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Overview

Founded in 2010, IP Street has built the world’s preeminent Intellectual Property(IP) analytics and visualization engine, in conjunction with a nationally recognized IP law firm. Our SaaS product helps corporations and financial analysts quickly and efficiently analyze IP information.  We make IP data easy to get, use, and understand!

As with any organization, we’ve continued to evaluate new ways to provide value to our clients. We’re evolving into a “SaaS+” model, which pairs our service with expert consultation to assist our clients in assessment and evaluation.  Our focus remains on the financial and technology markets.

Our technology stack is almost all open-source, with some nifty esoteric search technologies. Most of your work will be in Python and Django, in a Mac-based development environment, deploying to Linux. Other technologies include Postgres, Redis, and Solr. Our client-side code relies on Highcharts and Backbone.

This is a “small b” big data firm. But since we’re a scrappy start-up, we don’t have a big firm’s resources. We compensate by hiring senior people who are self-directed, appreciate real-world development trade-offs, and have a can-do attitude. It’s OK to not know something if you’re eager and willing to learn it. We know that bad code always haunts, so if you enjoy writing good code using a language’s standards and idioms, you’ve come to the right place!

This position is in a small engineering team. Its focus is on server-side work, which includes poking fingers into PostgreSQL, Solr, and other technologies. So, it’s not just coding. We do feature design, development, testing, DevOps, some customer support, and work closely with product management. Did I say that we wear multiple hats every day?

On to the details…

Responsibilities

  • Collaborate with others in product direction, priorities, and feature design
  • Design, implement, and test new product features and bugfixes
  • Make the user experience of our products as powerful, simple, and manifest as possible
  • Do what’s needed to move the company forward!

Qualifications

  • Significant server-side development experience. We’re not hung up on a number, because one year for you could equal five years for someone else. We’re looking for the confidence and awareness that comes from working with server-side web code. Here are some keywords: Subtasks, sentinels and software locks, software farms, scaling, and schema migration.  If you’re a smart person who enjoys working on software systems running on servers, you can check this box.
  • Significant experience developing in Python or a Python-based framework. We’re a Python and Django shop, and there’s no PHP, Ruby, or Perl within 2000’ of our codebase.  This must be serious development, and not, “I occasionally write 20-line scripts.”
  • If you’re very experienced in another language and are eager to learn Python, that could be OK. Can you convince us that you’re looking for a great opportunity to learn?
  • If you don’t know Django, that’s fine — it’s easy to learn.
  • Abilities that are nice to have: Significant interaction with PostgreSQL, Solr, or another type of db/search engine.
  • Some experience in JavaScript would be another plus. This won’t be your focus, though.
  • You’re enthusiastic about modern software development, distributed version control, coding, documentation, testing, and teamwork.
  • You have excellent judgement in attacking complex tasks, and in balancing “good enough, now” vs. “much better, later”
  • You’re self-sufficient, and confident in setting standards
  • Good communication skills

To apply

Salary depends upon experience. Please send your resume to johnd@ipstreet.com.


IP Street’s application runs on Python 2.7. Earlier this week, I evaluated all our Python packages for Python 3 support, as the first step in deciding when to migrate our codebase.

Although this was the time I’ve checked our packages for Python 3 support, I expected Django to be the only one that didn’t officially support it. (Production support is slated for version 1.6, which is now in release-candidate.) But Django is the only project whose development roadmap I closely follow! D’oh! Talk about a blind spot!!

This is why it’s good to sit down and formally check each package. Make a list of every package and check each one…

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If you know someone who fits the bill, send them this post!

————————————

Title: Senior Developer

Reports to: VP Engineering

About IP Street

Founded in 2009, IP Street develops and markets software to help corporations, law firms, and financial analysts better analyze patent-related information. We make IP data easy to get, use, and understand!

Summary

We’re a start-up that’s developed a new way to visualize and data-mine intellectual property. We’re small and scrappy, have an innovative engineering team, and have built the business on awesome products that companies buy!

Our technology stack is almost all open-source, with some nifty esoteric search technologies. Most of your work will be in Python and Django, in a Mac-based development environment, deploying to Linux. Other technologies include Celery, Postgres, Redis, and Solr. Our client-side code relies on Highcharts and Backbone, and supports desktop and mobile users.

This is “small b” big data, with lots of interesting challenges!

Responsibilities

  • Collaborate with others in product direction, priorities, and features
  • Design, implement, and test new product (primarily but not exclusively server-side) features
  • Some front-end coding and debugging, as needed
  • Make the user experience as powerful, simple, and manifest as possible
  • Be positive, flexible, and do what’s needed to move the company forward

Qualifications

  • 10+ years experience in server-side development. Web development would be ideal, but it can be any kind of server-side code. We’re looking for expertise in processing pipelines or workflows, software farms, scaling, schema migration, etc. Or you’re a really smart person who loves complex software systems running on servers!
  • Significant experience developing in Python or Python-based frameworks, on the order of at least 5 years or so. This must be serious development, not, “I write a 20-line script now and then.”
  • Substantial experience in, and understanding of, a web framework such as Django. We’re looking for at least 3 years’ experience. Or if you don’t know Django, you’re eager to learn!
  • Pluses: Significant coding experience interacting with (or experience in configuring) PostgreSQL, Solr, or another SQL or full-text search engine.
  • Other pluses: Experience in or familiarity with jQuery, Backbone or equivalent technology, or client-side graphing packages. (These won’t be your focus, but the knowledge could come in handy.)
  • Enthusiasm about modern approaches to software development, distributed version control, good coding and documentation practices, etc.
  • You have excellent judgement in attacking complex tasks, and in balancing “good enough, now” vs. “much better, later”
  • You’re self-sufficient when possible, and confident in setting standards
  • You’re eager to build a small company into something insanely great!
  • Excellent team and communication skills
  • Bachelors Degree or equivalent in Computer Science or Software Engineering

Salary is DOE. Please send resume to john @ this-site’s-domain.


An update to an earlier post

I’m replacing pyrax with something else in our system. The authentication errors and oddball failures still occur, and I’ve lost confidence that Rackspace will fix them in any reasonable amount of time. This is extremely frustrating.

Python-cloudfiles was way more stable, even though it wasn’t and still isn’t in active development. Maybe we’ll resume using that.

More later.


Thursday, I was irked by a bug.

I had modified a background task so it could import a range of documents from another subsystem into our datastore, instead of only one. Its parameters had included one “document id”, which identified the patent document to import. Now, it could be given that, or two document ids representing a document range.

In one instance, it reported a successful completion yet the desired patents weren’t loaded. What had gone wrong?

Multiple official and de facto formats exist for US patent application and grant document ids. To keep this simple, let’s consider US Design Patents. Their document id is a “D” followed by a number. This looks like “D4432″, or “D902″.

So if you wanted to import a range of Design Patents, you might say, “Import the patents D900 through D4000, inclusive.” “D900″ is the lower bound and “D4000″ is the upper bound. Right?

Not so fast!

>>> "D900" < "D4000"
False
>>>

Gah!

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tl;dr: Think about exceptions when writing a context manager.

I made a huge unforced error with a context manager at work.

We use Redis distributed locks for system synchronization. I wanted a context manager that acquired n locks, executed protected code, and then released the n locks in reverse order. It would be simple to use:

from common.util import Semaphore, distlock

semaphore1 = Semaphore(OwnerDisambiguationUpdate.UPDATE_LOCK)
semaphore2 = Semaphore(USMaintenanceFeeUpdate.UPDATE_LOCK)

with distlock(semaphore1, semaphore2):
    do_some_work()

(The Semaphore class does other work with aborting Celery tasks, but that’s not germane here. It’s a Redis distributed lock with extra fanciness.)

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