ever since the earliest home computers were available, enthusiasts, users and professionals have toiled away until the wee hours, slaving over an overheating heap of circuitry to create something akin to magic.
These pioneers of programming carved their way into a new frontier, forging small routines that enabled the letter ‘A’ to scroll across the screen. It may not sound terribly exciting to a generation that’s used to ultra high-definition graphics and open world, multiplayer online gaming. However, forty-something years ago it was blindingly brilliant.
Naturally these bedroom coders helped form the foundations for every piece of digital technology we use today. Some went on to become chief developers for top software companies, whereas others pushed the available hardware to its limits and founded the billion pound gaming empire that continually amazes us.
Regardless of whether you use an Android device, iOS device, PC, Mac, Linux, Smart TV, games console, MP3 player, GPS device built-in to a car, set-top box or a thousand other connected and ‘smart’ appliances, behind them all is programming.
All those aforementioned digital devices need instructions to tell them what to do, and allow them to be interacted with. These instructions form the programming core of the device and that core can be built using a variety of programming languages.
The languages in use today differ depending on the situation, the platform, the device’s use and how the device will interact with its environment or users. Operating systems, such as Windows, macOS and such are usually a combination of C++, C#, assembly and some form of visual-based language. Games generally use C++ whilst web pages can use a plethora of available languages such as HTML, Java, Python and so on.
More general-purpose programming is used to create programs, apps, software or whatever else you want to call them. They’re widely used across all hardware platforms and suit virtually every conceivable application. Some operate faster than others and some are easier to learn and use than others. Python is one such general purpose language.
Python is what’s known as a High-Level Language, in that it ‘talks’ to the hardware and operating system using a variety of arrays, variables, objects, arithmetic, subroutines, loops and countless more interactions. Whilst it’s not as streamlined as a Low-Level Language, which can deal directly with memory addresses, call stacks and registers, its benefit is that it’s universally accessible and easy to learn.
Python was created over twenty six years ago and has evolved to become an ideal beginner’s language for learning how to program a computer. It’s perfect for the hobbyist, enthusiast, student, teacher and those who simply need to create their own unique interaction between either themselves or a piece of external hardware and the computer itself.
Python is free to download, install and use and is available for Linux, Windows, macOS, MS-DOS, OS/2, BeOS, IBM i-series machines, and even RISC OS. It has been voted one of the top five programming languages in the world and is continually evolving ahead of the hardware and Internet development curve.
So to answer the question: why python? Simply put, it’s free, easy to learn, exceptionally powerful, universally accepted, effective and a superb learning and educational tool.