Python, the object-oriented programming language, was created by Guido van Rossum in 1989 and released in 1991. Widely used for server-side web development, software development, mathematics, and system scripting, Python is quite easy to pick up if you are experienced in any programming language.
Python is extensible to C or C++ with interfaces to several OS system libraries and calls. This programming language finds application in several fields of computer science like natural language generation, artificial intelligence, and neural networks. In this tutorial, we will walk you through some basics of Python.
- A brief guide to setting up Python
- A basic example of a Python program
- Basic tools in Python
- Features unique to Python
- How is Python syntax different from other programming languages?
- Some real-world applications of Python
- The benefits of learning Python
- Downsides of Python as a programming language
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Setting up Python
Python distribution is available for UNIX, Linux, Windows, and Macintosh; install Python by downloading the binary code suitable for your platform. Programs and other executables are available in directories, and the respective operating systems provide a search path listing the directories.
An environment variable stores the path. The Python directory must be added to your path for invoking the Python interpreter from any directory. There are three ways to start Python – Script from the Command-line, Interactive Interpreter, and Integrated Development Environment. An example of the first method is shown below:
Example of a basic Python program
In this section, we will give an example of a Script Mode Programming. Python files have the extension .py.
1. In a test.py file, type the following source code:
2. Then, run the program as follows:
3. The output will be:
Basic Tools in Python
- Variables – Variables are reserved memory locations for storing values.
- Basic operators – Python supports Arithmetic Operators, Comparison Operators, Assignment Operators, Logical Operators, Bitwise Operators, Membership Operators and Identity Operators.
- Decision making – Python provides different types of decision-making statements, assuming non-zero/non-null values as TRUE and zero/null values as FALSE.
- Loops – Python provides while, for and nested loops to handle loop executions.
- Numbers – Python supports signed integers, long integers, floating-point real values and complex numbers.
- Strings – Python treats both single and double quotes as strings.
- List – It is written as a sequence of comma-separated values within square brackets.
- Tuples – It is similar to lists but immutable and written within parentheses.
- Functions – Python offers in-built as well as user-defined functions.
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Features of Python
- It can be used as a scripting language, to create web applications on a server or for building large applications by compiling to bytecode.
- It supports structured, functional, and OOP programming methods.
- Used alongside software, Python can help create workflows.
- Python provides and supports high-level dynamic data types as well as dynamic type checking.
- It can read and modify files, as well as connect to database systems.
- Performing complicated mathematics and handling big data can be accomplished using Python.
- Python is also useful for developing production-ready software and rapid prototyping.
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Python Vs Other Programming Languages
- Most programming languages use parentheses or semicolons to complete a command. In contrast, Python ends a command using new lines.
- The Python syntax is simple and quite similar to the English language with some influence of mathematics. These make the syntax lucid and readable.
- Defining the scope of loops, classes and functions in Python relies on indentation and uses whitespace. Other programming languages, in contrast, employ curly brackets for defining scopes.
- Due to dynamic typing and built-in high-level data types, Python programs are shorter compared to an equivalent Java or C++ code.
Real-world Applications of Python
Let’s go through some Fascinating Python Applications in Real-World –
- Internet and web development – Python offers libraries for Internet protocols like XML, HTML, JSON, IMAP, FTP and e-mail processing.
- Software development – Software developers use Python for build-control, management and testing.
- Desktop GUI application – With toolkits like Tk, Kivy and Delphi, you can draft user interface for applications using Python.
- Science and Numeric – Python has become popular in the scientific community with SciPy, IPython and NumPy.
- Education – Due to its simplicity, Python is excellent as an introductory programming language for children in schools as well as beginners.
- Business – Tryton and Odoo are popular platforms in Python for developing ERP, e-commerce systems and several other business applications.
- 3D graphics and game development using PyGame, PyKyra and other 3D rendering libraries
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Benefits of Learning Python
- Python works on several platforms like Windows, Linux and Mac.
- Python is suitable for beginners who are new to programming.
- The syntax is simple and eliminates the need to write elaborate program lines.
- Since the interpreter processes Python at run-time, the programs do not need compilation before the execution that allows quick prototyping.
- Python is an interactive programming language where you can directly interact with the interpreter to write programs.
- Python is object-oriented but can also be treated in a procedural or functional way. Learn more about the benefits of learning python.
Disadvantages of Python
- Since Python is interpreted, slow execution might prove to be an issue. However, unless high speed is a crucial requirement for the project, Python’s speed limitation is masked by the other benefits it provides.
- Python is outstanding as a server-side language. But, it is not usually seen on the client side. Also, Python is rarely used for implementing smartphone-based applications and is not very strong in mobile computing and browsers.
- Being dynamically-typed, Python eliminates the requirement of declaring the variable type while writing code. While it is advantageous to programmers, it can cause run-time errors.
- Compared to Java DataBase Connectivity and Open DataBase Connectivity, the database access layers of Python are underdeveloped.
Many people have this question, is python an object oriented language. So basically, python is a general-purpose and object-oriented programming language. Its high-level programming capabilities, portability, lucid syntax, and simplicity have made it one of the most popular programming languages, both among advanced level programmers and beginners.
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In this tutorial, we discussed some fundamental features of Python, along with its pros, cons, and real-world use cases.
What are the advantages of Python as compared to the other programming languages?
Usually, it is seen that Python programs take up more time to run as compared to Java programs. But, the upside here is that Python programs take up very little time to develop. It is seen that Python programs are 3-5 times shorter than a similar Java program. The reason behind its concise structure is Python's built-in high-level data types, along with its dynamic typing.
When any programmer codes in Python language, there is no need for them to declare the variables or types of arguments. Python's powerful dictionary types and the polymorphic list are built straight into the language to make its usage easy in every Python program. On top of that, Python's syntax is pretty easy to understand and also the best one for beginners.
Why is Python weak in mobile computing?
Python is known to be a very strong programming language when it comes to server and desktop platforms, but at the same time, it is a very weak one when it comes to mobile computing. Python is not native to iOS and Android, and this is what makes the deployment process pretty slow and difficult for mobile applications.
Mobile applications built with Python can have plenty of inconsistencies among different versions. It is possible to develop mobile applications with Python, but the developer needs to put in more effort and time for developing a better app.
What are some of the primary disadvantages of Python?
Even if Python is widely used and has plenty of uses, there are certain disadvantages too. There is a huge drawback seen in the areas of security and performance with the usage of Python. The primary disadvantages of Python are its slow execution speed, not being the best choice for game and mobile development, consumption of a large amount of memory, difficulty in testing, and inability to perform error detection during compilation.