Python News: What’s New From January 2022?


In January 2022, the code formatter Black saw its first non-beta release and published a new stability policy. IPython, the powerful interactive Python shell, marked the release of version 8.0, its first major version release in three years. Additionally, PEP 665, aimed at making reproducible installs easier by specifying a format for lock files, was rejected. Last but not least, a fifteen-year-old memory leak bug in Python was fixed.

Let’s dive into the biggest Python news stories from the past month!

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Black No Longer Beta

The developers of Black, an opinionated code formatter, are now confident enough to call the latest release stable. This announcement brings Black out of beta for the first time:

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Code formatting can be the source of a surprising amount of conflict among developers. This is why code formatters, or linters, help enforce style conventions to maintain consistency across a whole codebase. Linters suggest changes, while code formatters rewrite your code:

This makes your codebase more consistent, helps catch errors early, and makes code easier to scan.

YAPF is an example of a formatter. It comes with the PEP 8 style guide as a default, but it’s not strongly opinionated, giving you a lot of control over its configuration.

Black goes further: it comes with a PEP 8 compliant style, but on the whole, it’s not configurable. The idea behind disallowing configuration is that you free up your brain to focus on the actual code by relinquishing control over style. Many believe this restriction gives them much more freedom to be creative coders. But of course, not everyone likes to give up this control!

One crucial feature of opinionated formatters like Black is that they make your diffs much more informative. If you’ve ever committed a cleanup or formatting commit to your version control system, you may have inadvertently polluted your diff.

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