1.2. The Python language

Authors: Chris Burns, Christophe Combelles, Emmanuelle Gouillart, Gaël Varoquaux



Python is a programming language, as are C, Fortran, BASIC, PHP, etc. Some specific features of Python are as follows:

  • an interpreted (as opposed to compiled) language. Contrary to e.g. C or Fortran, one does not compile Python code before executing it. In addition, Python can be used interactively: many Python interpreters are available, from which commands and scripts can be executed.

  • a free software released under an open-source license: Python can be used and distributed free of charge, even for building commercial software.

  • multi-platform: Python is available for all major operating systems, Windows, Linux/Unix, MacOS X, most likely your mobile phone OS, etc.

  • a very readable language with clear non-verbose syntax

  • a language for which a large variety of high-quality packages are available for various applications, from web frameworks to scientific computing.

  • a language very easy to interface with other languages, in particular C and C++.

  • Some other features of the language are illustrated just below. For example, Python is an object-oriented language, with dynamic typing (the same variable can contain objects of different types during the course of a program).

See https://www.python.org/about/ for more information about distinguishing features of Python.