[Python Dependency Pitfalls] The Iceberg

Hey there,

The other day I read this quote from a Python developer that made me stop and think:

"As a noob with a little programming knowledge already, I've found setting up and installing things much harder than actually learning Python itself."

Isn't that surprising?

Shouldn't picking up the core language skills be much more difficult than learning the workflows AROUND the language?

I have a personal theory of why this happens:

The trouble is that the "difficulty distribution" for modern software development with Python is shaped like an iceberg.

And knowing your way around Python "the language" is just the tippy top of the iceberg.

The syntax of the language, working with the Python interpreter, where to find things in the standard library—

That's all challenging stuff for someone just starting out.

But it's also VISIBLE in plain sight.

Then there's a huge chunk of "ice" HIDDEN below the surface. A chunk that stalls the progress of many Python devs:

    - They don't know their way around standard tools like pip, virtualenv, or PyPI and it sabotages their productivity.

    - A lack of experience with the tools and the ecosystem surrounding the core language slows them down.

    - They lag behind other developers because of "re-inventing the wheel disease" and not knowing how to find and use quality Python packages.

(And there's more.)

Because these problems are invisible at first and quite counter-intuitive, many Pythonistas are missing an important part of the puzzle.

From personal experience I know it's easy to focus on the tip of the iceberg that's visible in plain sight—while completely ignoring the GIGANTIC MASS underneath.

And it makes sense—when you're learning a new skill for the first time it's impossible to "know what you don't know."

As they say, hindsight is 20/20.

And that's why focusing on the stuff that's invisible to a beginner but OBVIOUS to a more experienced dev is so powerful.

If you can focus on the hidden part of the iceberg and adopt the tools and workflows that experienced Python developers use, you'll find that you can make progress more easily…

And you'll pull ahead of your peers who are left wondering why their unsinkable "development ship" is filling up with water.

One of the easiest boosts you can get for your Python abilities is adopting the tried & tested dependency management workflows that experts use every day.

For more on how to use the Python "tools of the trade" and best practices like virtualenv, pip, and requirements files, go to:

realpython.com/products/managing-python-dependencies/

— Dan Bader

Key phrases

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