In technical terms, Python is an object-oriented, high-level programming language with integrated dynamic semantics primarily for web and app development. Sounds good enough, right?
But with 256 programming languages out there already, how has this clever language risen so quickly through the coding popularity ranks? And why are many choosing to worship this mighty contender over all others?
We take a look at what Python is, the range of benefits contained within its armoured exterior, and just what’s caused its incredible growth in popularity...
What is it?
Breaking into the world of coding in 1991, Python.org, the official home of this programming reptile puts Python quite simply, as “a programming language that lets you work quickly and integrate systems more effectively.”
More efficient working? A more effective way to integrate systems? What’s not to like? So, let’s delve a little deeper…
It was initially created as a way to write scripts that “automate the boring stuff”. But over time, has transitioned itself as a leader in web development, infrastructure management and the analysing of data. Gone are the days of back-room utility language. When it comes to web application creation and big data analytics, Python has really been having its say.
As Python can disparate code, it can be seen as a “glue code,” meaning that “in addition to connecting disparate software modules, it can be used to tie together multiple systems.”
In 2012, Stack Overflow, the largest and most trusted online community for developers, saw questions related to Python, account for less than 4% of all questions on the largest and most trusted online community for developers.
What’s causing its incredible growth in popularity?A recent report from Forbes highlights a whopping 456% growth in Python in 2017 alone.
Python’s popularity is on the rise because not only it is flexible and easy to learn, it’s the type of programming language that speaks to people at any level of ability. It’s widely used and more importantly, it can be utilised by experts and beginners alike, making it a coding dream.
The beauty of Python lies in its simple programming structure and its ability to offer a whole array of advantages. It can be used for web development, data analysis and writing scripts to automate simple tasks.
Just look at its key players - Google, Netflix, Dropbox, Cisco, NASA. With these big brands on board, it’s clear to see how such a programming language could have gained its popularity.
With this in mind, let’s take a look at the many advantages of Python:
- Easy to learn and put into practice
- Functions are defined
Defining functions play a huge part in extensible programming. As Python themselves put it, this versatile programming language allows mandatory and optional arguments, keyword arguments, and even arbitrary argument lists.
- Quick coding
One of the alluring things about Python web programming is the time it takes in terms of its development. Whatech.com highlights that “the code which takes three hours to write in Java takes just 30 minutes to write in Python.” Talk about timesaving.
Simplicity and flexibility are at the forefront of this languages versatile mind. Straightforward syntax? Check. Use of indented spaces? Absolutely. In fact, it's avid practitioners, known as Pythonistas, have uploaded 145,000 custom-built software packages to an online repository. “From game development to astronomy, these can be installed and inserted into a Python program in a matter of seconds.”
- Compound Data Types
Lists - known as arrays in other languages - are one of the compound data types that Python really understands. Lists can be indexed, sliced and manipulated with other built-in functions.
- Data Science
The need for more experienced data analysis has indeed become one of the most rapidly developed areas of IT in today’s times, and Python takes centre stage when it comes to usage. The vast majority of the libraries used for data science have Python interfaces, making the language the most popular high-level command interface to for machine learning libraries.
- Widely supported
Python is used in many application domains and offers many choices for web development. If you are seeking out a particular application or looking for a library with particular functionality, The Python website provides a Python Package Index, which is rather humorously known as the Cheese Shop, a reference to the Monty Python script of the very same name. Feeling peckish, anyone?
In 2017, developer hub Stack Overflow stated that Python was the world's fastest-growing programming language, claiming a pretty impressive fourth place in the TIOBE index for the first time. Since TIOBE describes its index as "an indicator of the popularity of programming languages", this is a pretty big deal.
TIOBE also shows Python's growing use in teaching, citing data that Python featured in 70% of introductory programming courses at US universities in 2014.
Google itself has been on Python’s slippery side since it reared its efficient head. And it now sits comfortably as one of Google’s official server-sides, nestled in amongst the stellar likes of C++, Java, and Go.
And in case you aren’t really sure about how important Python is to Google, Dutch computer scientist, Guido van Rossum - only Python's founder, BFF and previous BDFL, Benevolent dictator for life - worked at Google between 2005 to 2012. Self-described as "Gawky and proud of it," van Rossum stated: “The joy of coding Python should be in seeing short, concise, readable classes that express a lot of action in a small amount of clear code -- not in reams of trivial code that bores the reader to death.”
It seems that his coding views are shared by programmers alike. In August 2018, an analysis by TIOBE stated that "Programming language Python is getting very close to the top 3 of the TIOBE index. If Python surpasses C++ and becomes number 3, this will be an all-time high for the scripting language of Guido van Rossum."
So now that you know the ins and outs of the flexible, versatile and easy to implement programming language of Python, why not continue the theme and take a look at some of the expert coding courses we offer?
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