programmers.

Is there anything else you’d like to say?

If you haven’t tried running your Python programs under PyPy, I’d highly recommend giving it a spin. I’m still baffled that people will rewrite entire programs in a ‘faster language’ before seriously evaluating PyPy.

Thanks for doing the interview!