Python is an interpreted programming language created by
Guido van Rossum in 1990.
Python is fully dynamically typed and uses automatic
memory management; it is thus similar to Perl, Ruby, Scheme, Smalltalk, and Tcl.
Python is developed as an open source project, managed by the non-profit Python
Software Foundation, and is available for free from the project website. Python
2.4.3 was released on March 29, 2006.
Python is notable amongst current popular high-level languages for having a
philosophy that emphasises the importance of the programmer over the importance
of the computer (so that, for example, code is slower but easier to understand)
and for rejecting more arcane language features. Python is often characterised
as minimalistic, though this only applies to the core language’s syntax and
semantics; the standard libraries provide the language with a large number of
additional libraries and extensions.
The de facto standard for the language is the CPython
implementation, although there are other implementations available.
Miscellaneous parts of the language have formal specifications and standards,
but not the language as a whole.Python has a large standard library, which makes
it well suited to many tasks. This comes from a so-called "batteries included"
philosophy for Python modules. The modules of the standard library can be
augmented with custom modules written in either C or Python. The standard
library is particularly well tailored to writing Internet-facing applications,
with a large number of standard formats and protocols (such as MIME and HTTP)
supported. Modules for creating graphical user interfaces, connecting to
relational databases, arithmetic with arbitrarily precise decimals, and
manipulating regular expressions are also included. Python also includes a unit
testing framework for creating exhaustive test suites.
The standard library is one of Python’s greatest strengths. The bulk of it is
cross-platform compatible, meaning that even heavily leveraged Python programs
can often run on Unix, Windows, Macintosh, and other platforms without change.
It is currently being debated whether or not third-party but open source Python
modules such as Twisted, NumPy, or wxPython should be included in the standard
library, in accordance with the batteries included philosophy.