If it won't be simple, it simply won't be. [source code] by Miki Tebeka, CEO, 353Solutions

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Naming "with open" Variable

Python's "with" statement is great for resource handling. However I find my self struggling with naming (and naming is important) the context manager variable.

When you write "with open('/path/to/somethere') as X", what's the best name for X? In some cases it's obvious, but in most cases I find myself using the generic "fo" (stands for "file object").

I decided to run a little script on Python's 3.4 Lib directory and find out what is the most common name. Here are the results:
Seems like f is the most common, but I really don't like single letter variables. I'll go with the 2nd place - fp.

Here's the script used to generate this chart:

Friday, June 26, 2015

353Solutions - A Year in Review

353Solutions was founded a bit more than a year ago. I wasn't planning on doing consulting, I'm a techie and love the development abstraction layer that companies give you and let you code most of the time. (If this is not the case in the company you're working at - consider finding a better one :)

However as the old saying goes - "Man plans and god laughs". I found myself owning a teaching/consulting company called 353Solutions. So far it's fun and provides for the family - what else can you ask for?

Here are results from a short retrospective we did lately.

The Numbers

  • 6 clients
  • 204 work days
  • 204 hours teaching Python (7 courses)


I like working from home, however most companies I talked to wanted some office time. This is understandable since I don't only code but also do system and process design - these roles require more face to face communication. I'm still looking for something that will allow me to spend most of my time working from home.

Teaching is fun! I did that on and off most of my professional carrier, but now it's a big chunk of my time. I'm grateful to Raymond Hettinger who started me off and showed me what a top-notch class/workshop should look like. So far I'm mostly going to companies and teaching there, but just now we launched our own classes - it will  be awesome!

The downside for teaching is that it takes me away from home. For a limited amount this is great (I spend about a week every month teaching Python in the UK). However I'm looking for opportunities that will let me teach from home - stay tuned.

The social network is by far my biggest source of new jobs. Talking to other people - it's not just me. Investing time in making connections and keeping them will pay off. The main downside for is that people want to hire me and not 353Solutions. This means I need to work harder to market the other people who I work with - I can't do everything.

Learning to say "no" was the hardest thing for me. So many interesting things to do, so many cool companies ... But I like spending time with my family, friends and hobbies. You need to find the things that make you happy and pay enough, going cheap is not a good thing in most cases. What I did in some cases was to take less money and get equity instead. Something like "technical" investing in startups.

The main point I need to improve is marketing. It's not something I like to do but feel the need, especially now that we have our own classes. I'm learning and looking for the best thing that will get maximal impact with minimal amount of time. Or maybe hire someone for that? If you know a good option  - please let me know :)

Thursday, June 04, 2015

Use contextlib.closing to Handle "Legacy" Resources

Python's context managers (with statement) are very handy at handling resources. (You see way less finally in Python code due to them). Maybe objects in Python can be used as context mangers - files, locks, database drivers and more. But some objects still do not.

To handle these "legacy" objects you can use contextlib.closing function which will return a context manager that will call obj.close() once the context manager exists.

Here's an example of using contextlib.closing with sockets. We'll be doing a simple HTTP request (Yeah, you should probably use requests or urlopen - this is just an example :)

Note also the user of iter with sentinel to read chunks up to 1K from the socket.

Wednesday, May 06, 2015

Combining jQuery and Multi Components of React

React is a great library for generating reactive web UI (and mobile). Reacts works well if there are isolated components or a big one with hierarchy. However I wanted to have a page with several isolated react components that are updated from the same data. The solution I found is to use an observer pattern and have each components register a callback to handle data change. See the code below and a live demo here.

Note that I am a React newbie, if you know of a better way - please enlighten me.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Solving Project Euler Problem 8 with numpy

I'm teaching a course in scientific Python these days. Usually I give "homework" from project Euler (which I personally use every time I learn a new programming language). I thought it'll be fun to solve the problem not just with Python but with what numpy has to offer as well.

Here's an example solution for project Euler problem 8.

Tuesday, April 07, 2015

Docker + MiniConda = A Perfect Match

Working with one of my clients (who is hiring BTW), we decided to use Docker as deployment platform. Since many Linux systems now use Python for many utilities, it's advisable to install your own Python next to the system one and use it.

Installing CPython from source requires some system packages, libraries, headers and some knowledge. The much easier path it to use MiniConda (from the wonderful people at Continuum). Not only the Python installation is super simple, but also the conda package manger will get you a lot of packages pre-compiled so you don't have to install gcc and header files for C extensions. And if you can't find the package you need with conda, pip is also available.

Here's a little project to demonstrate how to do this. The application is an image server with has two entry points /edge for edge detection and /resize for image resizing. We'll be using scikit-image and Pillow for image manipulation and Flask as web server. All of them can be conda installed.

Here's the Dockerfile for the project. Build with docker build -tag imgsrv, Run with docker run -p 8080:8080 imgsrv (see Makefile).

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Adding Server SSL Certificate on Linux

Here's a small script to add a server SSL certificate on Linux. You can export the certificate from your browser. Inspired by this stackoverflow post.

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