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Python News: What's New From January 2024

by Leodanis Pozo Ramos Feb 05, 2024 community

In January 2024, Python 3.13.0a3 was released! With several exciting features, improvements, and optimizations, this release is the third of six planned alpha releases. During the alpha phase, features may be added up until the start of the beta phase on May 7. This is a pre-release, and you shouldn’t use it for production environments. However, it’s a great way to try out some new and exciting language features.

The steering council had its elections last December, and the Python Software Foundation made a few cool announcements, including the announcement of a new developer in residence.

There is also exciting news regarding Python conferences, such as PyCon US 2024 and DjangoCon Europe 2024.

Let’s dive into the most exciting Python news from January 2024!

Python 3.13.0 Alpha 3 Arrives

This January, Python released its third alpha preview release, 3.13.0a3. This version is the third of six planned alpha releases. During the alpha phase, Python will receive new features up until the start of the beta phase on May 7. Alpha releases make it easier to test the current state of new features and bug fixes and to test the release process.

Many new features for Python 3.13 are still being planned. The primary efforts surround two core areas:

  • Removing the global interpreter lock, or GIL (PEP 703)
  • Improving Python performance

So far, some of the most notable changes include the following:

  • Colorized exception tracebacks by default in the REPL
  • Stripped leading indentation in docstrings, which reduces memory use and the size of .pyc files
  • Scheduled removals of deprecated modules: aifc, audioop, chunk, cgi, cgitb, crypt, imghdr, mailcap, msilib, nis, nntplib, ossaudiodev, pipes, sndhdr, spwd, sunau, telnetlib, uu, xdrlib, and lib2to3 (PEP 594)
  • Many other removals of deprecated classes, functions, and methods in various standard-library modules

As usual, this version also brings several deprecations that you may need to consider. For a detailed list of changes, additions, and removals, you can check the changelog. The next pre-release of Python 3.13 will be 3.13.0a4, which is currently scheduled for February 13.

JIT (Just-in-Time) Compiler Available on Python 3.13

In late December 2023, CPython core developer Brandt Bucher pushed a pull request to the Python 3.13 branch adding a JIT (just-in-time) compiler. This pull request responds to issue #113464 JIT Compilation, which is intended to add just-in-time compilation to CPython 3.13.0.

JIT compilation consists of compiling the code during the execution of a program rather than before execution. It’s an on-demand compilation.

Real Python contributor Anthony Shaw has written a great post about this new JIT compiler in Python 3.13. In his article, he talks about JIT compilers and different types of them.

The most exciting result of having this JIT compiler in Python 3.13 is that initial benchmarks show that Python’s performance will improve by 2 to 9 percent! This may seem like a small improvement, but as Anthony Shaw says:

Think of this JIT as being the cornerstone of a series of much larger optimizations. None of which are possible without it. (Source)

In short, this JIT compiler is excellent news for Python 3.13 and future versions as well!

Steering Council Election Results Available

During November and December 2023, Ee Durbin, director of infrastructure at the Python Software Foundation (PSF), directed the election for the new steering council to govern Python’s development. This is the steering council election for the 2024 term.

The nomination period was November 9 to November 22, 2023, and the voting period was from November 27 to December 11, 2023.

The candidates to join the council were the following:

Two rounds of elections were held, and the five candidates with the most votes are the following:

Candidate Votes Received
Pablo Galindo Salgado 60
Gregory P. Smith 52
Emily Morehouse 46
Barry Warsaw 43
Thomas Wouters 40

Congratulations to everyone! Python’s development is in good hands.

Python Software Foundation (PSF) Shares Great News

The Python Software Foundation (PSF) has been very active in January. They made a few exciting announcements that thrilled the Python community. They announced a new developer in residence, fellows for the third quarter of 2023, and a new podcast series. Let’s dive into the details!

New Developers in Residence

Łukasz Langa has worked as the CPython developer in residence since July 2021. On January 18, the PSF announced on their blog and X account two new positions that will have a great impact on the development of Python:

PSF Announced New Developers in Residence
Image source

So, now the in-residence team has two new roles:

  1. Deputy developer in residence
  2. Supporting developer in residence

These two roles transform the residency program into a full-blown team! Petr Viktorin will perform the first role, while Serhiy Storchaka will perform the second one. According to the PSF:

The initial idea behind the Developer in Residence program was to have three to five people hired directly by the Python Software Foundation to help with developer efficiency at CPython, where most of the contributors are volunteers. Three to five people is a good amount to allow for handling both day-to-day tasks, as well as planning and executing on larger-scale projects. (Source)

Petr Viktorin has experience with maintaining Python at Red Hat. He’s also shown great interest in the C API, has made several contributions to Python, and has served on the steering council.

Similarly, Serhiy Storchaka is a Python core developer with plenty of experience with the C programming language and several contributions across the entire codebase. Serhiy is consistently one of the most prolific contributors to Python.

With three full-time members, the developers in residence team is now ready to take on a more active role in shaping the language development. They’ll take care of unblocking other contributors and keeping the developer experience smooth. They’ll also spend some time working on features aligned with their interests.

Fellows for Q3 2023

In February, the PSF announced the third batch of PSF fellows for 2023! These are people who make outstanding contributions to the Python community. Here they are, along with where you can find them online:

These PSF members have significantly contributed to the Python ecosystem by serving as extraordinary leaders, growing the Python scientific community, and maintaining libraries. They’ve also worked on creating educational content, organizing events and conferences, running local community organizations, mentoring Python learners, and more.

New Podcast Series: Hidden Figures of Python

Last December, the PSF also started a new podcast series called Hidden Figures of Python. This series aims to uplift underrepresented folks from the Python community and share their inspiring stories. Episode 0 is available now on the PyPodcats website, Spotify, Apple Podcasts, and the PSF YouTube channel.

In Episode 0, Cheuk, Georgi, Mariatta, and Tereza talk about their stories. They also discuss the name Hidden Figures and what inspired them to start the podcast. Take a listen to this episode! It’s a great contribution to the Python community and fitting tribute to the diversity of its members.

Python Events and Conferences Share Exciting News

The first month of 2024 also brings a few amazing updates about Python conferences, which will bring joy to the Python community during the year.

PyCon US 2024 Receives a Record Number of Proposals

On her Fosstodon account, Mariatta Wijaya, the Chair of PyCon US 2024, announced that the conference received a record number of proposal submissions this year. In total, they got 973 proposals! The proposals include talks, charlas (for the Spanish event), tutorials, and posters:

PyCon US 2024 Got a Record Number of Proposals
Image source

This is wonderful news! This means there’ll be a lot of excellent and exciting talks and tutorials to learn from.

PyCon US 2024 will take place in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, from May 15 to May 23, 2024. The conference will be scheduled as follows:

  • Tutorials: May 15 - 16, 2024
  • Main Conference and Online: May 17 - 19, 2024
  • Job Fair: May 19, 2024
  • Sprints: May 20 - May 23, 2024

Registration for the conference is now open. Don’t miss it!

DjangoCon Europe 2024 CFP Now Open

If you plan to attend DjangoCon Europe 2024 and want to submit your talk or workshop proposal, then it’s time to do it. The call for participation (CFP) is open now until midnight on February 29!

The list of topics for this year includes the following:

  • Django internals and challenges in modern web development.
  • Wild ideas, clever hacks, surprising or cool use cases.
  • Improving Django and Python developers’ lives.
  • Pushing Django to its limits
  • Fundamentals, in a modern light.
  • The Django and Python community, culture, history, past, present & future, the why, the who, and the what of it all
  • Security
  • Whatever you deem appropriate – it’s your conference, after all! (Source)

At the conference, they’re looking for a range of talks on technical and non-technical topics—talks that are accessible to all skill levels. New and seasoned speakers are both welcome!

If you haven’t done a presentation at DjangoCon Europe before and are shy about sending your proposal, then consider reading Sasha’s blog post on why you should speak at DjangoCon Europe.

Essential Python Projects Release New Versions

In January 2024, the Python ecosystem continued to evolve. A couple of essential Python projects rolled out new versions:

On January 2, the Django project issued 5.0.1 and 4.2.9 bugfix releases. The 5.0.1 version fixed several bugs and regressions. It also added compatibility with oracledb 2.0.0.

The pandas project also released version 2.2.0 with several changes, including enhancements, bug fixes, depreciation, performance improvements, and more. Check the release notes for detailed information.

What’s Next for Python?

January 2024 was an exciting month for the Python community. We had the third alpha release of Python 3.13.0. A new JIT Compiler was pushed to the 3.13 branch, and it seems to promise immediate performance improvements and other future improvements.

We have a new steering council for the 2024 term, and the Python ecosystem continues to evolve and advance, releasing new versions of essential projects, such as Django and pandas. We can’t wait to see what’s next! Let us know your thoughts on these developments in the comments below!

Happy Pythoning!

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About Leodanis Pozo Ramos

Leodanis Pozo Ramos Leodanis Pozo Ramos

Leodanis is an industrial engineer who loves Python and software development. He's a self-taught Python developer with 6+ years of experience. He's an avid technical writer with a growing number of articles published on Real Python and other sites.

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