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Welcome to Python-Part 1

Updated on May 25, 2017

Overview

Python1 is one of many programming languages that has been used in numerous applications since its creation in 1989. I was introduced to Python during my Junior year of college, and I have fallen in love with it ever since. Python in itself is designed to be easy to use by anyone, making it, in my opinion, the first programming language a coder should learn. Fifty lines of code in Java2 can be represented in less than ten lines of Python. If you want to get to code, the first step a coder takes is a simple program called "Hello World, " and in this article, you will learn how Python is the easiest of programming languages to understand.

What is your OS?

What is your poison? No matter what Operating System3 you have, Python is compatible with Mac, Windows, and even Linux. To run Python, you need to identify what your OS version is. Since most of us use Windows and Mac, I have outlined those below.

  • MAC

If you own a Mac computer, then you already have Python installed, and you don't even know it. To test this out access your terminal and type in "idle." A screen should pop up that shows Python. If for some reason your version is out of date, you can always access a newer IDLE via the Python downloads page.

  • Windows

Sadly for Windows, Python is not already installed. However, you can easily install it by accessing the Python downloads page where you can select the Python 3 IDLE.

The program we are using within python is called IDLE and is the compiler for the programming language. You can access this in two ways. When installing Python 3, make sure to select the install to Path4 feature as this will enable your terminal to access Python without the need of the IDLE. Installing to Path is ideal when connecting interfaces that go with Python (more on that later). During the creation of this article, Python 3 is the current version.

Let's Begin Coding

Coding is a sophisticated practice within the computer science world. However, no matter what the language is, a standard program called "Hello World" is an excellent introduction to coding. In Python, coding this is only one line. All coding is done within the IDLE. After installation, access the IDLE so that you can begin coding your first program!

When opened, IDLE is displayed similar to that of a console or terminal that takes in commands one line at a time. If you want to create your program, then select the File => New File to open up a blank notepad that you can begin coding on.

All Python codes have the extension of ".py". Since we just want to show the capabilities of the programming language let's remain in IDLE, though you can easily code in a new text file.

The print() method displays the value within the parenthesis. In this case, we want to output the word "Hello World". When taking in a string, like all primitive data, there is no need to define its type in Python as the programming language is smart enough to know what a string value is (unlike Java). Go ahead and type the code below into Python!

Python Code for Hello World

print("Hello World")

After typing this into IDLE, the string 'Hello World' will be displayed! In Java, you would have to type out a longer line that sometimes ends up in misspelling something. Python makes it so much easier!

What the line would look like in Java

System.out.println("Hello World");

Both Java and Python are incredibly different on their syntax and on how a task is completed. Another way of approaching this problem would be to assign the string to a variable. When assigning a value to a variable you begin by defining what the variable is. In this case, we assign the string 'Hello World' to the variable greet. In Python, there is no reason to define what this value is as Python already knows that the value is, in fact, a String5. Remember that a string is a value that contains quotations like a sentence.

More Features

Before we begin any complex coding try out the following for kicks and giggles. If you wanted to add two numbers together, Python will actually do that just by coding:

5+5

This would spit out a response of 10! Simple math like this shows Python's capability to understand what is being asked by the programmer without saying anything. In this case, the value ten is displayed. If we wanted to do more complex math like Example 1 we would find that Python follows the order of operations and shows the correct amount! When this equation is solved, the result is 32.0 this is because at one point in the solving of the equation the number switched from an Integer5 value to a Float6 value. This shows Python's ability to compute different value types together!

Example 1

5*6-8/2+6

End of Lesson

So now that you have tested the waters of the Python language I hope you have found it simple and easy to use. Whether you want to learn Python for fun or hobby, coding with Python can result in magnificent creations that will have employers wanting your product!

In this lesson, we learned what Python is, how to install Python, the print() method, and Mathematics with Python. In the next lesson, we will understand how numbers are dealt with in Python!

Terms

  1. Python: a high-level general-purpose programming language.
  2. Java: a general-purpose computer programming language designed to produce programs that will run on any computer system.
  3. Operating System: the software that supports a computer's basic functions, such as scheduling tasks, executing applications, and controlling peripherals.
  4. Path: an environmental variable in operating systems that tells the registry which directories to search for executable files (i.e., ready-to-run programs) in response to commands issued by a user.
  5. String: a linear sequence of characters, words, or other data.
  6. Integer: a whole number; a number that is not a fraction.
  7. Float: A numerical value that involves a decimal/fraction

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