The creator of the worlds most popular programming language Python, Mr. Guido van Rossum is all set to start the second half of his life, Rossum has announced his retirement this week. Guido is stepping down from his current role at cloud file storage firm Dropbox and heading into retirement.
Guido joins Dropbox in the month of December 2012, at Dropbox he spent his last six and half years. The hiring of Guido makes sense because so much of Dropbox functionality was built on Python.
Dropbox has about four million lines of Python code and it’s the most heavily used language for its back-end services, desktop app and in other major operations. When Guido van Rossum started in 2012, Dropbox’s server and desktop client were written: “almost exclusively in Python”.
Dropbox said that hiring Guido is there one of the most important and profitable decisions. Guido serves as Python Charmer in the company, Dropbox said Guido has had a major impact on its engineering culture.
“There was a small number of really smart, really young coders who produced a lot of very clever code that only they could understand,” said Guido. “That is the right attitude to have when you’re a really small startup.”
However, as Dropbox notes, when the company grew, new engineers could not understand the clever but ‘short and cryptic’ code written by and for earlier developers.
Guido called this “cowboy coding culture” & educated the company about value of maintainable code. “When asked, I would give people my opinion that maintainable code is more important than clever code,” he said.
“If I encountered clever code that was particularly cryptic, and I had to do some maintenance on it, I would probably rewrite it. So I led by example, and also by talking to other people.”
Dropbox also credits van Rossum with sharpening the company’s testing processes for its continuous integration program and helping engineers understand why tests were broken.
After that, he started work on the Mypy static checker, which was written by Dropbox employee Jukka Lehtosalo, who Guido van Rossum introduced to Dropbox. Guido Van Rossum formed the Mypy team in 2015 to help clean up Dropbox’s massive Python codebase.
He also worked to make the engineering culture at Dropbox more result-oriented and in the Python community more inclusive for women, according to Dropbox.
“It’s been an amazing ride to see this little hack of mine affect so many people in their lives,” said van Rossum.
Last year in July 2018, Van Rossum announced that he would be stepping down from the position of BDFL of the Python programming language.
In July 2018, Van Rossum announced that he would be stepping down from the position of BDFL (Benevolent dictator for life) of the Python programming language, handing over responsibilities to a Python Council, meaning he’s free and clear of responsibilities.
Before joining Dropbox in 2012, Van Rossum had been a Python Wrangler at Google, where he’d also spent 50 percent of his time maintaining the language.
At Google, Van Rossum developed Mondrian, a web-based code review system written in Python and used within the company. He named the software after the Dutch painter Piet Mondrian.
But it’s Python that will stand as his greatest contribution. Hopefully, as he steps down, he’ll get to see it go from strength to strength, but from the comfort of his home, with his wife and child.
Van Rossum’s work has impacted millions in some regard; not just at Dropbox, but around the world. Long past his retirement, it will continue to do so, and likely in ways difficult for us to imagine today given Python’s importance in different fields like Web Development, AI, etc.
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