What Is Python And Why Should You Consider Using It?
Sep 23, 20207 min read
Co-founder at Ideamotive. Technological advisor and software consultant.
In software development, the popularity of programming languages ebbs and flows. Some languages are volatile; they generate a lot of hype first and then suddenly go out of favor. Others gain traction and become a widely accepted standard for years.
Python belongs to the latter. It took off rapidly, and now remains developers’ favorite. What is it, and how can it benefit your next web business application? You’ll find out in today’s article.
What Is Python?
Created in 1991, Python is an open-source, general-purpose programming language that emphasizes readable code. It needs no compiler to run; instead, it comes with an interpreter that enables developers to test and display the results of their edits quickly, and it can be deployed on most platforms and devices.
Code readability. Python was designed to be easy to learn and use. Due to its user-friendly structure, it ranks among the most popular languages for teaching introductory programming at US universities.
High-level language. As a high-level language, Python is abstracted from the computer’s hardware and meant to be easily comprehended by humans. Its easy-to-read syntax makes programming and debugging more efficient.
Portability. As a portable language, Python can run on various platforms and devices (Windows, Linux, macOS, etc.) without a time-consuming code rewrite.
Object-orientation. Python builds the data structure based on clearly-defined objects organized into transparent hierarchies. This reduces code complexity and results in easier code maintenance.
Open-sourced. Developed under an OSI-approved open source license, Python is completely free, even for commercial use. It can be downloaded from the official website.
Business Advantages of Web Development Using Python
The above inherent features of Python directly translate into its business value. Python is widely used by companies and startups around the world to create web applications, build scalable software, and automate operations.
High application reliability
As a well-established language with tremendous community support, Python offers a rich selection of libraries that provide failsafe ready modules. They allow software developers to rapidly implement even the most sophisticated features without compromising code reliability.
In addition to popular libraries, such as Keras, Pandas, and Tensorflow, Python relies on a rich set of capabilities offered by robust frameworks including Django, Falcon, Flask, or Tornado. The availability of tried and tested software development tools for Python development help ensure reliable, stable code.
Fast, efficient development
Thanks to its readable and portable nature, Python streamlines the development process, which positively impacts time to market for web applications. Additionally, getting rid of compilers means that new and modified code can be executed faster than in the case of languages that require recompilation on each update.
Python’s dynamic typing and binding paired with high-level built-in data structures and the availability of standard frameworks and libraries accelerate development even further. The rapid pace of app development makes Python a suitable choice for startups and projects with tight deadlines.
App scalability and flexibility
With its code-light nature, Python is easy to maintain and extend. Additionally, code packages can be modified and reused across different projects. On top of that, Python is an extremely versatile language that can handle a variety of tasks.
All of these inherent Python features contribute to enhanced software scalability and extensibility of the language, which explains why growth-minded organizations make heavy use of Python.
Readily available and open-sourced, Python is a trusted choice for MVP prototyping. The language offers built-in support for lists, dictionaries, and data sets, which allows developers to launch projects rapidly. In the course of development, they may count on extensive library and community support.
Short edit-test-debug cycles enabled by Python interpreter go hand in hand with iterative development, facilitating agile sprints. Altogether, Python’s accessible, highly-dynamic approach allows companies to push their ideas forward from the drawing board to a fully-functional prototype within a few weeks.
Python Web Development: Top Applications
As a general-purpose language, Python finds broad application in web development, spanning web platforms, middleware products, and application domains. The language is so versatile that it may be used as a primary language or a “glue technology” that sticks different frameworks and components together. Some of the most exciting technologies today rely heavily on Python, including AI, machine learning, big data, cybersecurity, and robotics. How exactly? Let’s see.
Website and web apps development
Python is commonly-used for website and web app creation. It applies a common backend logic, meaning that the code is running on the server rather than in the browser. Server-side scripting allows for dynamic content updates based on user input, leading to responsive, tailored web experiences.
This type of scripting also requires no plugins or browser scripting technology, which boosts site performance and speeds up loading time. Even more importantly, server-side scripting is generally considered more secure than the client-side approach, which explains the widespread adoption of Python among governments and banking institutions.
Offering numerous well-structured and tested AI/ML frameworks, Python has become the top choice for artificial intelligence, machine learning, and deep learning projects. The simple syntax of the language and the abundance of available AI libraries create a good fit for the implementation of machine intelligence scenarios and enable rapid testing of complex algorithms. Additionally, Python’s structural simplicity and readability make it accessible to data scientists and analysts without a programming background.
Python helps solve the full spectrum of AI/ML challenges, from classification to regression, across supervised, unsupervised, and reinforced learning. In particular, it is used to power websites with:
image recognition capabilities,
web-based chatbots and virtual assistants.
Software developers have an entire host of frameworks and libraries at their disposal to facilitate the creation of AI and ML projects in Python and reduce development overhead. One of the most popular resources for AI in the Python domain is TensorFlow. This open-source artificial intelligence library uses data flow graphs to create and train ML models on computers, servers, and mobile devices. Running on top of TensorFlow is Keras, a neural networks API for building and training deep learning models. PyTorch is another noteworthy tool that enables the implementation of computer vision and natural language processing.
Considered one of the most user-friendly and flexible programming languages, Python is also a perfect tool for data-driven web solutions. Again, it offers a wide range of ready-made components (such as Pandas or Numpy) that simplify data cleaning, sorting, and manipulation.
Python is the primary language behind Spotify, which uses it, among others, to glean user insights on the most and least favorite tracks and to incorporate data analytics into its powerful Discover playlists and Radio features. Similarly, Netflix is a heavy user of the language. In the data science context, the world’s top movie streaming platform leverages Python libraries for data exploration, cleaning, and visualization, as well as for handling statistical and mathematical operations.
Finally, Python is doing an amazing job of automating tedious tasks, such as extracting and preparing data or setting up test environments. Moving beyond simple scripts, the language offers more sophisticated tools such as Salt, Fabric, or Ansible, that automate apps and IT infrastructure. While these automation capabilities of Python are applied on the backend of a website or web app, they ultimately power faster and leaner development, positively impacting the end-user experience.
Which companies use Python?
Python is widely used across industries, from e-commerce and marketing, through social media and entertainment, up to healthcare and finance and banking.
Some prominent examples of world-known organizations that swear by Python include:
Uber. Python belongs to the core programming languages in Uber’s tech stack. The ride-hailing giant uses it mainly for the marketplace and UI optimization.
Netflix makes full use of Python, from data analysis, through security and risk classification, to internal purposes, as a glue that cements code contributed by different teams.
Dropbox leverages Python across application development, infrastructure, and operations. The platform is written entirely in Python, providing robust services to 600 million users across 180 countries.
Google has relied on Python since its creation. Python is recognized as the official language in the organization to build customer-facing and internal applications. YouTube, Google App Engine, and code.google.com use the language, among other products.
Engineers at Facebook frequently turn to Python to speed up project delivery and manage code infrastructure with ease.
Python powers software at NASA's main shuttle support contractor, United Space Alliance. The space agency uses the language extensively, to enhance the efficiency and cost-effectiveness of data management.
The list goes on, with Slack, Reddit, Microsoft, GitHub, Mozilla, JPMorgan, Bloomberg, CIA, PayPal, and other industry leaders taking advantage of Python.
Nearly 800K websites around the world use Python (BuiltWith)
Python boasts a wide selection of well-supported frameworks that streamline development to deliver projects in a shorter time. Each of them has a specific application:
Django offers a comprehensive toolkit of components needed to build secure, dynamic, and easily maintainable websites.
Flask is a light-weight framework for rapid development of web pages, blogs, wikis, and other web applications.
Pyramid simplifies the development of large-scale web apps and is notable for the flexibility it offers to developers.
Twisted is an event-driven network programming framework for building internet applications written in Python.
CherryPy is a flexible, object-oriented framework that comes with a production-ready WSGI server.
Falcon complements more general Python frameworks with the capability to build reliable backends and microservices fast.
Web2py is used to program dynamic web content, such as web forms, calendars, counters, etc. using Python.
Other popular frameworks and tools that speed up Python software development include Aiohttp, Sanic, BottlePy, TurboGears, Japronto, and many others.
Hiring Python Developers for Your Web Project
Given the variety of business use cases Python helps resolve, it’s hardly surprising that it is the fastest-growing major programming language today. Python developers are in high demand, even though their number surpasses 8 million!
To pin down the best Python talent from that mass is quite a challenge. Here are a few tips that may help you achieve this deed and find best-in-class Python specialists who will contribute to your bottom line:
Verify technical expertise. Apart from proven knowledge of Python 2x. And 3x., an ideal candidate should demonstrate a good grasp of core frameworks and libraries and familiarity with Object Relational Mappers. Fundamental understanding of front-end technologies is an asset, the same as at least basic experience with AI/ML topics.
Don’t concentrate too much on the resume. Sure, experience is essential. But be mindful of candidates that look great on paper and end up underperforming in real life. When evaluating a prospective Python developer, focus more on practical skills, creativity, and problem-solving capabilities.
Assess the candidate’s culture fit. In fast-paced, agile software development projects, it’s essential that new hires slot straight into the team without wasting weeks on onboarding. This way, they can add value right from day one.
Remember about soft skills. The agile approach requires members of business and technical teams to cooperate daily. Streamlined communication is imperative to move at a rapid pace and avoid confusion. Therefore, pay attention if your Python developer can communicate effectively.
Whether it’s a minimalist startup website, a fully-featured enterprise web portal, or a dynamic, AI-driven online marketplace, the language can serve virtually any web development use case. With simplicity, flexibility, and ease of use as its biggest draws, the technology is gaining attention among Fortune 500 enterprises and vibrant startup communities.
So if you are looking for the best toolkit to build your next web application, Python might be a perfect choice. And if you need resources to carry out your vision, we have access to dozens of adept Python developers who combine technology expertise with business domain knowledge and proven methodologies. They are ready to scale your engineering capacity and build a web solution that will take your business to the next level.