Python Programming Language – An Overview

Python is a general-purpose interpreted, interactive, object-oriented and high-level programming language. Python was created by Guido van Rossum in the late eighties and early nineties. Like Perl, Python source code is also now available under the GNU General Public License (GPL).

Python supports multiple programming paradigms, including object-oriented, imperative and functional programming or procedural styles. It features a dynamic type system and automatic memory management and has a large and comprehensive standard library. Python was designed to be highly readable which uses English keywords frequently where as other languages use punctuation and it has fewer syntactical constructions than other languages.

History of Python

Python was developed by Guido van Rossum in the late eighties and early nineties at the National Research Institute for Mathematics and Computer Science in the Netherlands.

Python is derived from many other languages, including ABC, Modula-3, C, C++, Algol-68, SmallTalk, and Unix shell and other scripting languages. Python is copyrighted. Like Perl, Python source code is now available under the GNU General Public License (GPL). Python is now maintained by a core development team at the institute, although Guido van Rossum still holds a vital role in directing its progress.

What Makes Python Special?

Flexibility and diversity, delivered with a sense of humor, makes Python different from many languages. Like Lua, Python code can run several different ways, as a web application, as a standalone application (using third party tools), or as a helper application integrated into a larger software system. This makes the language an option in a wider range of situations than other languages. Python also works for functional, object-oriented, and imperative coding styles, making the language useful to different types of programmers and applications.

Python also uses libraries to access functionality which makes the core language much simpler and lightweight. Coders only need to add a basic set of libraries plus any extra libraries to add functionality they need.

The flexibility of Python has resulted in many versions, for example, Jython for use with Javascript and Cython for use with the C programming language.

How is Python Used?

The language is used somewhat equally as a scripting language to build web applications, like PHP, and non-scripting applications. For example, a number of Google applications use Python, in addition to Go, the transaction optimized language Google created. Python also is used to create small applications to be run as needed by larger applications, many of which are written in different languages. While all coders try to choose the best programming tool for the job, Python is flexible enough to be considered in many situations.

Python Features

Python’s feature highlights include:.

Easy-to-learn: Python has relatively few keywords, simple structure, and a clearly defined syntax. This allows the student to pick up the language in a relatively short period of time.

Easy-to-read: Python code is much more clearly defined and visible to the eyes.

Easy-to-maintain: Python’s success is that its source code is fairly easy-to-maintain.

A broad standard library: One of Python’s greatest strengths is the bulk of the library is very portable and cross-platform compatible on UNIX, Windows and Macintosh.

Interactive Mode: Support for an interactive mode in which you can enter results from a terminal right to the language, allowing interactive testing and debugging of snippets of code.

Portable: Python can run on a wide variety of hardware platforms and has the same interface on all platforms.

Extendable: You can add low-level modules to the Python interpreter. These modules enable programmers to add to or customize their tools to be more efficient.

Databases: Python provides interfaces to all major commercial databases.

GUI Programming: Python supports GUI applications that can be created and ported to many system calls, libraries and windows systems, such as Windows MFC, Macintosh and the X Window system of Unix.


Since 2008, Python has consistently ranked in the top eight most popular programming languages as measured by the TIOBE Programming Community Index. 15 It is the third most popular language whose grammatical syntax is not predominantly based on C, e.g. C++, C #, Objective-C, Java. Python does borrow heavily, however, from the expression and statement syntax of C, making it easier for programmers to transition between languages.
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