Installing Python and virtualenv on MacOS

Posted on Wed 19 December 2018 in Python • Tagged with python, osx, programming, software, development, macos, virtualenv, venv, version, installing, installation, brew, mkvirtualenv, virtualenvwrapper

How to install Python and virtualenv on MacOS

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Why I mentor on

Posted on Sun 04 November 2018 in Python • Tagged with python, mentoring, programming, software, development, exercism, student

Exercism ( is a platform that has been created to help people improving their coding skills, thanks to the volunteers mentoring the students. There are tracks for almost all the popular languages and each track has coding tests that the students can download, solve offline using their preferred editor, and test the solution against the provided unit tests. Once the solution is ready to be reviewed (or even if it's not complete but the student needs help), it can be submitted to the website and it will go in a queue where the first available mentor will pick it and start mentoring.

The service is free to use for all the students and the mentors are all volunteers (this doesn't mean that the platform doesn't have any costs. If you are curious about the resources needed to keep the platform alive, you can give a look at this answer on Reddit.

When I found out about the platform, I decided to use it (as student) to improve my Go coding skills. I must say that I've been learning a lot from the mentors and some of them are putting a lot of effort to give you all the possible advices to improve your coding style. In a single exercise once, I learnt at least five things about Go I didn't know before!

I've been a Python developer (professionally) for the last 5 years, but I've never considered myself an "expert". I decided to give it a try with mentoring, because I felt I wanted to give something back to the community, so I registered as mentor too and started mentoring in the Python track.

The first surprise has been that mentoring other students, I was probably learning more than how much I was teaching. First of all, once you already know how to solve a problem, it's always interesting to look at other possible solutions. I've found sometimes that students were providing better (more concise and readable) solutions than mine. Last but not least, before advising someone about conding style or a more idiomatic solution, I always double check things from different sources. There is nothing wrong making mistakes, especially if you are learning... but it would be damaging for the student if I was teaching them something wrong, so I need to be sure about what I say. This of course makes me study, even the basic things, again and again and at the end of the day, my skills are better too.

Once you join the mentors group, you are invited to a private Slack where you can count on the help of other mentors (we have channels for each track/language) or ask questions. So, if you are not sure about something, you can always ask around.

If my story and experience convinced you, Exercism is looking for more mentors! The more we have available, the less time the students have to wait in a queue to be mentored. You can find all the instructions at this address

Using ipdb with Python 3.7.x breakpoint

Posted on Tue 16 October 2018 in Python • Tagged with python, debugging, programming, software, development

Python 3.7.x introduced a new method to insert a breakpoint in the code. Before Python 3.7.x to insert a debugging point we had to write import pdb; pdb.set_trace() which honestly I could never remember (and I also created a snippet on VS Code to auto complete it).

Now you can just write breakpoint() that's it!

Now... the only problem is that by default that command will use pdb which is not exactly the best debugger you can have. I usually use ipdb but there wasn't an intuitive way of using it... and no, just installing it in your virtual environment, it won't be used by default.

How to use it then? It's very simple. The new debugging command will read an environment variable named PYTHONBREAKPOINT. If you set it properly, you will be able to use ipdb instead of pdb.

export PYTHONBREAKPOINT=ipdb.set_trace

At this point, any time you use breakpoint() in your code, ipdb will be used instead of pdb.


Ubuntu Release Sprint: calling for feedback!

Posted on Fri 17 August 2012 in Ubuntu (EN) • Tagged with development, meeting, sprint, Ubuntu, UDS

During the last UDS party, I had an idea to improve Ubuntu development, but I didn't know if it could be a good idea or a stupid one, so I talked to Daniel Holbach and David Planella about it and they were happy to hear about it and Daniel told me to talk about this directly to Mark (and I did it).

Let's explain the basic idea.

From an UDS and the next one, it would be useful to have a development sprint where people can talk about assigned UDS blueprints, at which point they are on their tasks, if they have any problems and if they will finish them within the next UDS.

Of course Canonical cannot organize another meeting, it would be very expensive, so the idea is: why don't we use Google Hangout to organize the sprint? I has a limit of 10 people, I know, but we could select (for example) 5 from the community and 5 from Canonical. There would be parallel meeting and tracks, we would use the same blueprints used during the last UDS and we would add further notes. The attendees would be able to listen and watch the stream and make questions through the available chat.

I've also created a wiki page with more informations and you can find it here:

What do you think about? I know that Canonical is already organizing sprints and this could be a way to involve more the Ubuntu Community. Maybe we should schedule a session at next UDS to talk about this?

I hope to get some feedback from you.