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Introduction to Python

Learn: In this first article we’ll discuss about the history, features and applications of the most powerful scripting language. We’ll also learn, How to setup Python interpreter(Python Shell)?
Submitted by Abhishek Jain, on August 05, 2017

Python is a high-level and object-oriented programming language developed by Guido Van Rossum, when he was working at CWI (Centrum Wiskunde & Informatica) which is a National Research Institute for Mathematics and Computer Science in Netherlands. The language was released in 1991. Python got its name from a BBC comedy series from seventies- "Monty Python’s Flying Circus".

Python is an easy to learn, powerful high-level programming language. It has a simple but effective approach to object-oriented programming. Python’s graceful semantics and syntax together with its interpreted nature make it an ideal language for scripting and rapid application development in many fields.

Some of the sailent features of Python are:

  • It is a general purpose programming language which can be used for both scientific and non-scientific programming.
  • It is excellent for beginners as the language is interpreted, hence gives immediateresults.
  • It implements the concept of exception handling and dynamic binding better than the other languages of its time.
  • The programs written in Python are easily readable and understandable.
  • It is a platform independent programming language.
  • It is suitable as an extension language for customizable applications.
  • It is easy to learn and use.

Major Applications (in Companies):

  • In operations of Google search engine, Youtube etc.
  • Bit Torrent peer to peer file sharing is written using Python.
  • Intel, Cisco, HP, IBM, etc use Python for hardware testing.
  • Maya provides a Python scripting API.
  • i–Robot uses Python to develop commercial Robot.
  • NASA and others use Python for their scientific programming task.

Setting up Python Interpreter

To write and run Python program, we need to have Python interpreter installed in our computer. IDLE (GUI integrated) is the standard, most popular Python development environment. IDLE refers to Integrated Development Environment. It lets edit, run, browse and debug Python Programs from a single interface. This environment makes it easy to write programs.

NOTE: We will be using version 3.6 of Python IDLE to develop and run Python code, in these tutorials. It can be downloaded from www.python.org.

Python shell can be used in two ways, i.e., interactive mode and script mode. Where Interactive Mode, as the name suggests, allows us to interact with OS; script mode let uscreate and edit python source file. Now, we will first start with interactive mode.

We type a Python statement and the interpreter displays the result(s) immediately.

When we start up the IDLE following window will appear:

python idle - introduction to python

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