Python - strengths and weaknesses

Terms and history

What is Python? What does it do?
Python is a programming language that is widely used in internet applications, software development, data science, and machine learning (ML). Developers use Python because it is efficient, easy to learn, and works across platforms. Python programs are free to download, compatible with all types of systems, and speed up development.

Python is useful when writing server-side code because it offers many libraries consisting of pre-written code for complex server-side functions. Developers also use a wide range of Python platforms that provide all the necessary tools to create Internet applications faster and easier.

It is also widely used by programmists in day-to-day tasks, so it can be used to solve different everyday objectives, for example:
  • Renaming big amounts of files at once;
  • Sending e-mail messages;
  • Deleting duplicate words in a text file;
  • Solving multiple simple mathemathical problems at once;
  • and others...

History of Python in a few words
Python isn't new as a programming language, as it was created and officially released by Guido van Rossum in 1991 in Netherlands and has gone through the decades of years and has numerous big changes and transformations. Here are the key moments of Python's history:
  • Rise (Late 1980s - Early 1990s): Guido van Rossum embarked on Python's development during the late 1980s at the Centrum Wiskunde & Informatica (CWI) in the Netherlands. Python achieved its official release as Python 0.9.0 in February 1991.
  • Python 1.0 (January 1994): Python 1.0 marked Python's first official version, introducing many core features that define Python as we know it today.
  • Python 2.0 (October 2000): Python 2 brought significant enhancements, including list comprehensions and garbage collection. This version garnered widespread adoption and remained in use for several years.
  • Python 3.0 (December 2008): Python 3 represented a major overhaul, aimed at refining and modernizing the language. It introduced backward-incompatible changes to enhance consistency and address certain inconsistencies present in Python 2. This transition ushered in a period of coexistence between second and third versions of Python.
  • Python 2 End of Life (January 1, 2020): Python 2 concluded its official support on January 1, 2020. Python 3 became the new standard, and Python 2 ceased to receive maintenance.
  • Ongoing Development: Python's evolution continues with each new release, introducing features, optimizations, and enhancements. The vibrant Python community actively contributes to the language's advancement, ensuring its enduring popularity as a widely used programming language.

Pros and cons

Python is a popular programming language known for its simplicity and versatility. However, like any language, it has its pros and cons, which can vary depending on the specific use case and context. Here are some of the main advantages and disadvantages of Python:
Readability and Simplicity
Python's syntax is easy to read and write, making it an excellent choice for beginners and experienced developers alike. It emphasizes code readability and encourages clean and consistent coding practices.
Large Standard Library
Python comes with a vast standard library that provides modules and packages for a wide range of tasks, from web development and data analysis to GUI programming and more. This reduces the need to reinvent the wheel and speeds up development.
Cross-Platform Compatibility
Python is available on various platforms, including Windows, macOS, and Linux. This cross-platform compatibility allows developers to write code that can run on different operating systems with minimal modifications.
Community and Ecosystem
Python has a vibrant and active community of developers, which means you can find a wealth of resources, libraries, frameworks, and documentation to help you with your projects. The Python Package Index (PyPI) contains thousands of third-party packages that extend Python's functionality.
Python can be used for a wide range of applications, including web development (with frameworks like Django and Flask), data analysis and machine learning (with libraries like NumPy, Pandas, and TensorFlow), automation, scientific computing, and more.
Ease of Integration
Python is often used for scripting and automation tasks, and it can easily integrate with other languages like C/C++, Java, and .NET, allowing you to leverage existing codebases and libraries.
Great for Prototyping
Python's quick development cycle and ease of use make it an ideal choice for rapid prototyping and experimentation.
Python is an interpreted language, which generally makes it slower than compiled languages like C++ or Java. While Python's performance has improved with tools like PyPy and Cython, it may not be suitable for extremely high-performance applications.
Global-Interpreter Lock (GIL)
Python's Global Interpreter Lock can limit its ability to fully utilize multi-core processors, which can be a drawback for CPU-bound applications. However, this limitation is less relevant for I/O-bound or multi-threaded programs.
Mobile Development
Python is not the first choice for mobile app development, as it doesn't have as robust a presence in the mobile development ecosystem as languages like Java or Swift.
Limited Support for Low-Level Programming
Python is not well-suited for low-level system programming tasks, such as writing device drivers or operating systems, where C or Rust might be more appropriate
Version Compatibility
The transition from Python 2 to Python 3 caused compatibility issues, and while Python 2 is no longer maintained, there may still be legacy codebases that need to be updated to Python 3.
Packaging and Dependency Management
While Python's packaging ecosystem has improved over the years, managing dependencies can still be challenging, especially when dealing with complex projects or conflicting package versions.
In the conclusion, we have quite powerful programming language, that can be used in hundreds of different spheres like automation, data science, web-development and more. Python is pretty easy to master for the beginner programmer as it has readable syntax, simple syntax rules and excludes all the unneccesary stuff. The commubity of Python is extremely big and growing nowadays briefly. Also, this programming language has vast library, with thousands of extra plugins and extensions.

But on the other side, it cannot be used on multiple platforms, as Android or iOS. It is not the best variant to work on mobile platforms. For people who got used to old Python version, it can be quite hard to master new syntax and rules.

Frequently Asked Questions

The first official verison of Python, v0.9.0 was released by a dutch programmer Guido van Rossum, in 1991.
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