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PyBites 1 Year Special - Taking Python Code Challenges to the Next Level …

Posted by PyBites on Wed 20 December 2017 in Special • 5 min read

A milestone: yesterday, 19th of December 2017, we celebrated our first PyBirthday! That is, PyBites is one year old! We are proud of what we have achieved so far and we are ignited to continue our course of learning and teaching Python with our growing community. A bit of reflection followed by a big announcement! Read on ...

We are so happy we decided a year ago to bite the bullet, from the simplest of inits:

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To week 6:

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To nowadays:

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We’ve come a long way. But to us it feels like we're just starting out.

Some valuable lessons we learned:

  • Get started. Drop perfectionism. The timing ain’t never right (Tim Ferriss). If it was not for accepting a ok’ish first design and battling imposter syndrome, we would still be merely talking over beers. You have to take action. Related: Behind the Scenes of PyBites

  • Related to 1. - don’t plan too much in advance. Design happens when building things, when the rubber hits the road, when you get actual readers! For example, our code challenges have become one of our corner stones, but the idea only struck when we challenged each other one day to code a simple date parsing script, and we reviewed each other’s code. We learned a ton! We had this Fight Club moment of "man we should do this again" (nobody got hurt!)

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  • Once you get momentum it becomes easier. A lot of weekly effort goes in, that won’t change as that's what it means to have a project you’re passionate about. However once you find your style and structure it becomes easier and more fun.

  • Building a community around your project is one of the best things you can possibly do. We get to meet awesome Pythonistas every week sharing their ideas and experience. We learn from them and they learn from us. Invaluable.

  • Having to explain technical aspects by article or code challenge can be hard. You learn. Having your piece being criticised on Reddit might suck, but you grow. Committing and finishing a #100DaysOfCode challenge can be insane, but the amount of deliberate practice counts and made us better coders (more about this on Task Python episode 140). Talking before a group of people can be scary, but you evolve.

  • Try new things! We recently launched our first online course on learning Python Flask. It was nothing we expected we'd ever do but we had the idea, sucked up the nerves and gave it a go - to great success! In everything we do, if there was ever a regret to be had it'd be not trying something new.

  • Consistently writing on a blog (this should be entry #238!) you improve this important skill. As with coding, less is more, expressing things more succinctly is both elegant and more efficient.

Our Big Announcement for today

We have been a bit quiet with articles, but for a good reason. We have been developing our code challenge platform! We’ve been eager to share it but we really wanted to get as much in before the 1 year mark. It’s out now and free to use:

PyBites Code Challenge Platform

(yes we like .es domain names)

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Since we confirmed interest on HN (here and here) we developed 46 Python challenges on our blog. Our Challenges repo gets forked every week by an increasing amount of developers all wanting to learn Python. We endorsed a proper git flow from day 1, but it’s not always an easy add-on for newer developers.

We took this feedback to heart and integrated the whole process into our new platform. You can login with Github and work on our blog challenges. It gives you all the git commands you need to create your branch and PR your work.

Grow by PR

Why should you PR your work anyways?

  • It is an opportunity to learn. We honestly don’t have time to review all the code, we’re getting an increasing amount of PRs, but we do keep an eye out, and we know our community does too!

  • CVs are so … - OK we might get into trouble here, but the fact is that recruiters of developers/coders look at your Github. We offer a unique opportunity to grow your online portfolio.

  • As we merge in all (valid) PRs our Challenges repo gets enriched with a lot of different solutions. People pull those in when working on their solution. What you submit might help somebody else, you might be teaching other developers in need.

  • We feature cool submissions in our review posts, but featured guests posts are another opportunity to show your work, check out this chatbot submission for example!

Although we recommend you use the platform for any future challenge work you are of course totally free to use your existing workflow.

Code in the comfort of your browser - Bites of Py

But that’s not all, we started a whole new line of Challenges we call "Bites of Py". We were always fascinated how one could practice coding in the browser. No environment setup… code anywhere! So we wanted this for PyBites too.

So we hacked at it for a couple of weeks coming up with a prototype. We left the first working bite in just as a testimonial to this Eureka moment (in case you're wondering if it's an incomplete one lol).

It’s running with 5 bites for free consumption. If you’re reading this and had nothing but watching Netflix planned for tonight, skip the TV, take a Bite of Py, and let us know what you think.

We’re curious how you experience them and what you think we should add.

We are working on a whole series of them which should jumpstart a subscription service in March next year. You can subscribe on the site. The first Pythonistas in get more for less (and earlier).

What’s next - part II

Other than that we’re going to enjoy a serious Xmas break and we hope you get time off too to relax and recharge.

Next? Apart from ongoing improvements to our platform and hosting more code challenges, we will keep delivering news, articles and projects and sharing our learning. Stay tuned …

One more thing

We would not be PyBites if we didn't add a little anniversary challenge. Can you quantify our year’s worth of work? That’s right, show us what we’ve accomplished this year using data of your choice (Twitter, Github, blog, other). We’d love you to practice with your favorite data visualizations. We're pushing the challenge writeup to the blog and platform later this week ...

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    >>> from pybites import Bob, Julian

    - Happy Birthday fellas!

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See an error in this post? Please submit a pull request on Github.