One of the names that come to mind as soon as a computer science student hears “Programming Languages” is “Python”. It is, to all, one of the most useful and easy programming languages out there. Yes, of course, it is easy and also essential. It is one of the most important programming languages that one should have the least knowledge when he learns Data Science in Information Technology field. This is an article which consists of the alpha to zeta information that everyone should know. Many people may have an idea of Python as a programming language, but it would be better for the students pursuing an CS career, a little bit more than a programming language.

A brief introduction to Python

Python is a programming language that was developed in the late 1980’s, more officially during 1989 by a developer named Guido Von Rossum. It was developed by the CWI(Centrum Wiskunde and Informatica), an institution of research in Netherlands. It is considered to be a successor of ABC language(you can name it the mother or father) to deal with exception handling. You may suddenly be stricken by the term “Exception Handling”, we might discuss it in the properties of Python as we go on reading. All you need is take a popcorn or beverage and sit relaxed and read every single line.

A little more detailed explanation

A python is an interpreted programming language i.e., it uses a interpreter as the translator for executing specific functions. For those who ain’t aware of compilers and interpreters, let us give a small definition here. If you need the complete working mechanism of how compilers and interpreters work,read our previous article on programming languages. Now, as we were saying, interpreters read the given code of lines by a line-by-line process. If they find an error at a line. They stop reading the code and unless the error is rectified, you cannot read or execute the next lines of code. There are several advantages using interpreter, which are discussed in the previous article. This is a high-level interpreted programming language which is used for achieving new heights in the modern domains like Machine Learning, Artificial Intelligence and Data Science. It is a language in which there are many in-built packages for developing almost all kinds of applications or software that we use these days. Also, the lines and used for every function is highly reduced and the complexity of every single code is reduced in most cases. Python has proved to be easy for every programmers from beginners to experts. Now let us look through in detail how python is different from other programming languages.

Uniqueness of Python

At first we shall see the uniqueness of python from other languages point-wise and then we shall expand every point in detail.

  1. Easier
  2. Expressive language
  3. Free and open sourced language
  4. High leveled language
  5. Portable language
  6. Interpreted language
  7. Object-oriented language
  8. Extensible and embedded language
Easiness

One who has mastered the basics in python and any other languages like C, C++, C# or Java would obviously agree that python is far easier to write commands or programs on. One(A beginner) can easily learn all the basic syntaxes in few days or even hours(depending on the learning speed of the individual), however, it takes months and even years to master all the uses and packages, which is considerably faster than any other language till now.

Expression

Python is a more expressive language comparing to others. Let’s explain the term “Expressive” here, just to be more obvious. Now, consider two languages X and Y. Let us code a program in X. Let us consider the respective program or function can also be done in Y. Now let’s make a program in Y, but we cannot do that in X. As a result, we can say that functions that can be done in X can be done by Y, but functions that can be done by Y cannot be done by X. In this case, Y is said to be more expressive than X. Similarly, Python, in general can perform many functions which cannot be performed using others. Hence, Python is a more expressive language than other language. We can do Databases, we can do Machine Learning, we can do Artificial Intelligence and Deep Learning and also GUI(Graphic User Interface) and better and faster CUI(Character User Interface) for websites, applications and software.

Free and Open Sourced

This one of the main advantages of Python. It is freely available. That is, just type “Python download” and get it free for your respective OS. Also, it is an open-source language. To some people the term “Open-source” may be quite familiar, but is not been aware of what actually it is. Let us now know what an open source object or application or software or language or whatever something is. An example will make you get more familiarized with the concept. Suppose, you are buying clay from a shop and remodeling it to a toy or sculpture or adding a little bit of sand so that it becomes a harder substance. You have bought something and you changed its qualities so that it may be useful for a different purpose or more useful for the same purpose. Likewise, Python can be installed in your computer, modified by adding few more packages or functions for convenience and can be sold for better purposes. This feature is one of the main reasons why Python is much more advanced than the other languages.

High Level Language

Really this ain’t a main feature to discuss about, but compared to all low level languages, it is better(since being a high level language itself is an advantage since the programmers need not be familiarized with the concept of system architecture or the system’s way of understanding)as a high level language and also, syntax-wise, it is an easier high level language and as we have read the previous article about language level scales, Python is a higher level language than the other high level languages.

Portability

Portability is the feature of a language is the feature through which it remains the same in function, appearance and complexity even when it is used in different platforms. For example, if you execute a python program in Windows, you need not change the layout when you use MacOS, or any versions of Linux. It will remain the same in all the Operating Systems. Need not worry about changing the syntax or so…

Interpreted Translation

You need not compile a program and then run it. The interpreter automatically converts the line of code to BYTECODE, and then executes it. Hence it is easier to execute a given program. But speed of compilation and execution still is a limitation in Python’s interpreter.

Object-Oriented Programming

Not all the high-level languages today are Object Oriented languages. An Object Oriented programming language is the one which contains objects as the data storage and usage sites. The objects reduce the work considerable when we make a website or application or a game.

Embedded Functionality

Embedding is the property of a language when it can further be extended to other languages. Python is one of such languages which is extensively used in other languages like HTML and C++.

Extensibility

Extensibility is a vice-versa of embedding. It can use other languages like C++ inside it too.

Other than these, Python also has a very large library filled with pre-defined functions and packages, which make the works for the modern domains like ML,AI and DL much more easier, a well developed GUI platform for performing better functioning web and applications and software. Also it has a “Dynamically Typed” data declaration. That is, you need not declare the data type of a variable when you define it. It automatically guesses the variable(We’ve to confess, it is a very good guesser. But if you do’t believe, declare the data type yourself. Python says you are always welcome to do that).

Exception Handling in Python

As we said in the introduction, exception handling is one of the biggest advantages in Python. It is okay(?) that the programmers face errors while programming a specific function or something, but not the user. If he/she sees something showing instead of a normal output like “Most recent call last” ,the user will be like “What the ____?” . So in order for them to understand that there is an error, the method of “Exception Handling” is used. That is, the programmer can throw a message instead of error while the user is using the particular interface. So that the user may get a clear idea of what is going on and what the error is and how can it be resolved. This method has claimed to make a better understanding between the programmers and the users, which is the reason why many software industries use python as a communicative language.

Disadvantages of Python

Everything that literally exists in the world has some disadvantages with it, and python is no exception from that. Despite having many advantages, it also has some limitations too. Let us see what they are:

Speed Limitations
  1. Speed limitations
  2. Weak in mobile computing and browsers
  3. Restrictions in design
  4. Low end database access layers
Speed Limitations

Since the prime translator used in python is a interpreter, which has it’s own limitations speed-wise, python has found to be slower when the code complexity gets bigger. At a point, programs from C++ and Java executed the similar programs faster than Python.

Weak in Mobile Computing and Browsers

It is literally found to be weaker or insecure when used on client-side servers like mobile applications and that is why it is rarely been used as the primary language for applications.

Restriction in Design

The “Dynamically Typing”, despite being a greater convenience, sometimes gets failed from what we expect it to do and throws run time errors, which is very much irritating when the programmers are involved in larger lines of code, where many changes have to be done. It is advisable that you use the data type for the variable while declaring, unless it is necessary not to mention it (in large lines of code).

Low End Database Access Layers

Python has a good database connectivity, not the better or best. Compared to more widely used technologies like JDBC (Java DataBase Connectivity) and ODBC (Open DataBase Connectivity), Python’s database access layers are more of a bit underdeveloped. As a result, it is not used in huge enterprises often as a Database accessory.

Summary

As we now have discussed Python in detail, and its advantages and disadvantages too, we can summarize by an answer to the question of beginners “Should I learn Python?” and the intermediates “Shall I continue with Python?”. Yes to both the questions. Obviously it has some demerits too, but it comes to consideration when it is used as the primary language of every big start-ups or enterprise. So Python for sure has scope as a definite one for the next decade. You can be recruited as Developer for Web and Application, a Data Scientist, An Artificial Intelligence or Machine Learning or Deep Learning expert or more. By our next article, we shall discuss about the difference between Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning and Deep Learning which is the most confusing and synonymous terms in the field of Information Technology.

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