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- Language type:
Python is an interpreted, object-oriented
language. It is intended to be highly
effective, easy to use, and extensible.
The syntax of Python is very simple and
statement-oriented. Block structure is
specified with indentation. Python
supports a good set of primitive and
composite data types: integers, floats,
strings, lists, and associative arrays
are typed, but strong
type checking is not enforced.
Like most scripting interpreters, Python does have
the ability to execute a string
Python supports a conventional set of
flow-control constructs: if-then, while and
for loops. Python also has
constructs similar to those in Modula-3.
subroutines, independent modules,
and object classes with
Object-oriented programming features
are an important part of Python, used
for the standard library and for user
extensibility. Classes can use
single and multiple inheritance.
Python is supported by a feature-rich
standard library; it includes extensive
string manipulation, I/O, parsing,
date handling, low-level networking services,
high-level protocol and data format
handling, image I/O, and a variety of
operating system-specific services.
Python is normally interpreted, but the Python
interpreter can compile scripts and modules into
portable binary form and execute this form
instead. Several Unix-specific and
portable graphics and GUI
libraries also exist.
Newer versions of Python support some
functional programming features,
including lambda forms.
There was originally
only one Python implementation, an interpreter
which ran on a wide variety of Unix platforms
as well as Windows and Macintosh.
Later, an implementation was created that
compiled Python to Java bytecodes
(jPython) and there is also one that
targets the Microsoft C# environment.
Documentation and tutorials for
Python are readily
available on the web.
- See Also:
Python was originally conceived to be an
extensible scripting language for the
Ameoba operating system. Early in its
development, the designer Guido Rossum
decided to make it a portable language
Python is considered a good language to
use for certain kinds of web programming.
The standard library supports HTTP and
CGI services, and a Windows-specific
library support ActiveX scripting (so
that you can use powerful Python for active
server pages instead of the intentionally
Python can be extended by adding C/C
libraries, and it can also be embedded
in an application to serve as its extension
language. Various C extensions for
database access, OpenGL, numeric
analysis, AI, and other
- Sample code:
# standard binary search tree from
# a tree data structure package by Dan Stubbs
def __init__ (self):
self.tree = None
def insert (self, key):
self._insert (self.tree, key)
self.tree = node(key)
def _insert (self, tree, key):
if key < tree.key:
self._insert (tree.left, key)
tree.left = node(key)
self._insert (tree.right, key)
tree.right = node(key)
Descriptions in this dictionary are ©1997-99 Neal Ziring. Some
examples copyright of their respective authors. Some
technologies and languages are trademarked. Permission to
copy descriptions is granted as long as authorship credit is preserved.
Comments on this dictionary, corrections and suggestions, are all welcome.
Please use email, the address is firstname.lastname@example.org
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Dictionary and script maintained by Neal Ziring, last major modifications 3/18/98. Most recent
additions to dictionary and master list, 1/00.