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In Conversation With the Reloadium Team: Hot Reload and a Future Webinar

PyCharm is working hard on Python developer experience (DX). There’s a project with a very promising DX boost using “hot reloading”: Reloadium. It really speeds up turnaround time on working with your code, and with the PyCharm plugin, brings fresh new ideas to running, debugging, and profiling.

On January, 27 we have a webinar with Reloadium to show it in action. As an intro, we did a Q&A with the team.

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Quick Hit: Why should people care about Reloadium?

DK: Reloadium is a valuable tool for developers that offers hot reloading, shortening development cycle and preserving application state for debugging. Its PyCharm plugin integration makes Reloadium easy to use and offers additional features for efficient debugging. It’s a powerful tool for improving workflow and streamlining development.

Now, some introductions, starting with Sajan, who will be presenting.

ST: Thank you for the opportunity to be a part of this, Paul, we are very excited to share a glimpse into the problem we are solving for Python developers. My name is Sajan, I am a Business Psychologist specialising in the areas of business development, change management, and human factors. I have been working closely with Damian to create and improve Reloadium by identifying the gaps that exist in terms of productivity with Python and finding ways to close these gaps. 

DK: My name is Damian and I am the creator of Reloadium. I am currently employed as a Technical Lead and Full-Stack Developer on a full-time basis. The concept for Reloadium originated from a project I was working on, where I found that I had to frequently deal with long restart times. I created an initial version of Reloadium and used it to optimize my workflow, cutting down the development time significantly. That experience motivated me to continue to develop the tool and make it available to other developers. I am dedicated to providing a reliable and user-friendly hot reloading solution that can improve the development experience and increase efficiency in the programming process.

Explain hot reloading, especially from its use in frontend dev.

ST: Hot reloading is a valuable tool for developers. It allows developers to make updates to an application’s source code and see the resulting changes in real-time. This feature streamlines the development process by eliminating the need for manual application restarts, thus saving time and improving the efficiency of the development cycle. Additionally, one of the key benefits of hot reloading is the ability to preserve the state of the application, which can be particularly useful during bug fixing and troubleshooting.

In a front-end development context, hot reloading enhances the development experience by providing instant feedback on the effect of code changes, allowing developers to make adjustments and iterate quickly without the need for manual page refreshes. 

Hot reloading is a powerful feature that enables developers to work more efficiently, improve their workflow and deliver better-quality software.

Others worked on this. Damian, you then went off for a long time. What are the subtle, hard parts?

DK: Implementing hot reloading in Python has proven to be a challenging task, as previous attempts have not been able to consistently provide a reliable and user-friendly experience. One of the main difficulties in this process is maintaining compatibility with subtle variations in different versions of Python and operating systems. To ensure consistent quality between releases, it has been necessary to implement rigorous unit and end-to-end testing procedures. This has been a crucial step in identifying and addressing any issues that may arise during the development process, and in ensuring that the final product is stable and reliable for users. 

What are some of the fresh ideas Reloadium brings to DX?

ST: Reloadium brings several cutting-edge features to the developer experience, perhaps the most notable of which is Frame Reloading. This feature allows developers to hot reload the current call stack frame, enabling them to modify code that is currently being executed. This is a significant innovation in the field of software development, as it allows developers to make changes while debugging, which can save a significant amount of time. Another innovative feature is Hot Reloading of Unhandled Exceptions. Reloadium will break at unhandled exceptions and allow developers to fix the error by hot reloading changes. This feature is particularly useful when debugging non-deterministic bugs, as it can save countless hours in the reproducing and resolving of these issues.

How does the PyCharm plugin help improve the DX part?

DK: The PyCharm plugin provides a seamless integration of Reloadium, making it an invaluable tool for improving the development experience. In addition to integrating the core hot reloading functionality of Reloadium, the plugin also includes several advanced debugging features, such as time and memory profiling, call stack frame dropping, restarting frames, and hot reloading of unhandled exceptions. These features provide developers with more robust tools for identifying and resolving issues, thus increasing the efficiency of the development process. Furthermore, the plugin provides visual feedback on hot reloading and code execution, which greatly improves the user experience. Overall, the PyCharm plugin’s integration of Reloadium and advanced debugging features make it a powerful tool for enhancing the development experience.

Another fresh idea: you’ve formed a company to make this sustainable. Tell us about that.

ST: We are in the process of forming a company that focuses on developer tools like Reloadium to improve productivity, and ultimately helps in making programming easier. We are committed to making programming more developer-friendly and accessible so that people can feel free to design, create, and innovate. Through this company, we can keep improving and managing products like Reloadium so that it stays relevant, and continues to help improve productivity for developers.

Give us a teaser for what folks will see in the webinar.

ST:  In this webinar, we will explore:

  • how developers can experience Reloadium’s out-of-the-box experience on PyCharm
  • Reloadium’s hot-reloading feature in action during front-end and back-end development scenarios 
  • The means of further optimising your workflow by using Reloadium’s time-profiling and memory-profiling features. 

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We urge you to join us in this journey to learn about this pioneering DevTool so that you can make more time to design, create, and innovate.  

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