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Python (programming language)

This guide serves as a Python tutorial for beginners. It also contains links to other useful resources and installation guides

Introduction and Installation

Introduction

 

Python is a high-level programming language used widely in many applications like web scripting, scientific computing, text/data mining, regular expression matching, networking and communications, system administration, image processing, software development, etc. Since 2008, Python has consistently ranked in the top eight most popular programming languages[1]. 

 Python is easier to learn and the syntaxes (structure of commands used) are very intuitive. It makes is easier for the programmers, developers, researchers, administrators, etc., to accomplish complex tasks. Python supports object oriented and functional type of programming as well.

 

Applications of PythonClick on the link to see the many application areas where Python is used.

 

Installation Guide for Python

Python is supported on all the major operating systems:

  • Windows: Python 2 (Python 2.7.8 is the latest version). The installer could be downloaded from hereFor Python 3, the latest version is Python 3.4.2 and it can be downloaded from here.

             Not sure which one (Python 2 or Python 3) to install? Check out this link for an extensive explanation and suggestions.

  •  Mac OS: Please check this pageMacOS 10.2 (Jaguar), 10.3 (Panther), 10.4 (Tiger) and 10.5 (Leopard) already include various versions of Python.
  • Linux: 
    • Red Hatinstall the python2 and python2-devel packages.
    • Ubuntu- install the python2.x and python2.x-dev packages.

 

Need help with installation?

Windows 7: Check out this page

Mac OS: Visit this page.

Linux: Check this page.



After installing Python on your computer, you would need a text editor to write your Python scripts. Using a text editor, you can write long scripts with multiple functions and save it (with a .py extension) for future use. Though Python script could be written in any text editor, there are some preferred ones. The list of all available text editors for Python can be found at: https://wiki.python.org/moin/PythonEditors


One of the most popular text editor is Eclipse IDE. To use Python with Eclipse you would need a plug-in called PyDev. Please click on the following link to see a step by step guide on installing PyDev plugin in Eclipse IDE: http://www.rose-hulman.edu/class/csse/resources/Eclipse/eclipse-python-configuration.htm

 Want to know more? Visit https://www.python.org/

 

Installation Guide for Anaconda Distribution  and (or) Jupyter Notebook

1. Anaconda is supported on all the major operating systems:

Anaconda installs Jupyter Notebook alongside Python, IPython and other commonly used packages for scientific computing and data science. Installing Jupyter Notebook by Anacona installation is highly recommended for new users

2. Installing stand alone Jupyter via command line (For more experienced Python users)

Prerequisite: Python 3.3 or greater, or Python 2.7 and pip

If Python and pip are already installed and on the PATH environment variable

  • Open Command Prompt for Windows or Terminal for Mac or Linux
  • Type the following command

             Python 2 - pip install jupyter

             Python 3 - pip3 install jupyter

For more info on setting up Python and pip for command line on this page or this one


[1] Source: Wikipedia

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