What is YAPF?

A formatter for Python files, developed by Google team
30 October 2017   443

What is YAPF?

Most of the current formatters for Python --- e.g., autopep8, and pep8ify --- are made to remove lint errors from code. This has some obvious limitations. For instance, code that conforms to the PEP 8 guidelines may not be reformatted. But it doesn't mean that the code looks good.

YAPF takes a different approach. It's based off of 'clang-format', developed by Daniel Jasper. In essence, the algorithm takes the code and reformats it to the best formatting that conforms to the style guide, even if the original code didn't violate the style guide. The idea is also similar to the 'gofmt' tool for the Go programming language: end all holy wars about formatting - if the whole codebase of a project is simply piped through YAPF whenever modifications are made, the style remains consistent throughout the project and there's no point arguing about style in every code review.

The ultimate goal is that the code YAPF produces is as good as the code that a programmer would write if they were following the style guide. It takes away some of the drudgery of maintaining your code.

Code examples

YAPF takes this code:

x = {  'a':37,'b':42,

'c':927}

y = 'hello ''world'
z = 'hello '+'world'
a = 'hello {}'.format('world')
class foo  (     object  ):
  def f    (self   ):
    return       37*-+2
  def g(self, x,y=42):
      return y
def f  (   a ) :
  return      37+-+a[42-x :  y**3]

and reformat it into:

x = {'a': 37, 'b': 42, 'c': 927}

y = 'hello ' 'world'
z = 'hello ' + 'world'
a = 'hello {}'.format('world')


class foo(object):
    def f(self):
        return 37 * -+2

    def g(self, x, y=42):
        return y


def f(a):
    return 37 + -+a[42 - x:y**3]

See GitHub for more information. 

What is Protocol Buffers?

Overview of a Google's language-neutral, platform-neutral, extensible mechanism for serializing structured data
27 October 2017   1387

What is Protocol Buffers?

Protocol Buffers (a.k.a., protobuf) are Google's language-neutral, platform-neutral, extensible mechanism for serializing structured data. Protocol buffers are a flexible, efficient, automated mechanism for serializing structured data – think XML, but smaller, faster, and simpler. You define how you want your data to be structured once, then you can use special generated source code to easily write and read your structured data to and from a variety of data streams and using a variety of languages. You can even update your data structure without breaking deployed programs that are compiled against the "old" format.

Why not just use XML?

Protocol buffers have many advantages over XML for serializing structured data. Protocol buffers:

  • are simpler
  • are 3 to 10 times smaller
  • are 20 to 100 times faster
  • are less ambiguous
  • generate data access classes that are easier to use programmatically