Question:

What is Python really? You can (and are encouraged) make comparisons to other technologies in your answer

Answer:

Here are a few key points:

  • Python is an interpreted language. That means that, unlike languages like C and its variants, Python does not need to be compiled before it is run. Other interpreted languages include PHP and Ruby.

  • Python is dynamically typed, this means that you don't need to state the types of variables when you declare them or anything like that. You can do things like x=111and then x="I'm a string" without error

  • Python is well suited to object orientated programming in that it allows the definition of classes along with composition and inheritance. Python does not have access specifiers (like C++'s publicprivate), the justification for this point is given as "we are all adults here"

  • In Python, functions are first-class objects. This means that they can be assigned to variables, returned from other functions and passed into functions. Classes are also first class objects

  • Writing Python code is quick but running it is often slower than compiled languages. Fortunately, Python allows the inclusion of C based extensions so bottlenecks can be optimised away and often are. The numpy package is a good example of this, it's really quite quick because a lot of the number crunching it does isn't actually done by Python

  • Python finds use in many spheres - web applications, automation, scientific modelling, big data applications and many more. It's also often used as "glue" code to get other languages and components to play nice.

  • Python makes difficult things easy so programmers can focus on overriding algorithms and structures rather than nitty-gritty low level details.


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