Thursday, April 21, 2011

Meet the Team: Nick Coghlan

This post is part of the "Meet the Team" series of posts, which is meant to give a brief introduction to the Python core development team.

Name:Nick Coghlan
Location:Brisbane, Australia
Home Page:

How long have you been using Python?

First encountered 1.5.2 around 1999 when our lecturer used it for a networking course. Started using 2.2 professionally for automated testing around 2002 and never looked back.

How long have you been a core committer?

Guido gave me access in 2005 to update PEP 343 (primarily ditching the context method)

How did you get started as a core developer? Do you remember your first commit?

As far as contributing patches goes, I had 3 months off in 2004 and spent a bunch of it working with Raymond and Facundo on the decimal module, primarily running the telco benchmarks and finding ways to speed up the code. A few of the stranger hacks in the decimal module (like the fast path for checking for special cases and the use of strings when converting tuples of digits to integers) stem from that time.

My actual first commit would have been to PEP 343, and then after that probably to the AST compiler branch as we finished it up for inclusion in 2.5.

Which parts of Python are you working on now?

runpy, functools and contextlib are the main things that tend to end up in my inbox. I also keep an eye on what Brett and Victor are doing with import, what Raymond is doing with collections and itertools, and anything that happens to the compiler. I'm also fascinated by the cultural side of things.

What do you do with Python when you aren't doing core development work?

Not a great deal, actually. The Python stuff at work generally just ticks away doing its thing, so there isn't a lot of call to hack on it at the moment. I do want to do something to tidy up my digital music library, but the scripts for that are just a hack job at the moment.

What do you do when you aren't programming?

Tae kwon do, computer gaming, soccer, reading, etc, etc...