Python custodians apologize for “cursed” start to the year

Developers from Python have published three new versions of the programming language, and apologized for the process not going as smoothly as planned.

In the release announcement, CPython core developer Łukasz Langa said that all versions were “cursed in some way”, and that developing them was a “bumpy ride”. 

However, the Python Software Foundation (PSF) is happy with the end result, and claims to be on route to making Python twice as fast as it used to be.

Speeding things up

There are now three versions of Python now available – 3.9.x – the “legacy series”, 3.10.x, the latest series of Python 3, and 3.11.x, the version that hints to the future. 

“The releases you're looking at were all cursed in some way. What a way to start 2022! Besides the certificate hold up, Python 3.10.2 is an expedited release (you'll want to upgrade, read below!), Python 3.11.0a4 had almost 20 (sic, twenty!) release blockers before being finally green, and Python 3.9.10 was made from a new M1 Mac on macOS Monterey which made the usually boring process quite a ride,” Langa explained.

The new versions are being shipped out without Windows installers, as there was an issue with renewing certificates. But with the earlier releases having a major memory leak issue, the devs are recommending the new versions, anyway.

“We've held the releases all week while the situation is getting resolved but the urgency of 3.10.2 in particular made us release without the Windows installers after all,” Langa further said. 

The problem with the certificates is expected to be solved in the coming days. 

While the current main version (3.10) solves memory leak issues and other problems, the upcoming 3.11.x versions are inching the product closer to creator Guido van Rossum’s plan, that was laid out at the PyCon 2021 conference.

Van Rossum’s idea is to make Python 3.11 twice as fast as 3.10. Right now, it’s about 19% faster, ZDNet reports. 

Via: ZDNet

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Python could soon rival JavaScript for web applications

There’s a new project that’ll reportedly enable the Python programming language to run within web browsers with the help of WebAssembly.

The CPython on WASM project, which will build the default and most popular implementation of the Python language written in C is developed by Berkeley-based software developer, Ethan Smith.

According to The Register, the project was created with the help of core Python developer Christian Heimes, and could make Python a viable alternative to JavaScript, at least for some web applications.

Python on the web

“The new project which Christian Heimes and I are working on has a goal of making the web a supported platform for CPython, just like Windows or macOS,” Smith told The Register.

WebAssembly has taken the world by storm thanks to its promise of bringing the performance of native applications to the web, to the level that isn’t possible with JavaScript.

However, The Register notes that at this point, the goal of the project to bring Python to the browser through WebAssembly’s  Emscripten compiler, is more about enabling the use case, rather than performance.

The project reportedly comes in the wake of another project, called Pyodide, which too enables Python code to run in the browser.

“My hope is that this will enable a wider ecosystem of Python developers targeting the web, and allow for easier integration with existing Python tools and processes, many of which Pyodide has had to reinvent like micropip to replace the standard pip package installer,” explained Smith. 

Smith hopes that his project can help facilitate web-based cross-platform app development, but is quick to add that CPython on WASM is still in the early stages of development.

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