Dropping IE Support

As web standards evolve and technologies advance it becomes increasingly difficult to straddle the gap between legacy and modern browsers. When that gap stretches too far we must choose which side of it we want to be on. That time has come for Microsoft Internet Explorer [1] , and we’ve decided to let it go and continue looking to the future.

NextThought will be phasing out support for Internet Explorer in Q1 of 2020, with support ending entirely on March 31, 2020.

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RelStorage 3.0

We're happy to announce the release of RelStorage 3.0, the relational storage engine for ZODB. Compared to RelStorage 2, highlights include a 30% reduction in memory usage, and up to 98% faster performance! (Ok, yes, that's from one specific benchmark and not everything is 98% faster, but improved performance was a major goal.)

RelStorage 3.0 is a major release of RelStorage with a focus on performance and scalability. It's the result of a concentrated development effort spanning six months, with each pre-release being in production usage with large databases.

Read on to find out what's new.

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Python Argument Surprise

Python function signatures are flexible, complex beasts, allowing for positional, keyword, variable, and variable keyword arguments (and parameters). This can be extremely useful, but sometimes the intersection between these features can be confusing or even surprising, especially on Python 2. What do you expect this to return?

>>> def test(arg1, **kwargs):
...     return arg1
>>> test(**{'arg1': 42})
...

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Introducing nti.fakestatsd

Lately at NextThought we've been much more focused on using application level metrics to proactively monitor and understand the run-time characteristics of our applications. Much of the open source stack we are built on top of is already instrumented with the great perfmetrics library. Because of this, when it was time to expand the metrics we collected, perfmetrics was the obvious choice. However we quickly ran into a problem. How should we test the metrics we generated were actually emitted as the StatsD metrics we expected?

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Getting Started With Python inside PostgreSQL

PostgreSQL uses the tagline "the world's most advanced open source relational database." For PostgreSQL, part of being "advanced" means supporting multiple server-side procedural languages, both built-in and provided by third parties. Luckily for us here at the blog, one of the built-in languages is Python. Unluckily, it's not completely obvious how to get started using Python inside PostgreSQL. This post will provide a short walkthrough demonstrating how to do that. It's written for macOS, but many of the steps are generic.

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My Three Introductions to Open Source

I didn't particularly enjoy my first introductions to open source:

Later I found out I wasn't alone. This tweet ended up in a conference talk about how contributing to open source is a hassle:

So what makes starting out in open source so difficult?

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CPython vs PyPy Memory Usage

If you have lots of "small" objects in a Python program (objects which have few instance attributes), you may find that the object overhead starts to become considerable. The common wisdom says that to reduce this in CPython you need to re-define the classes to use __slots__, eliminating the attribute dictionary. But this comes with the downsides of limiting flexibility and eliminating the use of class defaults. Would it surprise you to learn that PyPy can significantly, and without any effort by the programmer, reduce that overhead automatically?

Let's take a look.

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