Python Community Interview

Python Community Interview With Kenneth Reitz

by Ricky White community

This week, I’m excited to be interviewing the prolific Kenneth Reitz!

Kenneth is the author of the extremely popular requests and pipenv libraries. Join us as we talk about his latest projects and the most challenging code he’s written to date.

Ricky: Let’s start at the beginning… How did you get into programming, and when did you start using Python?

Kenneth Reitz

Kenneth: I started programming at a young age. My dad was a programmer, and I taught myself BASIC and C (with this help) at the age of 9. I started using Python in college, when I took my first CS course. Shortly after, I dropped out and learned many other programming languages, but I always kept coming back to Python.

Ricky: Congratulations on your new job with Digital Ocean. You’re the senior member of the Developer Relations team. How are you finding the change in role from your previous job at Heroku, and what can we expect from Digital Ocean moving forward in the Python space?

Kenneth: Thanks! I’m really enjoying the new role and the opportunity to serve the entire development community, not just the Python community. However, my latest work, Responder, has been a Digital Ocean project, so there’s room to expect more from us in the Python space 😊

Ricky: You are, of course, most famous for writing the extremely popular requests library and the new pipenv library. now recommends the use of pipenv for dependency management. How has the community received pipenv? Have you seen much resistance from the community with developers preferring to stick to venv or older methods of dependency management?

Kenneth: The community has received pipenv very well, and even companies like GitHub are using its standards for security vulnerability scanning. I haven’t seen much resistance from the community at all, aside from some hatred on reddit. It took me a while to realize that /r/python doesn’t represent the Python community as much as it represents redditors who use Python.

Ricky: Now hitting 300 million downloads on your requests library is cool and all, but as a guitarist, what I’m more excited about is your latest project PyTheory. Can you tell us a little about it and your plans for the project going forward?

Kenneth: PyTheory is a very interesting library that attempts to encapsulate all known musical systems into a library. Currently, there is one system: Western. It can render all the different scales for the Western system, programmatically, and tell you the pitches of the notes (either in decimal or symbolic notation). In addition, there are fretboards and chord charts, so you can specify a custom tuning for your guitar, and generate chord charts with it. It’s very abstract.

Definitely the most challenging thing I’ve ever written.

Ricky: So after recently ditching your Mac for a PC, and turning to Microsoft’s (amazing) VS Code for your Python development, are you happy and proud to be a Windows user? For those who may be reading who haven’t used Windows since Windows ‘95, what are they missing?

Kenneth: I love the Mac and prefer it to Windows. I’m just currently bored with my setup and decided to challenge myself by running Windows. I’m very happy and productive, though. Feels right at home.

Windows isn’t what it used to be. It’s a real solid piece of operating system now. I’m running it on my iMac Pro, and it hums like a dream.

Ricky: I know you’re a keen photographer. How long have you been into it, and what’s your favorite photo you’ve taken? Do you have any other hobbies and interests, aside from Python?

Kenneth: I’ve been into photography seriously for about 10 years. My favorite photo I’ve ever taken is probably this one. It was taken on a film camera, after I had a migraine for several weeks, and it was my first time being able to walk outside.

Ricky: Finally, any parting words of wisdom? Anything you’d like to share and/or plug?

Kenneth: Responder! My new web service framework for Python. It’s ASGI, it’s familiar looking, it’s fast, and it’s easier to use than Flask! Great for building APIs. Check it out!

Thank you, Kenneth, for joining me this week. It’s been great to watch the development of Responder happen in realtime on Twitter. You can follow its development or raise an issue here.

As always, if there is someone you would like me to interview in the future, reach out to me in the comments below, or send me a message on Twitter.

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About Ricky White

Ricky White Ricky White

Ricky is a Python developer and writer who has a tendency to refer to himself in the third person. By day he is a stay-at-home dad, and by night he’s a crime-fighting ninja. You can often find him on Twitter, or at

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