An Interview with Tom Caswell, Matplotlib Lead Developer

UPDATE: HTR Mobile has generously provided a Russian translation of this interview!


Tom CaswellGiven the recent surge in popularity of open source data science projects like pandas, NumPy, & Matplotlib, it’s probably a surprise to no one that the increased level of interest is generating some user complaints about documentation. 

To help shed some light on what’s at stake, we thought we’d talk to someone who knows a lot about the subject: Thomas Caswell, Lead Developer of Matplotlib. 

Matplotlib, a flexible and customizable tool for producing static and interactive data visualizations, has been around since 2001 and is a foundational project in the scientific Python stack. Matplotlib became a NumFOCUS sponsored project in 2015.

Tom has been working on Matplotlib for the past five years and got his start answering questions about the project on Stack Overflow. Answering questions became submitting bug reports, which became writing patches, which became maintaining the project… and now he’s the Lead Developer! (Fun fact: Tom’s advancement through the open source community follows exactly the