What is Python normally used for?
The most frequently asked questions about Python programming
So you've made the decision to learn a new programming language, have done a little research, and are wondering if Python is right for you? Or maybe you've made up your mind to learn Python but aren't sure how to get started?
Rest assured, you have come to the right place! This article will tell you everything you need to know about Python, including what it is, why it is useful, how to start programming in Python, and where to go from here.
What is Python?
Python is a programming language that is both compiled and interpreted. Python source files (.py) are executed by a compiler and converted to bytecode files (.pyc) which are then executed in real time by an interpreter.
This makes Python a high level language for high level and low level programming languages: which ones should you learn? High or Low Level Programming Languages: Which Should You Learn? What exactly are high-level and low-level programming languages? And what does it mean to learn to write code? Let's start with the definitions of each and let's move on. Read More
The advantages include better readability of the code, a more compact syntax, great flexibility in structuring the code and faster development cycles. The tradeoff is slower execution speed and less access to system level calls.
Why learn Python?
The best reason to learn Python is because its commitment to simplicity makes it one of the easiest programming languages to learn. One of the design principles of Python is a commitment to make programming as pleasant as possible.
In short, Python is fun. What other languages can you really say the same for?
5 Reasons Python Programming Isn't Useless 5 Reasons Python Programming Isn't Useless Python - you love it or you hate it. They can even swing from one end to the other like a pendulum. Regardless, Python is a language that is difficult to be ambivalent about. Read More 10 Computer Programming Jobs That Are Right Now 10 Computer Programming Jobs That Says Now! Since landing a programming job in the current landscape can be tricky, focus on one of the following concentrations to improve your chances of success. Continue reading .
What is Python used for?
So much can be done with Python. In addition to being a fun language, it is extremely practical language that is useful for creating scripts and software of all kinds.
We have several tutorials and resources that you may find useful:
- Reading and Writing Google Sheets with Python Reading and Writing Google Sheets with Python Reading and Writing Google Sheets with Python Python may seem strange and unusual, but it is easy to learn and use. In this article, I'm going to show you how to read and write Google Sheets using Python. Continue reading
- Building GIMP automations with Python Save time and effort by automating GIMP with scripts. Save yourself time and effort by automating the GIMP with scripts. Automating actions with Python scripts in GIMP can save you a ton of time. It's not easy to get started, but once you know these basics you are well on your way! Continue reading
- Building a Basic Web Crawler Using Python Building a Basic Web Crawler to Get Information from a Website Building a Basic Web Crawler to Getting Information from a Website Ever wanted to collect information from a website? You can write a crawler to navigate the website and extract exactly what you need. Continue reading
- Programming and Controlling Arduino Projects with Python How to Program and Control an Arduino with Python How to Program and Control an Arduino Using Python Unfortunately, it is not possible to program an Arduino directly in Python, but you can do it via a Python program via Control USB. Here is how. Continue reading
- Create dummy data for testing products with Python. How to create dummy data in Ruby, Perl, and Python. How to generate dummy data in Ruby, Perl, and Python. You are building a web application and you need realistic information. You need to verify that your validation functions are working properly and that your product is actually working. Continue reading
Overall, Python is used in web development, data analysis, microcontrollers, machine learning, game development, utilities, and rapid prototyping of software that is eventually implemented in other languages.
Is Python Free?
Yes, Python is completely free and open source.
One of the best things about Python is its community-based development, mostly done via GitHub (for checking out the language's source code and sending out patches) and IRC (where users can discuss bugs, features, and other Python-related topics).
If you're interested in a post, check out the Python Developer's Guide.
How long does it take to learn Python?
As with any programming language, it depends on. The more experience you have and the more serious you are with learning, the faster it will be. But, relatively speaking, it takes you less time to learn Python than most other languages.
Given daily practice, I would expect an average of 1-2 months for a beginner to understand the basic concepts of Python and 8-12 months to master. A skilled programmer could likely pick up on Python and be comfortably fluent within 3 months.
To speed up the process, we recommend reading these important Python concepts, our tutorial on how to use Python dictionaries correctly, and these helpful online courses for Python beginners. 5 Courses To Take You From Python Novice To Pro 5 Courses Take You From Python Novice To Pro With these five courses, you'll learn all about programming in Python, one of the hottest languages out there right now. Continue reading .
What is the difference between Python 2.x and 3.x?
When Python 2.0 first hit the market in 2000, the language wasn't that popular. As more developers started to take it seriously and use it seriously, bugs in the language became more obvious, but they couldn't be fixed without major changes.
When Python 3.0 first came out in 2008, the major changes were made, resulting in several new features and improvements. However, the language became incompatible with Python 2.x. This meant developers had to refactor their code to take advantage of Python 3.0, and many of them were not ready - including the developers of many popular third-party libraries and frameworks.
Therefore, Python is essentially divided into two supported versions: the 2.x "heritage" branch and the 3.x "existing" branch. The 3.x branch is the focus of active development, while the 2.x branch only receives bug fixes and security updates.
Today most of the community has moved to Python 3.x, and this is the version I recommend. The only reason to use Python 2.x today is if your project is based on a library or framework that Python 3.x does not yet support.
How to install Python on Windows
Installing Python on Windows is as simple as the official installer:
- Download Python 3.x and run the installer.
- When prompted, make sure to check the “Add Python 3.x to PATH” check box before clicking Install now. I also recommend checking the “Install the Launcher for All Users” check box.
- When prompted, click Yes for UAC permissions.
- Wait for the installation to complete.
- At the end click on Deactivate limitation of path length, then click Yes for UAC permissions, then click Shut down to complete the installation.
How to install Python on a Mac
Most Mac systems are already installed with Python, but normally this version should no longer be used. This is especially true if you are serious about growing yourself (as opposed to just being interested in a hobby).
I recommend installing the latest version of Python 3.x using a tool called Homebrew, a Mac package manager that lets you install software using Terminal.
- Open Terminal.app (with Spotlight, the fastest search in Mac OS X is more efficient with our Top Spotlight tips. Search in Mac OS X with Top Spotlight tips) Spotlight has been an absolute killer Mac feature for years Tips to help you find more on your Mac. Additional Information.
- Visit the homebrew site, copy and paste the install command into the terminal and hit enter. Follow the prompt to complete the installation.
- Install Python with this command:
- If you have problems with Python, you may need to relink it using this simple command:
That's it! If you're interested, learn more about installing software with homebrew. How to install Mac apps in Terminal with Homebrew. How to install Mac apps in Terminal with Homebrew. Did you know you can install Mac software in Terminal? How to Use Homebrew to Install Mac Apps Easily. Continue reading .
How to install Python on Linux
Not all Linux distributions come with Python, but many of them do. For those who don't, Python is often available in the distribution's package manager, and installation is as simple as running a simple command or two.
On Ubuntu 16.10 and newer:
For older versions of Ubuntu, I recommend a third-party PPA:
Update after adding and then install Python.
We covered Ubuntu as it is the most common Linux distribution for desktop users. Unfortunately, we can't cover every other distro out there, but a simple Google search shows it's just as easy for them, too. This is one of the main reasons Linux is the preferred operating system for programmers. 7 Great Reasons You Should Use Linux For Programming 7 Great Reasons You Should Use Linux For Programming Linux has long been known as a place for programmers and geeks to be a fantastic platform for programmers. Unconvinced? Well, there are many reasons to consider Linux for writing code. Continue reading .
How to check the Python version
If you're not sure if Python is already installed, or if you know if it's a version you're currently using, just run this command in the appropriate command line terminal for your operating system:
Some operating systems require this command instead:
What are the best Python IDEs?
When working with Python or any other type of programming in general, a code editor can mean the difference between an enjoyable coding experience or weeks of frustration. For me, a good Python editor can do either one Text editor with extensions or a dedicated Python IDE.
If you don't know the difference, check out our article on The Difference Between Text Editors and IDEs for Programmers. Text Editors vs. IDEs: Which One Is Better for Programmers? Text Editors vs. IDEs: Which One Is Better for Programmers? Choosing between an advanced IDE and a simpler text editor can be tricky. We offer some insights to help you make that decision. Continue reading . I recommend an IDE.
There is only one Python IDE worth mentioning and that is PyCharm. It's available in both a free community version and a paid professional version that costs $ 9 / month (with discounts on annual subscriptions).
The free community version is more than enough for solo developers, with features like intelligent syntax highlighting, code navigation, code refactoring, code inspections, graphical debugging, and integration with version control.
The Paid professional version adds expanded support for business-oriented web development, including code profiling, integration with web frameworks, remote development, and support for databases.
Python text editors
Text editors for coding are plentiful, with Sublime Text, Atom, and Geany being common picks. However, my recommendation is for Visual Studio Code (not Visual Studio).
VS Code is an open source and cross-platform text editor from Microsoft designed for both performance and productivity. By default, it supports features like syntax highlighting, code debugging, code refactoring, code navigation, integration with version control, and more.
However, the real power comes from third-party extensions like:
- Python DocString
- Code runner
- Git history
Sounds good? Get started with these essential productivity tips for Visual Studio Code 10. Essential Productivity Tips for Visual Studio Code 10: Essential productivity tips for Visual Studio Code Visual Studio Code blows other programming text editors out of the water. It's free, open source, lightning fast, and packed with productivity features. Continue reading .
Python online shells
If you've come this far and still not sure if Python is the right language for you, there should be no bothering to install a bunch of software that you may not be using. Instead, you'd better play with Python in an online interactive shell.
An online interactive shell is basically just a website that lets you write, run, and see what it's doing in real time.
Note that interactive shells are nowhere near as fully functional as proper text editors or IDEs. I don't recommend them for long term projects - these are for code testing and messing around only. Here are some nice Python shells you can use to try testing Python in your browser with these free online interactive shells. Try testing Python in your browser with these free online interactive shells Lists you can test the code right in your browser. Here are the best online Python interpreters we've found. Continue reading .
Learn python and take things further
Python is not one of the simpler programming languages, but it is not easy. In addition to browsing these Python tutorial websites, you might want to try this 30 day Python challenge that will get you started on the basics in no time.
If you're more of a hands-on learner, I recommend Codewars. Here are thousands of Python coding challenges to sharpen your skills. 7 Unique Ways to Practice Your Coding Skills. There is no age to study. Once you are on this path, you just need to keep practicing. And today there is more than one way to sharpen the coding functions. Continue reading .
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