From September 5th to the 9th a group of Python core developers gathered for a sprint hosted at Instagram and sponsored by Instagram, Microsoft, and the Python Software Foundation. The goal was to spend a week working towards the Python 3.6.0b1 release, just in time for the Python 3.6 feature freeze on Monday, September 12, 2016. The inspiration for this sprint was the Need for Speed sprint held in Iceland a decade ago, where many performance improvements were made to Python 2.5. How time flies!
That’s the opening paragraph from the Python Insider blog post discussing the 2016 Python core sprint that recently took place. In the case of Microsoft’s participation in the sprint, both Steve Dower and I (Brett Cannon) were invited to participate (which meant Microsoft had one of the largest company representations at the sprint). Between the two of us we spent the week completing work on four of our own PEPs for Python 3.6:
- Adding a file system path protocol (PEP 519)
- Adding a frame evaluation API to CPython (PEP 523)
- Change Windows console encoding to UTF-8 (PEP 528)
- Change Windows filesystem encoding to UTF-8 (PEP 529)
I also helped review the patches implementing PEP 515 and PEP 526 (“Underscores in Numeric Literals” and “Syntax for Variable Annotations”, respectively). Both Steve and I also participated in many technical discussions on various topics and we cleared out our backlog of bug reports.
If you’re curious as to what else has made it into Python 3.6 (so far), the rough draft of the “What’s New” document for Python 3.6 is a good place to start (feature freeze has been reached, so no new features will be added to Python 3.6 but bugs are constantly being fixed). We also strongly encourage everyone to download Python 3.6.0b1 and try it with their code. If you find bugs, please file a bug report. There are also various features which will stay or be removed based on community feedback, so please do give this beta release a try!
Overall the week was very productive not only for the two of us but for everyone at the sprints and Python as a project. We hope that the success of this sprint will help lead to it becoming an annual event so that Python can benefit from such a huge burst of productivity every year. And if you or your company want to help with these sorts of sprints in the future or Python’s development in general, then please consider helping with Python’s development and/or sponsoring the Python Software Foundation.