PyDev of the Week: Max Humber

This week we welcome Max Humber (@maxhumber) as our PyDev of the Week! Max is the creator of gazpacho, a “simple, fast, and modern web scraping library” written in Python. Max is also an instructor at O’Reilly media. You can see what other projects Max is working on over on Github.

Let’s take a few moments to get to know Max better!

Can you tell us a little about yourself:

I’m hunkered down in Toronto teaching for O’Reilly and General Assembly. Throwing all of my free time at leveling up my cooking. And looking forward to when I can go see live music, boulder at my gym, and take a pottery class again…

Why did you start using Python?

I’m pretty sure I started using Python because of lifelines by Cameron Davidson-Pilon. I needed to do some survival analysis some years ago, and got hooked into the language because of that package.

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

I started programming in R. Although I don’t really use the language anymore, I sometimes miss dplyr. These days, I’m spending more and more time with Swift. It’s a great language with some great ideas, like, protocol-oriented programming. And I like Lua exactly because of its limitations. Honestly, I’m convinced that Lua is more popular than Python in some other timeline. But in this timeline Python is my favourite!

What projects are you working on now?

I have a bunch of open-source projects, but I’m most proud of:

  • gazpacho: a simple, fast, and modern web scraping library
  • hickory: a new, cross-platform way to schedule scripts at the command line
  • gif: an extension for Altair, Matplotlib, and Plotly animations

Which Python libraries are your favorite?

Standard library? I like random, pathlib, and subprocess. Third party? I have a soft spot for libraries that don’t have any dependencies. A couple of my favourites: tqdm (a neat little progress bar that can wrap any iterable), chime (“Python sound notifications made easy”), and python-fire (a tool for automatically generating command line interfaces).

Can you tell us about the origin story of gazpacho?

Funny enough: Fantasy Hockey. I was coerced into a league by some friends a couple of years ago. At the time I didn’t—and still really don’t—know anything about hockey, so I wrote a web scraping tool to grab player projection data and build a team for me. While my friends weren’t super happy with me that tool evolved into gazpacho: the easiest way to scrape anything!

What motivates you to work in open source?

I think my motivation can be exactly captured in this picture. It’s awesome that open source can help push science forward like that.

Is there anything else you’d like to say?

Yes! is an underrated programming tool. Especially if you’re like me and you feel like this every damn day.

And, thanks for inviting me to participate in this interview series, Mike! Really appreciate all of the work that you do.

Thanks for doing the interview, Max!