Python Programming Language History

The history of the Python programming language dates back to the late1980s. Python was conceived in the late 1980s and its implementation was started in December 1989 by Guido Van Rossum at CWI in the Netherlands as a successor to the ABC programming language capable of exception handling interfacing with the Amoeba operating system. Van Rossum is Python’s principal author, and his continuing Central role in deciding the direction of python is reflected in the title given to him by the Python community. He is the “Benevolent Dictator For Life” (BDFL), which means he continues to oversee Python development and retains the final say in disputes or arguments arising within the community.

Often people assume that the name Python was written after a snake. Even the logo of python programming language depicts the picture of two snakes, blue and yellow. But, the story behind the naming is a somewhat different.

Back in the 1970s, there was a popular BBC comedy TV show called “Monty Python’s Flying Circus” and Van Rossum happened to be a big fan of that show. At the time when he begin implementing Python, Guido van Rossum was also reading the published scripts from “Monty Python’s Flying Circus.” It occurred to him that he needed a name that was short, unique, and slightly mysterious, so he decided to call the language “Python.”
Its design philosophy emphasizes code readability, and its syntax allows programmers to express concepts in fever lines of code that would not be possible in languages such as C++ or Java. The language provides constructs intended to enable clear programs on both small and large scale. Python is a multi-paradigm programming language having full support for Object-oriented programming and Structured programming and there are a number of language features which support Functional programming.
The first ever version of Python (Python 1.0) was introduced in 1991. Since its inception and introduction of Version 1, the evolution of Python has reached up to Version 3.x (till 2018). Python 2.0 was released on 16 October 2000 and had many major new features, including a cycle-detecting garbage collector and support for Unicode. With this release, the development process became more transparent and community backed. Python 3.0 (initially called Python 3000 or py3k) was released on 3 December 2008 after a long testing period. It is a major revision of the language that is not completely backward compatible with previous versions.
The language’s core philosophy is summarized in the document “The Zen of python” which includes principles such as,
  • Beautiful is better than ugly.
  • Explicit is better than implicit.
  • Simple is better than complex.
  • Complex is better than complicated.
  • Flat is better than nested.
  • Sparse is better than dense.
  • Readability counts.
  • Special cases aren’t special enough to break the rules.
  • Although practicality beats purity.
  • Errors should never pass silently.
  • Unless explicitly silenced.
  • In the face of ambiguity, refuse the temptation to guess.
  • There should be one- and preferably only one-obvious why to do it.
  • Although that way may not be obvious at first unless you’re Dutch.
  • Now is better than never.
  • Although never is often better than right now.
  • If the implementation is hard to explain, it’s bad idea.
  • If the implementation is easy to explain, it may be a good idea.
  • Namespaces are not honking great idea–let’s do more of those.

Python Programming Language Features

The python language exhibits numerous features, which are detailed as under:
Beginner’s language – Python is a great language for beginner level programmers, which supports the development of a wide range of applications from simple text processing to web browsers to games.
Easy to learn – Python has simple structure, a few keywords, and clearly defined syntax.
Easy to Read – It is clearly defined language that is a non-programmer understands it very easily.
Easy to Maintain – The source code of Python language is quite easy to maintain.
Interpreted – It is interpreter based language. The programmer does not need to compile the code before executing the program similar to PERL and PHP. Python has a built-in debugging feature.
Interactive – Python programs can be directly written to the Python prompt and by which user directly interacts with the interpreter.
Object-Oriented – It supports object oriented style of programming that encapsulates code within objects. OOP break up code into several units that pass messages back and forth using classes.
Versatile – Python modules are capable to work with multiple operating systems and user interfaces including images and sounds.
Broad Standard Library – Python language’s bulk library is portable and cross-platform compatible with UNIX, Windows and Macintosh.
Interactive Mode – Python language has support for interactive mode, which allows interactive testing and debugging of code.
Portable – Python language can be executed on wide variety of hardware platforms and has similar interface on all the platforms.
Databases – Python language provides the facility of interfaces to all major commercial database.
GUI Programming – Python provides graphical user interface (GUI) applications that can be created and ported to many system calls, libraries and Windows systems such as Windows MFC, MAC, and the X Window system of Unix.
Scalable – It provides a better structure and support for large programs.

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