16.06.2021 | Technical topic

Python - Programming with the snake

Python - Programming with the snake

Programming with the snake

In the latest ranking of the most popular programming languages, Python managed to further strengthen its first place. The programming language with the snake icon scores with more than 31% of people who study programming languages on the Internet. What's behind it?

One reason for the popularity is certainly that Python is used very intensively in the Maker scene and teaching. It's not for nothing that the PI in Raspberry PI stands for Python Interpreter. But Python is also popular in the professional environment.

Python is supported by very many computer systems. Typically Python is used with an interpreter. This means that a program does not have to be translated into machine code by a compiler first, but that you can try out your program immediately, line by line in the interpreter. You type a command and immediately get the reaction of the system. This makes programming by trial and error easy and fun.

The goal in developing Python was to be able to write programs that are as compact and readable as possible. Python uses very few keywords and allows modern programming paradigms such as object orientation, structured, aspect-oriented and functional programming. The programmer can choose his own preferred programming style.

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One of the great strengths of Python is the extensive standard library for a wide variety of operating systems such as Windows, Unix, macOS but also embedded systems. The aforementioned Raspberry PI, Arduino and many other popular single board computers come with Python interpreters free of charge. The sense of accomplishment for a Python programmer on an embedded platform is very immediate. Making an LED blink is a simple two-liner.


What sometimes works against Python on embedded systems is the speed of program execution. After interpreting Python line by line, the process simply takes longer. A compiled C/C++ program has clear advantages here. Python is therefore very often used as a flexible, easy-to-read scripting language. Time-critical program parts are still implemented in C/C++.

By the way, the snake came into play in Python only later. Originally, the Python inventors borrowed from the British comedy troupe Monty Python. Typical nerds!

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