Nov 3 – 5, 2023
Riga, Latvia
Europe/Riga timezone

Behind the Scenes of tox: The Journey of Rewriting a Python Tool with Over 10 Million Monthly Downloads

Nov 5, 2023, 2:30 PM
Sigma – Talks (Radisson Blu Latvija)

Sigma – Talks

Radisson Blu Latvija

Talk (25 Minutes) Application Ecosystem


Jürgen Gmach (he - him)


Do you recall what developer legend Joel Spolsky called the "single worst strategic mistake" in Things You Should Never Do?

Rewriting software from scratch.

That is what we did. For the tox test automation tool. A tool, downloaded more than 10 million times a month, both heavily used in the open source community, and in multi-billion dollar companies alike.

I invite you to join me on the very personal journey of rewriting tox, a journey, which already started in 2019. We will have a look at the initial motivations for the rewrite, the design decisions, the challenges, and the lessons learned.

We will reconstruct why it took more than three years from the idea to the release, why this was a good thing, and why you should consider a rewrite, too.

I will explain what we did to take care that the release would cause the least amount of issues, why the rewrite was necessary to make the software future proof and modular.

But most importantly, you will get to know the maintainers and their motivation.

Session author's bio

Jürgen Gmach is an experienced software engineer with a passion for Python and Linux, developing open source software both at his day job at Canonical, and at night as a maintainer of the tox automation framework. He is a fellow of the Python Software Foundation, and contributed to more than 300 open source projects.

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Level of Difficulty Beginner

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