Interview with Michael Herman of RealPython

I caught up with Michael Herman of They have recently finished a very successful Kickstarter project, raising several times the money they had asked for.


PySkool: Welcome Michael. Thanks for agreeing to talk to us.

Michael: Glad to be here.

P: Why was Real Python created? (i.e., where did idea come from)?

M: The idea came from Fletcher Heisler, a talented Python web developer. He Kickstarted the first Real Python course. That’s about the time that I came on and we decided to create the web development course. From there, things just picked up.

P: Why kick starter? The “normal” way is to put up a landing page, and see how many sign ups you get. Why did you try Kickstarter?

M: I have explained the reasons here.  We use Kickstarter to get the intial kick of funds we need to take enough time off to write the courses. I am 100% freelance at this point, so in order to take time off, I have to cover my own expenses. This is where Kickstarter comes into play.

P: I see. You cover 3 frameworks in the course (Flask, Web2py and Django)- was this planned, or organic?

M: It was planned. We use stretch goals strategically to help drive more pledges. That said, I thought people learning would enjoy a slow ramp up from Flask to Django because of the automation that happens with Django.

P: Which one do you prefer?

Depends on the situation. I tend to do more Flask development because I enjoy it more. I can build what I want and use the packages I want and not have all the overhead that come with a Django app.

P: Your thoughts on Flask vs Django -> I mean, Flask has suddenly become very popular. Why do you think that is? (ie, Django is too bloated, inflexible etc)

M: Flask is a different tool, used for different jobs. It’s also an awesome learning tool. Use it for your first app. You will learn more.

 P: On the other hand, some people say Flask is a toy project, not ready for the real time. Your thoughts?

A: Not sure who is saying this. Flask is product-ready, production-safe. Etc. I use it in production.

P: One thing I have noticed is that the documentation for Django is very out of date. Is this your experience as well?

M: Traditionally, Django had much better support. But nowadays, Flask is better, mainly because a lot of people are moving to it.

P: I agree. Now, your thoughts on Python vs Ruby on Rails – Is Python losing the war, as almost everyone is using Rails?

M: What war? Again, Rails is good for something things, while Python/Django is good for others. I learned Python and Ruby at the same time. One month with Python, one month with Ruby. I enjoyed the Python syntax better, so I stuck with that. I do quite a bit of development in Sinatra. It’s fun. Also, Python has it’s hands in a number of different areas from sys admin, to data analysis, to web development, whereas Ruby is pretty much relegated to web development. If anything Rails should be more afraid of Node.JS than Python.

P: That’s interesting. You prefer Node.js?

M: Yes. I think its a great framework. It makes it very easy to setup and get started on a project. Plus you have the same language on both the front end  and back end. Node.js is as fun as Flask. And unlike Rails or Django, there is very little magic.

P: What are the future plans for Real Python?

M: More of an online presence. Getting material online. Getting exclusive material online. Creating more of a community. Hosting hangouts. Hackathons.

P: Great. And when is the next Real Python book (Django) coming out?

M: Roughly around mid-March. We are doing a stage release, so some material will release in March, and most of the stretch goals a bit later.

P: Thanks for sharing that. And thanks for agreeing to be here.

M: My pleasure.


The Real Python website

Michael’s personal website

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *