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I'm starting to get into network automation, specifically Python and Ansible with Cisco gear.

Is this the right group for these types of questions or is there a better one? The questions I can think of right now have more to do with Python with respect to Cisco rather than general Python so the Python group doesn't seem to be a good place.

I looked at the right/wrong place FAQ and this isn't specifically mentioned.

  • Questions about network programming are considered off topic here (at this moment), since Stack Overflow can handle these better, just like Server Fault can handle Ansible-related questions. Could you give some examples of questions you have in mind, that might make this discussion a bit easier. – Teun Vink Jun 1 '16 at 5:22
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    I spend quite a bit of my time automating things... I would like to see more questions like this, but as Teun said, it would help to have more detail about the nature of the questions... if it's strictly about some language, then yeah... probably best on Stack Overflow... however, if the questions involve details about how to interact with network gear (via Ansible / Python for example), then those quite easily could be on-topic. Alternatively you can always ask any question in chat, and ping me (via StackExchange or Twitter) so I know it's there – Mike Pennington Jun 2 '16 at 16:54
  • Thanks Mike. I'll keep you in mind and ping you with questions. Teun, I'm talking specifically about questions related to network automation with (mostly) Cico gear. Sure, if I have a general Python question I can ask it in Stack Overflow but I assume they wouldn't know the network integration piece of it. For example: Libraries available for parsing through certain information, what data structure should I put things in, do I put something in a list, convert it to JSON, etc..? Those are the types of questions I was talking about. – RSS Jun 2 '16 at 17:02
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    More and more people are starting to get into this and I think it's probably time to start allowing questions with respect to network automation here as long as it's got a network component. Strictly programming questions can still be asked in a programming forum. – RSS Jun 2 '16 at 17:05
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    Actually it might be best to start asking the library and data structures questions in chat... data structure questions aren't really going to be well received on the main site, but I can see how it could be awkward asking this on Stack Overflow. Library recommendations are probably off topic just like router recommendations are... the good news is that anything goes in the chat room. – Mike Pennington Jun 2 '16 at 17:13
  • OK, sounds good. I want to do a little more studying first. I'm going through a Python book right now. Basically, my learning project is going to be this: Go through the results of sh ip interface brief, give me the ports with VLAN 666, alert me of any that are connected and change them all to VLAN 667. I'm also playing with netmiko right now. – RSS Jun 2 '16 at 17:51
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    To be clear: I totally agree that this a growing topic. I acutally have been reading in my new Junos Automation book today :) But it may be a tough topic to fit in between Stack Overflow and this site, and even softwarerecs.stackexchange.com (where library recommendations are welcome). The line between what's a network engineering question and what is a programming question may be hard to draw sometimes. I think @MikePennington's suggestion of discussing this in Network Engineering Chat would be a good start. And of course, if other members have an opinion, please raise your voice and let us know how you feel! – Teun Vink Jun 2 '16 at 21:18
  • Thanks Teun. I agree it's a fine line. My thought was that there would be a greater concentration of people here that know the ins and outs of using Python, Ansible, etc. with networking gear than there would be in the general Python group. I'm thinking that if I ask something like "I just pulled this data off a switch, what kind of data structure should I use to work with it?" They might tell me to just put it in a list or dictionary where someone more familiar might say "convert it to JSON and use XYZ to work with it." I do want to look at Stack Overflow though... – RSS Jun 4 '16 at 2:13

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