What is Python?

A free video tutorial from Academind by Maximilian Schwarzmüller
Online Education
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47 courses
2,920,931 students
What is Python?

Lecture description

Let's dive into the most important question first: What is Python? In this lecture, we'll take a closer look.

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So, what is Python? Python is a programming language which you can use for many different things. It's an extremely powerful, easy to use, and object-oriented programming language. Now what does this mean? It's powerful because it offers good performance. It runs on all major operating systems, so it doesn't matter if you're using Mac, Windows or Linux. It'll work on all of these and you can use all of these for this course. And it's extremely versatile. To be precise, if we have a look at its versatility we can see that we can use it to build simple scripts or programs running on our desktop (with or without a UI), that you can use it for web development to run server-side code; so code that does something on the server, sends back HTML documents to your users and stuff like that. And another very popular way of using Python is for data science. And after this course you will be able to dive into all these different areas, because in this course you will learn all the core basics about Python on which all of these pillars basically build up. Now what do these pillars mean in detail though? Well, we can build scripts and programs; for example, build a simple calculator which we execute from our system's built-in command line. We can write simple utilities scripts like cleanup scripts or scripts that save some data to files. Of course we can build complex programs. We can add a UI to build real desktop applications; this is also something which is relatively easy to do thanks to Python's rich ecosystem (another cool pro argument). It has a broad ecosystem of third-party packages and libraries you can add to easily add new functionality to your programs. Where we have a look at web development, we take advantage of that. There are a lot of packages that make it easy for us to write server-side code and we're then able to use Python as a server-side language. We're able to build full-stack apps where Python takes in requests and sends back HTML responses, or API applications where we also take requests and send responses but where we interact by just sending data and no HTML code that could be rendered by a browser. This allows us to build web applications to which other programs could communicate; and this is actually also what will dive into in this course (but more on that later). We can also use frameworks like Django or Flask. These are these third-party libraries I mentioned to make our developer's life a lot easier. When we have a look at data science, another very popular way of using Python, there we also have a rich set of third-party programs that makes statistical calculations and working with numbers is very, very easy. We also have easy ways of gathering, importing, cleaning and using data and we can do all kinds of statistical analysis, implement machine learning models and use them in our apps. So Python is extremely versatile and therefore learning it definitely is a great idea. And all these areas build up on the basics you'll learn in this course. But Python is not just powerful and versatile, it's also easy to use. It has a clean and simple syntax; no extra fluff added to it. It has a batteries-included approach which means that just after installing Python, you've already got a lot of possibilities of using it. You don't need to import and implement third-party packages; which you have to download and install separately. For many things you can't just use what's built in. That's really great. And it offers great documentation, so if there is something you're stuck with or you're not sure, you can dive into the docs and you'll get many examples there; many ways of learning Python in case you can't find other resources which also help you. Because as I said, there is a rich ecosystem offering many resources too so that's pretty amazing. And lastly, it's object-oriented. That is something which will become clearer once we dive into what this means in a separate module in this course. If you've already got some programming background, you'll be happy to hear that Python uses classes, inheritance; that it supports all these features, doesn't force you to use them but offers the possibility and using these features offers many advantages and that makes the language even more powerful and easy to use in the end. It's no wonder that Python is very popular therefore. If we have a look at this graph we see Python is extremely popular and is gaining popularity; surpassing many other languages here. And it is of course doing that because it's easy to learn, it's very versatile and it has this cool ecosystem with many third-party packages and therefore it's highly extensible. So learning Python was always a good idea. Now it's a better idea than ever before. So with that let's just install Python and write our first simple program with it.