This week we welcome Paolo Melchiorre (@pauloxnet)as our PyDev of the Week! Paolo is a core developer of the Django web framework. He has spoken at several different Python-related conferences in Europe and also writes over on his 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 graduated with a degree in Computer Science from the University of Bologna. My thesis was about Free Software and since then I’ve been a Free Software advocate.
I’ve been a GNU/Linux user for 20 years and now I’m a happy user of Ubuntu.
In 2007 I attended my first conference, the Plone Conference, and since then Iâ€™ve attended many other pythonic conferences in Europe.
In 2017 I presented a talk at PyCon Italy and at EuroPython and since then I have been a conference speaker for local and international events, both in Italian and in English.
Iâ€™ve lived and worked in Rome and London, and since 2015 Iâ€™ve been a remote worker located in my hometown of Pescara in Italy, which is close to the beach and the mountains.
I love nature and spending my time swimming, snowboarding or hiking, but also traveling with my wife around the world.
I like improving my English skills by reading fiction books or listening to audiobooks, watching TV series and movies, listening to podcasts and attending local English speaking meetups.
I answer questions at stack overflow, tweet at @pauloxnet and occasionally post at paulox.net.
Why did you start using Python?
I started using Python in my first job because we developed websites with Plone and Zope.
I realized how much better Python was for me than other languages Iâ€™ve studied and used before because itâ€™s easier to learn, itâ€™s focused on code simplicity and readability, itâ€™s extensible and fast to write and has a fantastic community.
When I stopped using Plone I continued using Python as main programming language.
What other programming languages do you know and which is your favorite?
I started programming with Pascal during high school and then I learned HTML and CSS on my own to develop my first website as high school final essay.
Which Python libraries are your favorite (core or 3rd party)?
I work every day a lot with Django and PostgreSQL so apart from the Django framework itself I think my favourite python library is the Python-PostgreSQL database adapter psycopg2 because itâ€™s pretty solid and allows me to work with the database without the Django ORM when I need to do very low level operations and use all the great features of PostgreSQL.
How did you get started contributing to Django?
I started contributing to the core of Django during the sprint day at DjangoCon Europe 2017 with a pull request that integrated the PostgreSQL crypto extension in itâ€™s contrib package and it was merged in Django 2.0.
I presented a talk about the Django Full-text search feature at the Pycon Italy 2017 conference and then wrote the article “Full-text search with Django and PostgreSQL” based on this, but I realized that the Django Full-text search function was not used on the djangoproject.com site.
At EuroPython 2017 I organized a sprint about the search module of the djangoproject.com.
I completed a pull request that replaced Elasticsearch with the PostgreSQL Full-text search function on the official Django website and I continued updating this function with improvements in speed and multilingual support.
I presented a talk about this experience as an example of contribution to the Django project.
Why did you choose Django over Python web frameworks?
I started working with Plone and the Zope application framework which stores all information in Zope’s built-in transactional object database (ZODB).
I started using Django when I needed to store data in a relational database like PostgreSQL, and after some research, I realized it was the best choice.
I appreciate itâ€™s architecture, the ORM, the admin module, the PostgreSQL support, all its ready-to-use modules like GeoDjango, all the 3rd party packages, and particularly the community behind it.
What projects are you working on now?
I contribute to the Django project, its website and some related packages.
Iâ€™m attending some Django Girls workshops as a coach and Iâ€™ve contributed to its tutorial.
In addition, Iâ€™m updating a django queries project with code Iâ€™ve used in my talks which lets people try it on their own.
Iâ€™m working on a Django project template we use at work to speed up the bootstrap of a project deployed on uWSGI.
Iâ€™m updating my Pelican-based technical blog where I post some articles, information about me, my projects and my talks.
Iâ€™m updating my YouTube channel with all my recorded talks and my Speaker Deck account with all my talk slides.
Iâ€™m also answering as many python-related questions as I can on Stack Overflow, particularly related to Django, Full-text search and PostgreSQL and I wrote an article based on one of them.
What are the top three things you have learned as an open source developer?
I think Free Software is the one of the best inventions in the last century, and being part of it is very rewarding.
In particular being a Free Software developer has taught me:
- Sharing knowledge (in form of ideas, code, documentation, skills) is the best way to better yourself as a person and a developer
- The best part about Free Software is its community of human beings
- Some things not code-related are very important for improving Free Software and its community, such as choosing a good license, adding contributing guidelines and not forgetting about documentation
Is there anything else youâ€™d like to say?
Being a conference speaker at Free Software related conferences has given me the opportunity to meet a lot of people and become a better person.
I encourage everyone to join meetups, get out in the community and attend conferences and, of course, if we meet at some conference, please say hello.
I also want to say to all native English-speaking developers that there a lot of excellent developers who hesitate to contribute to Free Software because of their lack of English knowledge.
Personally, I waited a long time before contributing to projects and actively participating in the community and then I forced myself to improve my English skills with a lot of costs in term of time, effort and money.
So I would just like to remind people to be patient and inclusive when it comes to non-native English speakers as we need a bit more time and effort to open an issue, send a pull request, ask questions online and at conferences or simply speak and write about ourselves and our ideas in an interview like this.
Thanks for doing the interview, Paolo!
2 thoughts on “PyDev of the Week: Paolo Melchiorre”
Pingback: Links 12/2/2019: PyPy 7.0.0, HHVM 4.0.0 and CVE-2019-5736 | Techrights
Pingback: PyDev of the Week: Paolo Melchiorre - è‰¾å¾·èµ„è®¯ç½‘
Comments are closed.