Python is a high-level, integrated, general-purpose programming language developed in 1991 by Guido van Rossum. The design philosophy underpinning It emphasizes code readability characterized by its use of considerable whitespace. Python’s object-oriented approach and language constructs focus on helping programmers write logical, clear code for large and small-scale projects.
Python is one of the top four widely-used programming languages. As it has increased in popularity, its main focus on the quality of code and readability, plus the associated impact on developer productivity, appears to have been the driving force to it’s success.
What is Python?
- Back end software development
- Desktop apps
- Big data and mathematical computations
- System scripts
- Data Analysis
- Data Science
- Artificial Intelligence
- And many others
The reasons why Python is the go to language for many can be summarized in the following points:
- Beginner Friendliness as it reads like almost English
- Very no hard rules on how to build features
- Easier to manager error
- Many and big supporting communities
- Careers opportunities
- Future especially for the strong fit towards Data Science and Machine Learning Applications
Python is one of the most powerful programming/coding languages. It’s one of the programming languages that are interpreted rather than compiled. This means the Python Interpreter works or operates on Python programs to give the user the results. The Python Interpreter works in a line-by-line manner. With Python, one can do a lot. It has been used for the development of apps that span a wide of fields, from the most basic apps to the most complex ones. It can be used for the development of the basic desktop computer applications. It is also a good coding language for web development. Websites developed with Python are known for the level of security and protection they provide, making them safe and secure from hackers and other malicious users. It is well applicable in the field of game development. It has been used for the development of basic and complex computer games. It is currently the best programming language for use in data science and machine learning. It has libraries that are best suitable for use in data analysis, making it suitable for use in this field. A good example of such a library is scikit-learn (sklearn) which has proved to be the best for use in data science and machine learning.
Python is well known for its easy-to-use syntax. It was written with the goal of making coding easy. This has made it easy for the best language even for beginners. Its semantics are also easy, making it easy for one to understand Python codes. The language has received a lot of changes and improvements, especially after the introduction of Python 3. Previously, we had Python 2.7 which had gained much stability. Python 3 brought in new libraries, functions, and other features, and some of the languages construct where changed significantly.
Why was Python developed?
The reason why Guido Van Rossum embarked on the move to design a new programming language is that he wanted a language that could offer a simple syntax just like the ABC. This motivation led to the development of a new language named Python.
But you may be wondering why just the name Python?
First, this language wasn’t named after the huge snake called python. No! One of the interests of Rossum was watching comedy. He was a great fan of the comedy series in the late seventies. As a result, the name of the language was borrowed from the “Monty Python’s Flying Circus.”
Features of Python
The syntax of a python language is clean and the length of the code is short. Developers who have used it at one point of their lives will express how fun it was to code with Python. The beauty of Python is that it offers you a chance to think more about the task at hand instead of the language syntax.
Python is Easy
Python is an easy language to get started with. The ease of use is underscored by the fact that most of the programs written in python look similar to the English language. Therefore, this simplicity makes it an ideal learning language for entry-level programming courses, and thus introducing programming concepts to students.
Python is Portable/Platform Independent
It is massively portable, which means that Python programs can be run in various different operating systems without needed specific or extensive changes.
Python is an Interpreted Language
Mainly, Python is an interpreted language as opposed to being a compiled language on the other hand, C, C + + are examples of compiled languages. In many cases, the programs composed in a high-level language are typically referred to as source code or source programs. As a result, the commands in the source codes are referred to as statements. A computer lacks the capacity to execute a program written in a high-level language. Typically, computers understand machine language, which comprises of 1s and 0s only.
Python is an interpreted language as the program executes directly from the source code. Every time its programs are run the source code is required. What Python does is to convert the source code written by the developer into an intermediate code which is then further converted into the machine language ready to be executed. It is therefore an Interpreted language as it is processed in real-time by the interpreter. The source code does not need to be compiled before its execution. Compiled means that the code needs to be converted to machine language before runtime.
Python is Dynamically Typed
Another characteristic of Python is to be dynamically typed which means that data types are checked on the fly, during execution vs statically typed when data type are checked before run-time.
Python is Strongly Typed
Huge set of libraries Python provides users with a broad range of libraries, which make it easy to add new capacities and capabilities without necessarily reinventing new approaches.
What type of application I can create using Python?
Some of the main applications for which Python is used include:
- Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence
- Data Science and Data Visualization
- Web Development
- Game Development
- Desktop GUI
- Web Scraping Applications
- Business Applications
- Audio and Video Applications
- CAD Applications
- Embedded Applications
- System administration applications
- GUI applications
- Console applications
- Scientific applications
- Android applications
- And many others
Reasons you should consider to write Software Applications using Python
Easy to Read and Maintain
While creating an application, you need to concentrate on the brilliant nature of the source code to make the process of updating and maintaining the code easy. The Python Syntax permits you to demonstrate concepts without writing extra code.
Besides this, Python provides the chance to use English terms instead of punctuations. For that reason, one can use it to build custom applications without writing extra code. When you write code that is easy to read, it simplifies the process of updating the software.
Compatible with Key Platforms and Systems
As said before, it can run in different operating systems. You can even decide to use Python Interprets to run the code on a defined platform. Additionally, it is an interpreted programming language. In other words, you can run the same piece of code on different platforms without recompiling. Therefore, you don’t need to recompile the code once you make any changes. In fact, you can run the altered code without recompiling and confirm the effect of changes done to the code instantly. This feature allows developers to change the code without increasing the building time.
Many Open Source Technologies and Frameworks
Since Python is an open-source language, it helps save the cost of the software. Why? You can include different open source Python frameworks, development tools, and libraries to reduce the development time without increasing the cost of development.
Breakdown the Intricate Software Development
You can use Python to build both web and desktop applications. Still, you can use it to develop complex scientific programs. It is designed with properties to support data analysis and visualization. You can use the data analysis properties of Python to build big custom solutions without spending extra energy and time. Alternatively, the data libraries and visualizations provided by Python language allow you to visualize and present data in a friendly and effective way.
Apply Test Driven Development (TDD)
With Python, it is possible to develop a software prototype application very fast. Furthermore, the software application can be developed directly from the prototype by refactoring the python code.
Still, Python simplifies coding and testing through the use of TDD methodology. You can quickly write the relevant tests before writing code and adopting the tests to examine the application code. Also, the tests can help confirm whether the application fulfills predefined requirements depending on the source code.
However, Python has its own drawbacks. For example, it doesn’t have built-in features available in other modern programming languages. As a result, you just need to use Python libraries and frameworks to increase custom software development. Also, It is slower than other languages like Java and C + +. This means you will need to boost the Python application by implementing changes to the application code. But still, you can use Python to simplify software maintenance and speed up the process of software development.
Who uses Python?
Some of the main companies that utilize Python include:
- Bit Torrent
- Banks such as JPMorgan Chase, UBS, Getco, and Citadel apply Python for financial market forecasting.
- NASA for scientific programming tasks
- iRobot for commercial robotic vacuum cleaner
- And many others
How to Install Python
How to Install Python in Mac OS X
- Navigate to the Python Download page on the official website and click “Download” (There will be a version name at the end.)
- Once the download completes, open the package and begin to follow the instructions. You will then see the notification “The installation was successful” when Python completes the installation successfully.
- It is advised to download a great text editor before you can start the installation process. For new beginners, you should download the Sublime Text. It is available for free.
- The installation process of Sublime text is quite simple. You only need to run the Sublime Text Disk Image file you download and follow the instructions.
- Once the installation is over, open the Sublime Text and navigate to File > New File. Next, save the file using the .py extension such as beginner.py or hello.py.
- Write the code and save it. For newbies, here’s a code to use:
Print (“ Hello, World!”)
The simple program prints, “Hello, World!”
- Navigate to Tool > Build. Here, you can move to the bottom to see the results of your program.
Install and Run Python in Linux
- First, you need to install the dependencies below.
- Navigate to the Download page located on the official site and click “Download Python 3.6.0”. If you see a different version, don’t hesitate to download it.
- Go to the terminal and locate the path where the file is downloaded and execute the following command:
$ tar -xvf Python-3.6.0.tgz
This line will remove your zipped file. Just know that the filename will be different if you downloaded a different version. So you should ensure you use the right filename.
- Now shift to the extracted directory.
$ cd python-3.6.0
- Use these commands to compile Python source code on your OS.
$ make install
- It is advised that you install Sublime Text if you are a new beginner. If you are using Ubuntu, then you should run the following commands to install Sublime Text:
$ sudo add-apt-repository -y ppa:webupd8team/sublime-text-2
$ sudo apt-get update
$ sudo apt-get install sublime-text
- Now open Sublime text. To build a new file, navigate to File > New File
- Save the file using the .py file extension such as beginner.py
- Write the code and save it. For beginners, you can use the following code:
Print (“ Where are you?”)
This program will display, “Where are you?”
- Navigate to the Tool > Build. You can view the output at the bottom of the Sublime Text.
$ sudo apt-get install libreadline-gplv2-dev libncursesw5-dev libssl-dev libsqlite3-dev tk-dev libgdbm-dev libc6-dev libbz2-dev
Install Python in Windows
- Navigate to the Download page found on the official site and click on the Download Python 3.6.0.
- Once the download is complete, open the file and start the installation process. Once the installation of Python is done, IDLE is installed alongside.
- Open the IDLE, paste the code below and press enter.
Print (“ Hello, World!”)
- To develop a file in IDLE, navigate to the File > New Window.
- Write a Python code and save it with a .py file extension.
- Navigate to the Run > Run module and view the output.
Tips to learn Python
Well, the first step in becoming a master in Python programming is to ensure that you know how to learn. Knowing how to learn is a vital skill in computer programming.
So why is it important for you to know how to learn? Simply put: language changes, new libraries are created, and new tools are released. Thus, if you know how to learn, it will be important to help you remain at par with these changes and become a successful developer.
Practice coding daily
Consistency is a key element when trying to learn anything new. Whether you want to learn how to drive a car, how to cook pizza, or even play basketball, you must be consistent. And learning a new language isn’t an exception. You may not believe it but muscle memory plays a huge role in programming. By coding daily, you will be boosting that muscle memory. Although this can be difficult in the first few weeks, you should try and begin with 25 minutes per day, and slowly increase the length of time each day.
Write something down
Concepts will not stick in your brain just by staring at them; you must have a pen and a notebook to take notes. Research indicates that taking notes by hand increases the level of retention. If you want to become a full-time Python developer, then you must take notes, and write down some lines of code.
Once you begin to work on small programs, writing by hand can assist you to know how to plan your code before you shift to the computer. This will help you save a lot of time, especially if you can write out the type of functions, variables, and classes you will need.
Don’t be dull but be active
Whether you are learning how to debug an application or learning about Python lists, the Python shell should be your favorite tool. Use it to test out some Python codes and concepts.
Give yourself a break
You know that work without play makes Jack a dull boy, so take breaks and allow the concepts to sink. Take a break of 25 minutes, then come back and resume your learning process.
Breaks ensure that you have an efficient study session, especially when you are learning new information. Breaks will be crucial when you start to debug your program. If you get a bug and you can’t tell how to fix it, a break could answer to your problem. Step away from your computer and refresh yourself.
Maybe it could be a missing quotation mark that is preventing your program from running, and that break will make a difference.
Love to fix bugs
When it comes to hitting bugs, this is one thing that you will never miss if you begin to write advanced Python programs. Running into bugs is something that happens to everyone who codes. It doesn’t matter which language you are using. Don’t let bugs get the better of you. So you need to embrace any moment you encounter a bug and think of yourself as a master of solving bugs.
When you start to debug, ensure that you have a methodological strategy to assist you in identifying where things are going wrong. Scanning through your code by following the steps in which the program is implemented is a great way to debug. Once you identify the problem, then you can think of how to solve it.