Why Python is the cooler programming language: Many programming languages are available today. Programmers keep creating new languages for good reason. Each language has something special to offer — something it does exceptionally well.
In addition, as computer technology evolves, so do the programming languages in order to keep up. Because creating an application is all about effective communication, many programmers know multiple programming languages so that they can choose just the right language for a particular task.
One language might work better to obtain data from a database, and another might create the user interface elements especially well. As with every other programming language, Python does some things exceptionally well, and you need to know what they are before you begin using it. You might be amazed by the really cool things you can do with Python.
Knowing a programming language’s strengths and weaknesses help you use it better as well as avoid frustration by not using the language for things it doesn’t do well.
Reasons for using Python
Most programming languages are created with specific goals in mind. These goals help define the language characteristics and determine what you can do with the language. There really isn’t any way to create a programming language that does everything because people have competing goals and needs when creating applications.
When it comes to Python, the main objective was to create a programming language that would make programmers efficient and productive. With that in mind, here are the reasons that you want to use Python when creating an application:
- Less application development time: Python code is usually 2–10 times shorter than comparable code written in languages like C/C++ and Java, which means that you spend less time writing your application and more time using it.
- Ease of reading: A programming language is like any other language — you need to be able to read it to understand what it does. Python code tends to be easier to read than the code written in other languages, which means you spend less time interpreting it and more time making essential changes.
- Reduced learning time: The creators of Python wanted to make a programming language with fewer odd rules that make the language hard to learn. After all, programmers want to create applications, not learn obscure and difficult languages.
It’s important to realize that, although Python is a popular language, it’s not the most popular language out there but it is in top 3 as of this writing an organization that tracks usage statistics.
If you’re looking for a language solely for the purpose of obtaining a job, Python is a good choice, but C/C++, Java, C#, or Visual Basic would be better choices. Make sure you choose a language you like and one that will address your application development needs, but also choose on the basis of what you intend to accomplish.
Python was the language of the year in both 2007 and 2010 and has ranked as high as the fourth most popular language in February 2011. In January 2018 python is #2 on the list now. So, really, it’s a good choice if you’re looking for a job, but not necessarily the best choice. It depends what you are doing…
However, it may surprise you to know that many educational facilities now use Python to teach coding, and it has become the most popular language in that venue.
Personally benefiting from Python
Ultimately, you can use any programming language to write any sort of application you want. If you use the wrong programming language for the job, the process will be slow, error-prone, bug ridden, and you’ll absolutely hate it — but you can get the job done. Of course, most of us would rather avoid horribly painful experiences, so it’s important to know what sorts of applications people typically use Python to create. Here’s a list of the most common uses for Python (although people do use it for other purposes):
- Creating rough application examples: Developers often need to create a prototype, a rough example of an application, before getting the resources to create the actual application. Python emphasizes productivity, so you can use it to create prototypes of an application fast.
- Designing mathematic, scientific, and engineering applications: Interestingly enough, Python provides access to some really cool libraries that make it easier to create math, scientific, and engineering applications. The two most popular libraries are NumPy (http://www.numpy.org/) and SciPy (http://www.scipy.org/). These libraries greatly reduce the time you spend writing specialized code to perform common math, scientific, and engineering tasks.
- Working with XML: The eXtensible Markup Language (XML) is the basis of most data storage needs on the Internet and many desktop applications today. Unlike most languages, where XML is just sort of bolted on, Python makes it a first-class citizen. If you need to work with a Web service, the main method for exchanging information on the Internet (or any other XML-intensive application), Python is a great choice.
- Interacting with databases: Business relies heavily on databases. Python isn’t quite a query language, like the Structure Query Language (SQL) or Language INtegrated Query (LINQ), but it does do a great job of interacting with databases. It makes creating connections and manipulating data relatively painless.
- Developing user interfaces: Python isn’t like some languages like C# where you have a built-in designer and can drag and drop items from a toolbox onto the user interface. However, it does have an extensive array of graphical user interface (GUI) frameworks — extensions that make graphics a lot easier to create (see https://wiki.python.org/moin/GuiProgramming for details). Some of these frameworks do come with designers that make the user interface creation process easier. The point is that Python isn’t devoted to just one method of creating a user interface — you can use the method that best suits your needs.