A Short Introduction to Python Programming
What is Python?
Python is a high-level objected-oriented programming language that can be used for both imperative programming and procedural programming.
It is a flexible, general-purpose programming language that emphasizes ease of reading and understanding the code by a programmer.
This implies that it is very close to human language and uses common English words and symbols as part of its syntax.
Origins of Python
Python was developed in the Netherlands in 1989 by Guido van Rossum and was released publicly in 1991.
It is named after Monty Python and was initially developed as a scripting language that was scalable, functional, and object-oriented.
In 2001, the Python software foundation was established. Python is the programming language favored by Google, and in fact, van Rossum worked at Google Incorporated (now a subsidiary of Alphabet Incorporated) from 2005 to 2012.
An open-source, object-orientated language
Python is an open-source and free language that supports automatic memory management. The key paradigm in designing Python was to develop a high-level programming language for object-oriented programming.
In object-oriented programming, the instruction and the data that it needs to use are stored together in a unit called the object.
The object also contains the communication interface that allows the instruction and data to interact. Each object can interact with another object during code execution. The use of objects makes the program modular and easy to read and reuse.
Imperative and procedural programming
As mentioned, Python can also be used in imperative and procedural programming.
As an imperative programming language, Python requires the programmer to list the instructions in the order that the processor will execute them, and then write this instruction set using Python to create an executable code.
In procedural programming, Python allows functions to be used in a program. A function is basically a reusable chunk of code that can start another function or restart itself. The main utility of the function is that it makes a program easy to create, test, and manage.
Normally, the choice of programming language to use for a project is dictated by the program that needs to be created, as well as the computer hardware that will run the program.
For this program to be used by a computer, it needs to be converted into a machine (or binary) code. The instruction set is converted into the machine code by an interpreter. Even so, the instruction set of the program is written in a code editor.
This machine code is a low-level code that is understood by the processor, and hence can be executed by the processor to create an output. As expected, the machine code is a set of binary digits that can be read and interpreted by the processor.
Opcode and Operand
This machine code has 2 types of instructions, the opcode, and operand. The opcode instructs the computer on what to do, while the operand instructs the computer on what data to use when executing an instruction.
The opcode and operand are programmed in a code editor using a high-level language like Python. Usually, Python is written in an integrated development environment.
The integrated development environment (IDE) is a suite that features a code editor and productivity tools such as color coding and autocompletes for instructions, as well as a debugger for identifying errors and interpreters to run and test the executable code.
Learning Python for Beginners
Python is an easy-to-learn programming language if one has the right IDE. Moreover, Python is a powerful high-productivity programming language whose IDE comes with lots of libraries that allow the programmer to create scalable and easy-to-maintain programs.
It also has less Unix bias and better Java integration as compared to other programming languages such as Perl, as well as supports dynamic typing and quicker code development as compared to Java.
Additionally, with the growing popularity of big data applications, Python can be used to develop databases that handle and manage the data collected by these applications.
Python is also useful in developing automation software.
So, where can one learn how to program using Python? There are videos on Youtube like the one above. However, for more of a hands-on, guided approach, one of the best platforms for learning Python courses is Udemy.
Udemy is a unicorn e-learning startup that provides massive open online courses through an EdTech platform that connects tutors to students.
To find out more on some of the best Python courses currently available on Udemy, head to our top 10 review round-up, here.