PyDev of the Week: Florian Dahlitz

This week we welcome Florian Dahlitz (@DahlitzF) as our PyDev of the Week! Florian is a contributor to the CPython programming language and the PyTest framework. He is also a contributor to Real Python. You can check out Florian’s personal blog or get his newsletter to keep up-to-date with him.

Let’s spend some time getting to know Florian!

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

My name is Florian and I’m studying applied computer-science in Germany. I’m currently working on my bachelor thesis focusing on natural language processing. In my free time I code as much as possible, write blog posts about things I discovered or learned, and I’m doing a lot of sports!

Why did you start using Python?

I started my programming journey in January 2015 by learning PHP, HTML, CSS, and Javascript. However, I ended up with the wish of implementing things outside the web. That’s why I introduced myself to C and somehow ended up coding mostly in Java and Python.

Python is such a beautiful language providing beginners an easy start. However, you are free to grow in complexity and even built large infrastructures on it (just have a look at Netflix, YouTube, and Instagram).

The people in the Python ecosystem are very kind and it makes so much fun to work with them. That’s why I eventually ended up spending most of my time in the Python ecosystem.

What other programming languages do you know and which is your favorite?
As I already mentioned, I started by coding in PHP, HTML, CSS, and Javascript and ended up learning C, Java, and Python. Although I’m working on a few projects where I need to write Java code, I’m mostly working with Python, which is also my favourite programming language – by far!

What projects are you working on now?

I spend most of my time teaching myself new concepts and writing articles about it to take others with me on this journey. Furthermore, I started contributing more and more to open source projects. Currently, I’ diving deeper into CPython and pytest.

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

That’s a tough question! In fact, The Python standard library provides a bunch of useful and awesome packages and modules. There is no clear favourite out there. However, I try to stick to the standard library where possible and not to install third-party packages.

Why did you decide to contribute to CPython and Pytest?

CPython is an awesome open source project with very kind and helpful people. As I want to learn more about Python and contribute more to open source projects, what is a better place to start than contributing to Python itself?

While Python is a nice place to contribute to, many open issues need a deep understanding of certain concepts that should be learned before. That’s why I was searching for another project I can start contributing to. As Pytest is the de facto standard for testing in Python and testing is always a good thing, I had a look at their issue tracker and the source code. The core devs of Pytest are nice people, too, so I wanted to give some of my time back to them for creating and maintaining such a nice framework.

What is your favorite feature of Pytest?

The thing I like most about Pytest is the fairly easy setup. The last two years I was writing a lot of Java tests and this included a bunch of setup and boilerplate code. Although Python’s unittest module needs less code than Java tests, it is much easier, in my opinion, to write tests using Pytest as you only need to utilise Python’s built-in assert statement. That’s pretty beautiful!

How did you get involved with Real Python?

That’s an interesting question! At the time back then I was not only heavily interested in Python but also in Docker. After reading a lot about Docker, using it at work and teaching a class about the basics of Docker, I started reading Real Python’s Docker-related articles. I noticed that many of them were out of date so I reached out to Dan, told him about it and offered him to update them. This led to more Real Python contributions adding descriptions to various video tutorials and updating the “Flask by Example” series.

Is there anything else you’d like to say?

If people want to keep up to date with what I’m doing, they can checkout my blog or can consider subscribing to my newsletter. I’m also pretty active on Twitter. So if someone has a question, a topic they want to know more about or just to chat a little bit about Python and programming, they are always welcomed to reach out to me!

Thanks for doing the interview, Florian!