Keynote Interview: Justin Abrahms

Justin Abrahms is the founder of BetterDiff, a tool which
automates part of the code review process. I am a self-taught

Justin's keynote is at 9:00am Sunday, October 11th.

Tell us about your talk.
I'm going to talk about "Financial Literacy for Programmers". The reason I think this talk is important is that more and more people are getting into the programming field and they're coming from lower income beginnings. Financial literacy isn't really talked about in most circles and it's certainly not taught in school. As lower income people start getting larger salaries, they're at huge risk for making very poor financial decisions. I know because I was there. After hearing this talk, people should know the rough form of a solid financial plan and see money as the tool it is, instead of a source of stress.

What is your favorite way to make coffee?
I make coffee the old fashioned way: by asking the barista. :) I've done aeropress, pour over, and French press. Ultimately I can't be bothered to wait the time to get the caffeine, so I've mostly done without when I'm not at a coffee shop. Some days, I'll heat up some water in my electric kettle and drop a tea bag in. That's about as complex as it gets for me.

What have you been working on lately?
Lately, I've been working on BetterDiff, my startup. Beyond that, I've been hacking on a script which will load wiki data into neo4j for interesting queries. That's still in the early stages, but I'm pretty excited about asking graph databases fun questions about knowledge sets. Outside of tech, I've been plucking around on my banjo and that provides no end of fun.

How’d you get started with python/what’s your history with python?
Early in my programming career, I was writing websites in PHP. I started hearing about rails as a way to make that easier. I tried it out, and it did in fact make things much easier. The downside was that I didn't really know ruby and the documentation situation left a lot to be desired. I went back to PHP and found CakePHP which tried to bring a lot of the rails-style concepts to PHP. I grew really dissatisfied with PHP the language, and, around the same time, came across Django. It was like rails, but had great documentation. So began my love of Python!

Did you like Python before it was cool?
As for if I liked Python before it was cool, I would say no. There were whole conferences dedicated to Python by the time I got interested in it. Going to PyCon was one of the best things I've done for my career and I'm excited to see that so many others are following that path with things like attending PyDX.

What do you like about python/what’s your favorite thing about python?
My favorite thing about python the language is that it looks like pseudocode that executes. The mandatory spacing makes things look really nice and just feels clean and in order. I'm also a big fan of the "explicit over implicit" aspect of the Zen of Python, and (specifically as it pertains to imports) is a big reason why I have such difficulty with ruby. From the community perspective, I love that the python community is committed to diversity and social justice.

Python 2.7 or Python 3?
I primarily use Python 2.7, but it's purely for inertial reasons. I've attempted to use python3 a few times (and my library, imhotep, is python 3 compatible), but there's always a library I need to work before that's feasible.

What is your favorite underground library? Tell us about your favorite obscure tool.
My favorite "underground" library is probably the difflib module in the standard library. It makes generating diffs really easy and I'm excited to not have to write that myself.

What’s your favorite python?
I'm not sure what you're asking, but my favorite python implementation is probably pypy, if only because of Alex Gaynor's insistence on calling it "production grade python". From the animal kingdom, I'll go with the Reticulated Python which is the longest snake in the world (at a maximum of 32 feet in length!).