May 16, 2022 What is Python?

By Samuel Ancer

What is Python Programming Language?

By Sam Ancer

Python is a programming language that is designed for both accessibility and creativity. Production of Python began in 1989, after the creator Guido van Rossum found difficulties with creating sys-admin when working with the Amoeba OS. 

The goal of Python was to create a more accessible version of ABC, a highly interactive programming language, but it lacked extensibility and other features that would compliment the creative aspects of the language.

In programming, extensibility means how easy it is to add more features to a program or language.

Python Frequently Asked Questions:

Who created Python?

Python was created by Guido van Rossum, a programmer from the Netherlands.

When was Python developed?

Python was first developed in 1989 and launched officially in 1994. Python 2.0 was developed during the late 90’s and launched in October 2000, and Python 3.0 was launched in 2008.

What is Python used for?

Python is a programming language used to create programmes and applications. It is famous for its ease of use and its ability to be changed where needed. This means that Python can be used for all sorts of things in programming. It is known as a full-stack language which means it can be used in both the front-end of a program and the back-end.

Why is Python popular?

Python is popular for a number of reasons. Firstly it’s syntax is made to be read easily and the fact that it's an interpreted language means that it is easy to learn. Secondly, its extensibility means that Python can be used in a variety of ways. Finally, its also free to use, so there aren’t any licencing fees to be concerned with, even if you are using it for commercial purposes.

Where is Python used?

Some famous applications that use Python include Google, Instagram, Spotify, Reddit and Youtube. It is used in both front-end and back-end, and is used by people around the world.

Python Programming Language-Early Stages.

Python was initially created to solve a problem van Rossum was experiencing with system administration that wasn’t easily solvable with the C programs or shell scripting, so instead van Rossum decided to create a programming language that could be able to access the system administration with the syntax of ABC but also had better extensibility. 

After a year of development work, early Python showed success in its intended role, and after some encouragement from colleagues, van Rossum began adding more features.

By 1991 van Rossum had published Python version 0.9.0 to alt.sources, a usenet newsgroup that programmers could use to publish source code. After three more years of development, on the 26th of January Python 1.0 was finally launched. 

Python Programming Language Version 1.0

The first official version of Python had a host of new features, including lambda, which is a function that has no name when it is defined and is used to evaluate an expression for a given argument. Beyond that there were features such as map, reduce, and filter added as well.

Python was received without much fanfare, as Perl, a similar coding language was predominantly in favour at the time, however, users would find that Python had a lot to offer, even in its early stages.

Python was initially developed while van Rossum was working at the National Research Institute for Mathematics and Computer Science in the Netherlands. In 1995 he moved to the Corporation for National Research Initiatives (CNRI) in the United States. Over the next few years van Rossum updated Python, adding features and fixing issues, while also working on a new version of Python. 

On September 5th 2000 the final version of Python 1, Python 1.6 was released, and a month later Python 2.0 was launched. Python 1.6 was launched as a contractual obligation to the CNRI, as the core Python development team left the CNRI in May 2000. As a result they owed the CNRI a version of Python with all the work they had done at the institute.

Python 2.0

In October 2000 Python 2.0 was launched. The system boasted a host of new features including Unicode support and a cycle-detecting garbage collector. More fundamental was the process in which development would progress.

One of the largest concerns with Python 1 users was the dependence the system had on van Rossum, and so Python 2 became a far more community driven and transparent development project. This also meant that Python’s scalability increased dramatically as, with more people able to contribute to its development, the more could be done to improve the programming language over time.

At this point Python’s ability to work well with other programming languages started paying dividends as more developers began using Python for that express purpose. This coupled with the rise of Java meant that Python began benefiting massively from the strides being made in application development.

In 2007 dropbox launched and rapidly became one of the best funded projects written in Python. The success of dropbox was mirrored by more startups recognising the value in the multi-program compatibility of Python.

The rise of social media also helped boost Pythons profile as data became increasingly more valuable, and prevalent, in the market, and Python’s ease of use, and the fact that it was free, meant that it was an obvious choice for young startups that lacked resources and technical scale.

However Python 2 was facing some issues, namely with redundancy. In the programming language, there were several instances where code would have to be repeated several times over in order for a program to work properly. This is not ideal for programming, as it’s always beneficial to have code be as small as possible, since that affects both runtime and size. 

With that in mind it became clear that a new form of Python had to be developed, one that was better optimised, easier to use, and could perform better. As a result Python 3 began to be developed.

Python 3.0

By 2008 Python 3.0 was ready for launch and released, although there was some slight controversy about backwards compatibility. Python 3.0 wouldn’t be able to run code from Python 2 or 1 without serious changes and restructuring. Another thing, to clear redundancy within the programming, was that certain elements of the code were streamlined. This meant that the language would be able to run faster and would need less operating power to function.

Despite Python 3 being launched, Python 2 still received support, as there were many legacy programmes still being run on 2, however by 2020 support for Python 2 had been shut down and it was largely advised to migrate legacy systems over to Python 3 for continued support. 

What is Python?

So to summarise, Python is a programming language that is famous for its ease of use and its extensibility. It was made by Dutch programmer Guido van Rossum and was first launched in 1994. It is one of the most commonly used programming languages and is used in some of the most famous and widespread applications and websites in existence.