Python is the fastest-growing programming language in recent years. Although it is not a new language, because it was created a little more than 20 years ago, Python currently has great support and one of the most active communities.
This success is due to its simplicity, its elegance and its ease of learning. Python is a language that goes beyond programmers. It can be used by data scientists, mathematicians, accountants, and even children! Its multiple uses range from data analysis and visualization, process automation, artificial intelligence and machine learning among many others.
The creator of Python, Guido van Rossum
Python was created in the late 1980s by Dutch computer scientist Guido van Rossum. While working at the CWI (Centrum Wiskunde & Informatica) programming for a system called Amoeba, he understood that he needed a new language to suit his needs: “A genuine programming language, like C, but more concise in its expressions, like shell scripts”. He decided to name it after the comedy group Monty Python’s, of which he was a great fan.
The evolution of Python
Python began to be successful just one year after its release as open-source; “We didn’t call it open source at that time, because the concept didn’t exist yet,” said Guido van Rossum.
His experience with ABC led him to refine the language until it made a difference: “I think my most innovative contribution to Python’s success was making it easy to extend. That also came out of my frustration with ABC. ABC was a very monolithic design. There was a language design team, and they were God. They designed every language detail and there was no way to add to it. You could write your own programs, but you couldn’t easily add low-level stuff.”
Little by little, it gained followers, until it managed to displace other popular programming languages. Its creator was ironically named “Benevolent Dictator for Life” for his important influence in the development of new versions, although in 2018 he decided to retire and resign. Python continues to have a very strong community, determined to continue leading the market with this language. On January 1st, 2020, support for one of the most popular versions of Python, 2.7, was discontinued, and only 3.5x and later versions will be supported thereafter.
Main features of Python
The success of this language is no mere coincidence. Python responds to the needs of programmers in a simple, agile and elegant way. And also, by reducing the number of lines of code. These are some of its main features
- Python is a multi-paradigm programming language that includes a great set of useful tools in its so-called “standard library”
- It has a large community of developers.
- Python is multifaceted: it can be used in data science, system development and administration, web application and script construction, among others.
- Python uses additional package management software such as Anaconda, Miniconda, or PIP
- It is an interpreted language, this means that it is not compiled unlike other languages such as Java or C/C++, but is interpreted at runtime.
- Simplified and fast: This language simplifies a lot the programming, it is a great language for scripting.
- Portable: It is a very portable language. We can use it in almost any system in the world.
- Elegant and flexible: The language offers many tools to the programmer as it is easily readable and interpretable.
- Healthy and productive programming: It is easy to learn, with a moderate learning curve. It is very easy to start programming and promotes productivity.
- Tidy and clean: It is very readable and its modules are well organized.
Thanks to all these qualities and the ongoing support of a dedicated community, Python is now a key element in the development of data science. It will undoubtedly continue to be part of the core skills needed to achieve success in the projects of the future. But, what do you think will be the outlook for programming languages in the medium term? Will Python continue to reign or will new tools be created to displace current languages, opening the door to a new paradigm in data science? Follow us to discover with us all the new developments in this exciting subject! #GoForMore