Simon Willison’s Weblog


Series: My open source process

Articles about the process I use for developing my open source projects.

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Documentation unit tests

Or: Test-driven documentation.

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How to cheat at unit tests with pytest and Black

I’ve been making a lot of progress on Datasette Cloud this week. As an application that provides private hosted Datasette instances (initially targeted at data journalists and newsrooms) the majority of the code I’ve written deals with permissions: allowing people to form teams, invite team members, promote and demote team administrators and suchlike.

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Open source projects: consider running office hours

Back in December I decided to try something new for my Datasette open source project: Datasette Office Hours. The idea is simple: anyone can book a 25 minute conversation with me on a Friday to talk about the project. I’m interested in talking to people who are using Datasette, or who are considering using it, or who just want to have a chat.

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How to build, test and publish an open source Python library

At PyGotham this year I presented a ten minute workshop on how to package up a new open source Python library and publish it to the Python Package Index. Here is the video and accompanying notes, which should make sense even without watching the talk.

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How I build a feature

I’m maintaining a lot of different projects at the moment. I thought it would be useful to describe the process I use for adding a new feature to one of them, using the new sqlite-utils create-database command as an example.

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Writing better release notes

Release notes are an important part of the open source process. I’ve been thinking about these a lot recently, and I’ve assembled some thoughts on how to do a better job with them.

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Software engineering practices

Gergely Orosz started a Twitter conversation asking about recommended “software engineering practices” for development teams.

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Automating screenshots for the Datasette documentation using shot-scraper

I released shot-scraper back in March as a tool for keeping screenshots in documentation up-to-date.

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The Perfect Commit

For the last few years I’ve been trying to center my work around creating what I consider to be the Perfect Commit. This is a single commit that contains all of the following:

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Coping strategies for the serial project hoarder

I gave a talk at DjangoCon US 2022 in San Diego last month about productivity on personal projects, titled “Massively increase your productivity on personal projects with comprehensive documentation and automated tests”.

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Things I’ve learned about building CLI tools in Python

I build a lot of command-line tools in Python. It’s become my favorite way of quickly turning a piece of code into something I can use myself and package up for other people to use too.

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Publish Python packages to PyPI with a python-lib cookiecutter template and GitHub Actions

I use cookiecutter to start almost all of my Python projects. It helps me quickly generate a skeleton of a project with my preferred directory structure and configured tools.

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