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About Python

About Python

Python is a programming language named after Monty Python's Flying Circus. For a novice programmer, the syntax of Python may seem easier than the syntax of many other programming languages. Many other programming languages use an abundance of special characters such as curly brackets and semi colons, characters that are not needed when using Python. For that reason, Python can be regarded as a suitable first programming language, even though running programs using a console may seem dull for younger programmers.

There are many mathematic libraries for Python, hence Python is often used for scientific computing.

In this course we will write, and execute, all programs using the online editor at https://repl.it/.

repl.it
The black console to the right can be used as a calculator.

You can also download Python to your computer. In that case we recommend that you download the distribution Anaconda | The World's Most Popular Data Science Platform. With Anaconda you can use several tools for making programs in Python or R, among other tools you get the Python editor Spyder..

spyder
The Python editor Spyder.

Jupyter Notebook

With Jupyter Notebook you can combine text, formulas, and executable cells for code, in one single document. Such a document can be used as interactive teaching material.

A Jupyter Notebook can be shown as static web page. Since it's static, the code that is displayed cannot be executed or changed. When visiting a static notebook online, the user can download the notebook and then use the file within an interactive environment. An example of a static web page is shown at The Crank-Nicolson Method. In the upper right corner, you can download the notebook.

If you want to create or run a Jupiter Notebook, you cannot use https://repl.it/. With the Anaconda distribution however, you get access to environment for Jupyter Notebooks.

Jupyter Notebooks are mostly used at university level and may not be relevant for schools. Nonetheless, it may be interesting for teachers to know about some of the digital tools available for teaching Python. A Jupiter Notebook can also be used for making interactive presentations (see RISE for more information about interactive presentations).

Python and other programs

Python can be used for making web applications. For web applications some frame work, such as Django, must be used. An example of a web site made with Python is reddit.

Python is often used by other programs as a script language. One such example is Blender which is used for 3D modelling and animations. In Blender you can write scripts in Python to make 3D models or controlling an animation.

Mandelbrot set in Blender
Mandelbrot set in 3D made in Blender using a Python script.