And I thought Python was a snake…

I admit that I had heard about Python, reading about it mostly as a hacker’s toolbox. But thanks to two really cool Wi-Fi experts putting together a boot camp at the Wireless LAN Professionals Conference in Phoenix, AZ last month, I have now been exposed to something that is much, much more.

Jake Snyder (Twitter: @jsnyder81) and Ryan Adzima (Twitter: @radzima) collaborated on a three day crash course using Python to automate tasks related to network engineering and Wi-Fi.  They presented code and showed us some of the ways they use Python to interface with network devices through libraries like Ansible, Paramiko, and Netmiko. They showed us how to use Python to interface with APIs from Wi-Fi manufacturers like Mist (which has a lot of exciting things going on in the world of analytics and BLE). They also demonstrated how to interface with programs that many of us Wi-Fi folks use everyday like Ekahau using JSON and XML. We also dove into some more uses for Python by parsing through packet captures with Scapy and in using MatPlotlib to graph results.

I have to admit that I am not a programmer in any sense of the word.  My experience with programming  does go back several years – all the way to High School moving through two semesters of Basic and then qualifying for an advanced class covering Pascal – all on the school’s mainframe.  I also dabbled in C++ and Visual Basic while pursuing my Bachelors degree and I have “futzed” around with PHP so I wasn’t a complete novice going in.  What did surprise me though is the depth and breadth of Python’s abilities.  Realistically we just barely gained brief exposure in the class, but that’s all we had time for.

I didn’t choose the boot camp to come out of it with a full knowledge and understanding of Python.  What I wanted was exposure, to see what might be gained by learning it and I got exactly what I was looking for.  As part of our class, we received a book on Python, titled, “Learn Python 3 the Hard Way”, and I am just now moving through it.  Since learning that many manufacturers are using APIs and the announcement by Cisco regarding their Software Defined Networking (SDN) I am finding that I, once again, have to crack open some books, research on the Internet, and learn something new.

Thanks Jake and Ryan for the first look into a whole new (to me), fascinating world that is on the near horizon in the world of networking. Hopefully, you won’t mind if I ping you every now and again with questions. And definitely keep up with the class – I enjoyed it, appreciate it and I know you put a lot of effort into it.

I may post on some of my experiences in the learning journey.  For now, I will get back to my variables, functions, classes, and modules:

# My closing comment

print(“Until next time…”)

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