There are two versions of Python available for download: Python 2.6 (alsocalled 2.x series) and Python 3 (also known as Python 3000). Python 3 is not fully compatible with the 2.x series. For that reason, at this time (2009-2012) most third party modules are not available for Python 3
Main Features of Python:
- Readability: When we talk about readability, we refer as much to the original programmer as any other person interested in understanding the code. It is not an uncommon occurrence for someone to write somecode then return to it a month later and find it difficult to understand. Sometimes Python is called a “human readable language.”
- Built-in features: Python comes with “Batteries included.” It has a richand versatile standard library which is immediately available, withoutthe user having to download separate packages. With Python you can,with few lines, read an XML file, extract files from a zip archive, parseand generate email messages, handle files, read data sent from a Webbrowser to a Web server, open a URL as if were a file, and many more possibilities.
- Availability of third party modules: 2/3D plotting, PDF generation, bioinformatics analysis, animation, game development, interface with popular databases, and application software are only a handful of ex-amples of modules that can be installed to extend Python functionality.
- High level built-in data structures: Dictionaries, sets, lists, and tupleshelp to model real world data. Multiparadigm: Python can be used as a “classic” procedural languageor as “modern” object oriented programming (OOP) language. Most programmers start writing code in a procedural way and when they are ready, they upgrade to OOP. Python doesn’t force programmers to writeOOP code when they just want to write a simple script.
- Extensibility: If the built-in methods and available third party mod-ules are not enough for your needs, you can easily extend Python, evenin other programming languages. There are some applications written mostly in Python but with a processor demanding routine in C or FOR-TRAN. Python can also be extended by connecting it to specialized highlevel languages like R or MATLAB.
- Open source: Python has a liberal open source license that makes it freely usable and distributable, even for commercial use.
- Cross platform: A program made in Python can be run under anycomputer that has a Python interpreter. This way a program made under Windows Vista can run unmodified in Linux. Python interpreters are available for most computer and operating systems, and even some devices with embedded computers like the Nokia 6630 smartphone.
- Thriving community: Python is gaining momentum among the scientific community. This translates into more libraries for your projects and people you can go to for support.
Today I’ll tell you about how to install Python on a Windows machine, just follow following steps.
- Open a Web browser and go to http://www.python.org.
- Click the “Download” link.
- You should see several links here, with names such as “Python 2.6” and “Python 2.6 Windows installer”. Click the “Windows installer” link—it should give you the installer file directly. Go to step 5. If you can’t find such a link, click the link with the highest version among those with names like “Python 2.6.” Chances are that this link will be found early on the page. For Python 2.6, you could simply go to the URL http://www.python.org/2.6.
- Follow the instructionsfor Windows users. This will entail downloading a file called python-2.6.msi(or something similar), where 2.6 should be the version number of the newest release.
- Store the Windows Installer file somewhere on your computer, for example, C:\download\python-2.6.msi. ( Just create a directory where you can find it later.)
- Run the downloaded file by double-clicking itin Windows Explorer. This brings up the Python install wizard, which is really easy touse. Just accept the default settings, wait until the install is finished, and you’re ready to use Python.
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