01. Introduction: What is Python?

In 1989, while working at the National Research Institute of Mathematics and Computer Science in Netherlands, Guido van Rossum was looking to do something during his Christmas break. He decided to work on an interpreter for a new scripting language that he had thought about, which was based on ABC with a mix of Unix and C programming.

Guide van Rossum, the founder of the Python programming language.
Guide van Rossum, the founder of the Python programming language.

This new language was known to be Python, the name coming from van Rossum being a huge fan of Monty Python's Flying Circus, a British sketch comedy series. By January of 1994, version 1.0 of Python was released.

Version 2.0 was released in October of 2000 and included features such as garbage collector and a support for unicode.

Then, version 3.0 was released in December of 2008. This was a backwards-incompatible that improved on several features of the language. Since there was a wider support for libraries that ran on Python version 2.X, many developers refused to upgrade. However, currently, people are slowly beginning to move up to 3.0. This tutorial series will use 3.0.

Characteristics of Python

Here are some reasons why Pythonistas are going crazy over Python, and claiming it as the language of the future.

  • Code readability is a top priority. Python's formatting is its syntax.
  • Quick work cycle - no need to spend time compiling.
  • Good for GUI application games, as well as file and text manipulations.
  • Interactive - users are able to run and test programs from an interactive window.
  • Large standard library with built-in functions.
  • Portable - Compatible with UNIX, Mac OS X and Windows.
  • Supports object-oriented imperatives.
  • A very, very high level language that has support for functional programming.
  • Dynamically typed system with commonly used data types built in.
  • Automatic memory management (no need to allocate/deallocate memory for objects).

Sources

The Zen of Python - Python.org

Python Wikipedia Page - Wikipedia.org

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