Python/Why Learn Python

Objective

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  • Learn the advantages of Python.
  • Learn the disadvantages of python.
  • See some of the testimonies about Python.

Lesson

Advantages

Python 3.4.2 running on Windows 8.
Easy Syntax
Python's syntax is easy to learn, so both non-programmers and programmers can start programming right away.
Readability
Python's syntax is very clear, so it is easy to understand program code. (Python is often referred to as "executable pseudo-code" because its syntax mostly follows the conventions used by programmers to outline their ideas without the formal verbosity of code in most programming languages; in other words syntax of Python is almost identical to the simplified "pseudo-code" used by many programmers to prototype and describe their solution to other programmers. Thus Python can be used to prototype and test code which is later to be implemented in other programming languages).[]
High-Level Language
Python looks more like a readable, human language than like a low-level language. This gives you the ability to program at a faster rate than a low-level language will allow you.
Object oriented programming
Object-oriented programming allows you to create data structures that can be re-used, which reduces the amount of repetitive work that you'll need to do. Programming languages usually define objects with namespaces, like class or def, and objects can edit themselves by using keyword, like this or self. Most modern programming languages are object-oriented (such as Java, C , and C#) or have support for OOP features (such as Perl version 5 and later). Additionally object-oriented techniques can be used in the design of almost any non-trivial software and implemented in almost any programming or scripting language. (For example a number of Linux kernel features are "objects" which implement their own encapsulation of behavior and data structive via pointers, specifically pointers to functions, in the C programming language).[] Python's support for object-oriented programming is one of its greatest benefits to new programmers because they will be encountering the same concepts and terminology in their work environment. If you ever decide to switch languages, or use any other for that fact, you'll have a significant chance that you'll be working with object-oriented programming.[1]
It's Free
Python is both free and open-source. The Python Software Foundation distributes pre-made binaries that are freely available for use on all major operating systems called CPython. You can get CPython's source-code, too. Plus, you can modify the source code and distribute as allowed by CPython's license. [2] (Luckily, CPython has a permissive free software license attitude.)
Cross-platform
Python runs on all major operating systems like Microsoft Windows, Linux, and Mac OS X.
Widely Supported
Python has an active support community with many web sites, mailing lists, and USENET "netnews" groups that attract a large number of knowledgeable and helpful contributes.
It's Safe
Python doesn't have pointers like other C-based languages, making it much more reliable. Along with that, errors never pass silently unless they're explicitly silenced. This allows you to see and read why the program crashed and where to correct your error.
Batteries Included
Python is famous for being the "batteries are included" language.[3] There are over 300 standard library modules which contain modules and classes for a wide variety of programming tasks.[] For example the standard library contains modules for safely creating temporary files (named or anonymous), mapping files into memory (including use of shared and anonymous memory mappings), spawning and controlling sub-processes, compressing and decompressing files (compatible with gzip or PK-zip) and archives files (such as Unix/Linux "tar"), accessing indexed "DBM" (database) files, interfacing to various graphical user interfaces (such as the TK toolkit and the popular WxWindows multi-platform windowing system), parsing and maintaining CSV (comma-separated values) and ".cfg" or ".ini" configuration files (similar in syntax to the venerable WIN.INI files from MS-DOS and MS-Windows), for sending e-mail, fetching and parsing web pages, etc. It's possible, for example, to create a custom web server in Python using less than a dozen lines of code, and one of the standard libraries, of course.
Extensible
In addition to the standard libraries there are extensive collections of freely available add-on modules, libraries, frameworks, and tool-kits. These generally conform to similar standards and conventions; for example almost all of the database adapters (to talk to almost any client-server RDBMS engine such as MySQL, Postgres, Oracle, etc) conform to the Python DBAPI and thus can mostly be accessed using the same code. So it's usually easy to modify a Python program to support any database engine.

Disadvantages

Speed
Python is executed by an interpreter instead of compilation, which causes it to be slower than if it was compiled and then executed. However, for most applications, it is by far fast enough. One Python idiom is "Speed isn't a problem until it's a problem."
"Too Easy"
When one has mastered Python one can become so accustomed to its features, particularly its dynamic late-binding model and its many libraries, that it can be difficult to learn and become comfortable in other programming languages. Specifically the need to declare variable "types" and to "cast" values from one type to another and the syntactic requirements for adding semi-colons and curly braces used by other programming languages can be viewed as tedious or onerous by experienced Python programmers.

Testimonies

  • "Python has been an important part of Google since the beginning, and remains so as the system grows and evolves. Today dozens of Google engineers use Python, and we're looking for more people with skills in this language." -- Peter Norvig, director of search quality at Google, Inc.[4]
  • "Python is fast enough for our site and allows us to produce maintainable features in record times, with a minimum of developers," -- Cuong Do, Software Architect, YouTube.com[5]
  • "Python plays a key role in our production pipeline. Without it a project the size of Star Wars: Episode II would have been very difficult to pull off. From crowd rendering to batch processing to compositing, Python binds all things together," -- Tommy Burnette, Senior Technical Director, Industrial Light & Magic[6]
  • "Journyx technology, from the source code of our software to the code that maintains our Web site and ASP sites, is entirely based on Python. It increases our speed of development and keeps us several steps ahead of competitors while remaining easy to read and use. It's as high level of a language as you can have without running into functionality problems. I estimate that Python makes our coders 10 times more productive than Java programmers, and 100 times more than C programmers." -- Curt Finch, CEO, Journyx[7]
  • "Python, like many good technologies, soon spreads virally throughout your development team and finds its way into all sorts of applications and tools. In other words, Python begins to feel like a big hammer and coding tasks look like nails." -- Mustafa Thamer of Firaxis Games, talking about Civilization IV.[8]

Assignments

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  • Decide whether you want to try Python or not.
  • Read more about Python via main article.
  • Critically think to yourself about readability. Is one huge paragraph easier to read than three small paragraphs? What reasoning lead you to choosing the answer you picked?
  • Critically think to yourself about computer speed. When would speed be important? When would speed be unimportant?
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This article uses material from the Wikipedia page available here. It is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.


Python/Why_learn_Python
 

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