[Python-ideas] A tuple of various Python suggestions

Keith Curtis keithcu at gmail.com
Fri Apr 8 17:15:52 EDT 2016

Hi all,

I just discovered this alias and I thought I'd post a few ideas. I
wouldn't call myself a Python master yet, but it's an amazing language
and my biggest wish is that it was more widely used in the industry.

Here are a few suggestions:

1. Decrease the bug count. I recently noticed that there are about
5,400 active bugs in http://bugs.python.org/. That surprised me
because I almost never see anyone complain about bugs in Python
(compared to the number who complain about bugs in LibreOffice,
graphics drivers, Gnome / KDE, etc.)

There are a lot of people on this list, and if the brainpower can be
applied to practical, known, existing problems, it is a great way to
improve Python while also considering more exotic ideas. I can also
suggest making a pretty graph of the bug count and putting it on the
front page of python.org for greater visibility.

2. Python is somewhat popular on servers, and there is a lot of
potential for more. WordPress is easy to use and powerful, but lots of
people don't want to program in PHP. Or Javascript, Java, Ruby, etc.

Codebases like Whoosh full-text search
(https://bitbucket.org/mchaput/whoosh/wiki/Home) are important, but
have minimal dev resources as most people are using Lucene /
ElasticSearch. The common choice is between 1.3M lines of Java:
https://www.openhub.net/p/elasticsearch, containing 1100 todos and
1000 references to "deprecated", or 41K lines of Python written mostly
by one person.

Hadoop is another big Java project (1.9M lines), and there is even an
ecosystem around it. Python interoperates with Hadoop, but it should
be possible to build a radically simpler framework that provides the
same functionality using Python-native functionality and without all
the baggage. Hadoop has several interesting sister projects: a
distributed database, scalable machine learning, a high-level data
flow language, a coordination service, etc. I'm sure you'd build
something smaller, cleaner, faster in many cases, more reliable, etc.

3. It was a sad mistake that Google picked Java over Python for
Android. However, there is now a great program called Kivy which
allows people to write apps for IOS or Android with one codebase, but
it could also use more resources, as for example it doesn't fully
support Python 3.x yet.

There are 10s of thousands of bugs in the popular Python libraries and
I would fix those before proposing more language changes.

4. I enjoy reading about the Python performance improvements, but it
is mostly a perception problem with all the existing workarounds.
Gnome wrote version 3 of their shell in Javascript because they didn't
think Python would be fast enough. Lots of people write Node because
it's compiled and "fast". I suggest taking some of the effort working
on performance, and spend it on evangelizing to other programmers that
Python / Cython / PyPy, etc. are already good enough! There are a lot
of programmers out there who would be happier if they could work in

5. It would be great to get Python in the web browsers as an
alternative to Javascript. There are a number of projects which
convert Python to Javascript, but this would be more direct.
LibreOffice ships with a Python interpreter, why can't Firefox and
Webkit? ;-) Obviously there are interoperability issues, but it would
be great to just side-step all the complexity of Javascript (Here is a
server-oriented article, but it gives a flavor:
http://notes.ericjiang.com/posts/751) This might sound like a crazy
idea, but the engineering problems aren't that hard.

6. In a few cases, there are two many codebases providing the same
functionality, and none of them are really doing the job. For example,
the de-facto MySQL Python interop library
(https://pypi.python.org/pypi/MySQL-python) only supports Python 2.x
and appears to be abandoned. There are several other libraries out
there with different features, performance, compatibility, etc. and
it's kind of a minefield for what should be a basic scenario. It takes
leadership to jump in and figure out how to fix it and make one
codebase good enough that the others can switch over.

7. Focus more on evolving the libraries rather than the language. I've
recently discovered Toolz, which has a more complete set of functional
language methods. I think some of them should be included in the
official versions. A lot of people don't think Python is good enough
for functional programming and this would help. These new routines add
complexity, but a newbie doesn't need to write in a functional way, so
it obeys the "only pay for what you use" rule.

There are a number of under-staffed libraries and frameworks. I see
people complain about the YAML parsing library being unmaintained, the
default HTTP functionality being difficult and limiting, poor SOAP
support, etc. There are a million ways to improve the Python ecosystem
without making any language changes. You don't have a big rich company
who can pay for thousands of full-time developers working on
libraries, but the bug reports are a great way to prioritize.

8. I've yet to find a nice simple free IDE with debugging for Python.
I use Atom, but it has primitive debugging. I tried PyCharm but it's
very complicated (and not free, and Java). I use Jupyter sometimes
also but I'd prefer a rich client app with watch windows, etc.

9. It would be interesting to re-imagine the spreadsheet with a more
native Python interface. Pandas and matplotlib are great, but it would
be cool to have it in LibreOffice Calc that supports drag and drop,
copy and paste, can read and write ODS, etc. (Also, LibreOffice Base
is basically unmaintained. I think if 10 Python programmers passionate
about databases and GUIs showed up, it could re-invigorate this dead

10. Being simple to learn and powerful is very hard. Fortunately, you
can break compatibility every 10 years. My only suggestion is to get
rid of the __self__ somehow ;-)



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