PyDev of the Week: Kalob Taulien

This week we welcome Kalob Taulien (@KalobTaulien) as our PyDev of the Week! Kalob is a WagtailCMS core dev, which is a CMS on top of the Django web framework. You can catch up with Kalob by going to his website where you can check out some of Kalob's bootcamp courses.

Let's spend a few minutes getting to know Kalob better!

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

I'm Kalob and I do a bit of everything from programming, web development, sales, and teaching. I'm an avid programmer and try to automate a lot of things like daily motivation text messages, and about 90% of the Tweets I send (all with Python, of course). My first website was launched in 1999 at the ripe age of 10 and it became a hobby, then a career. I'm a self taught web developer and I've taught about 500,000 people how to code over the last decade - everything from the frontend to the backend.

For fun I'm into snowboarding in the winter, working out in VR and recently I've been really into bouldering (it's like rock climbing, without ropes).

Why did you start using Python?

I dabbled with Python on and off over the years. It wasn't until about 2018 I started getting serious about it. I needed it for a job I had so I started writing it every day. Now I can't picture life without Python.

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

Python, JavaScript and PHP are the languages I've used most. Though I haven't touched PHP since I got serious about Python. And because Python is so flexible with such a huge ecosystem of 3rd party packages, it's by far my favorite language.

What projects are you working on now?

I have an edtech startup called Arbington.com and work on a popular Python based content management system called Wagtail. And I'm writing a book called Wagtail CMS in Action. That's most of my time each week, but my latest two projects are small-but-powerful scripts that automate sending tweets for me and sending me multiple motivational messages through Twilio's API. I should probably clean up the messy code an open source those 😛

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

Wagtail CMS and Django Web Framework are my favorites and I use them every day. Outside of those, it might be the requests module in Python.

How did you end up as a core dev of the Wagtail CMS Project?

I worked at a web agency that made Wagtail websites, and before then I didn't know about Wagtail at all. During my time there I realized two things:

1) Nobody was really a "pro" at that shop, and
2) There weren't very many tutorials for it.

I waited 6 months to see if anyone would start producing videos, and only saw like 5 new videos that weren't all that helpful.

So I jumped into the community, started learning and asking questions, and then made somewhere around 60 free videos on YouTube. Next thing I know I was invited to join the core development team.

What are your top three favorite features of Wagtail?

Narrowing it down to just three is going to be tricky, so my answer might change next time I'm asked. But right now it would be:

1. Wagtails multi-site feature. One codebase with multiple websites on the same instance of Wagtail,
2. The built in API to enable headless websites super easily, and
3. Localization to add easy multi-language support

Those are pretty big features, but there's also a ton of small features worth exploring in my opinion.

Is there anything else you’d like to say?

Feel free to follow me on Twitter (@KalobTaulien)

Thanks for doing the interview, Kalob!

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