Python Features: 10+ Key Features of Python Language

QUICK SUMMARY ↬

This article provides brief overview of key Python features including dynamic typing, memory management, portability, supported programming paradigms, python syntax, ease of learning, use cases and much more.

8 min read
Updated: Dec 01, 2021

Guido van Rossum created Python back in 1991 to help developers write well structured, easy to understand, clear, and concise code. Soon after, Python became popular among students, beginners, and even kids and saw mass adoption.

Over the last few years, professional developers and enterprises have also adopted python and are using it in data science, machine learning, artificial intelligence, GUI development, robotics automation, web development, and other use cases.

Python programs are machine-independent. You can run the same code on Windows, Linux, Mac, or other operating systems. Talking about programming paradigms, Python supports general-purpose programming, scripting, object-oriented programming as well as functional programming.

You can gauge python’s popularity from the fact that it is ranked among the top three programming languages for many years. As of writing, python ranks #1 in Tiobe’s popularity index, and its growth has been very steep in the last 3 years.

Check out the below image –

Python features

Let us look at the key Python features that make it a language of choice among students, beginners, universities, professional developers, start-ups as well as among large enterprises.

1. Expressive and Concise

Python code is very expressive and concise with English-like syntax. You do not need any boilerplate around, for example, print (“Hello World”) is all you need to execute the python code.

Check another example below to gauge the conciseness of Python –

# Simple program to add two numbers

var1= 1.5
var2= 6.3

# Adding two numbers below
sum = var1+var2

# Print the Sum
print('The sum of {0} and {1} is {2}'.format(var11, var2, sum))

You will notice that Python uses English keywords more while other languages rely on punctuation. The key design philosophy of Python is to provide syntax for readable and uncluttered code.

2. Portable

Unlike C, C++, and many other languages, Python code is portable. You can write one piece of code and run it on Windows, Linux, Mac, or other operating systems without making any modifications to the code.

All you need is a Python Virtual Machine that reads Python byte code and translates it to the machine code on the fly. Machine code includes instructions for the computer processor to generate the desired output.

While the code you write remains the same for all platforms, you still need to download the Python base package for a specific operating system like Python for Windows or Python for Linux. Check here – download python.

3. Dynamic

Talking about Python features, dynamic typing comes up as one of the key features of the python programming language. Dynamic languages interpret variable types at run time and do not enforce developers to assign variable types in the code. This helps developers write code much faster as compared to statically typed languages like C, C++, or Java.

For example, myVar=99

Here myVar can be string, int, double, or float. Python runtime will determine it automatically based on the value and usage; developers don’t need to explicitly specify something like “int myVar=99”.

4. Interpreted

On the surface, Python seems to be a purely interpreted programming language, but it goes through an intermediate compilation stage prior to interpretation.

There are two steps to generate the output from the program. In the first step, raw code in .py files is converted to the compiled byte code in .pyc files. You can

In the second step, the compiled byte code is interpreted by the python virtual machine at run time. This may look like how Java is, but there are differences in the byte code generated by Python and Java, and the differences skew python towards interpreted language and java towards a compiled language.  

You may also like to read – Compiler vs Interpreter

The advantage of interpreted code is easy debugging and portability to different platforms. However, it also makes Python code execution a bit slow, and for that reason, Python is not the recommended language (out of the box) for computation-intensive programs.

5. Memory Management/High Level Language

Python is a high-level programming language and supports dynamic memory management where memory is allocated automatically at run time. From version 2.0 onwards, python includes a Garbage collector as well to auto clean the memory at run time and free up the space.

Dynamic memory management, dynamic typing, and garbage collector spare developers from writing complicated code for memory allocation, deallocation, and clean up.

It is worth noting that in other languages like C, developers need to deal with system registers, memory allocation, typecasting, statical typing of variables, and all but not in Python.

6. Extensive set of libraries

Python has seen unprecedented growth in the last few years and this success can be attributed partly to many ready-to-use packages, libraries, and frameworks. Some of the most popular libraries include the likes of NumPy, Pandas, Keras, SciPy, Salt, OpenStack, Tkinter, and many more.

When it comes to frameworks for rapid apps development, you will find popular frameworks like Django, Flask, Tornado, and Web2Py to name a few.

7. Programming Paradigms

While many developers use python as a scripting language, it also supports most of the Object-oriented programming features including inheritance, multi-inheritance, and polymorphism.

Python treats everything as an object, including functions, classes, modules, and numbers. Using Metaclasses is another feature of python that helps developers enhance classes functionality.

Apart from scripting and OOP, Python also provides support for functional programming. Every function in python is a first-class object and can be passed around dynamically.

8. Syntax Related Python Features

Syntax is a huge topic but we will give you a brief idea here by providing a few details. Python uses whitespaces to format and structure the code, unlike other languages that use semicolons and colons. The number of indentations really depends on the developer, but style guides should be used to keep code consistency.

Newline character separates statements and blocks, the backslash is used to continue the same statement on the next line. # Is used to define single-line comments, the easiest way, I guess.

Like other languages, python also has many reserved keywords that cannot be used as variable identifies, these include return, assert, break, import, pass, while, with, yield, lambda, nonlocal, and many others. Identifies are case sensitive and should start with a letter or underscore.

You can use single quotes, double quotes, tripe quotes, and even triple double quotes to define string literals. Check out more about python syntax here.

9. Open Source

Like many other programming languages, Python is also open source and free to use. You can download python for free and use it for personal, educational as well as commercial purposes.

Many enterprises have extended Python with additional features and created customized packages as per the enterprise’s needs.

Also, given that Python is the most used language at the time of writing, its community keeps on adding a modern set of features and modules very frequently for everyone’s use.  

10. Multiple Compilers

Python is a very integrated and extensible language and developers can combine it with other programming languages with ease. Developers use multiple compilers and tools like Cython, PyPy, Jython, and Brython to mix C, C++, Java, and JavaScript with python. 

You might also like: cython vs python

These compilers also help to overcome the slowness of python. For example, Cython can be used to write Python and C together and compile the mixed code to C code, which can then be compiled to machine code using a C compiler and speeds up the execution.

11. Community Support

Though this doesn’t fall under key features of python programming but is an important aspect when it comes to the overall python ecosystem. Python has a huge community that keeps on upgrading the language with new features and capabilities.

Python boasts the biggest community among all programming languages and is still growing at an unprecedented pace.  

12. Diverse Set of Use Cases

Python caters to a diverse set of industry needs including web development, administrative tasks, robotics, education, Machine learning, and AI, Data analytics, games development, GUI development, and much more.

Given below are the various use cases served by Python –

Data Analytics: Developers use Python heavily in data analytics including data cleaning, analysis, and visualization. Popular Python libraries used in this area include NumPy, SciPy, Matplotlib, and Seaborn

Web Development: Python Web frameworks like Django and Flask are used by many large organizations like Netflix, Uber, Spotify, Google, and Lyft in their overall web development stack.

ML/AI: Libraries like scikit-learn, Tensor Flow, PyTorch, and Keras help enterprises in building ML and AI use cases.

Robotics and Automation: This is another area where enterprises and hobbyists use Python for experimentation and industrialization. For example, developers use Python to program Raspberry Pi.  

Game Development: Though this is not the area where python does a lot but there are many indie developers who already know python and use libraries like PyGame to develop simple games.

Conclusion

Python was originally designed for teaching purposes and hence its syntax was kept deliberately simpler as compared to the other popular languages of those times. On the positive side, the simplicity of Python helped mass adoption which further resulted in the growth of ready-to-use libraries, frameworks, and packages.

The whole phenomenon created a growing ecosystem and brought Python to the #1 spot. If you look at the set of Python features described above, these all indicate ease of development, automation, and quick output generation.

It is also worth noting that every python release brings in a new set of features intended towards quick prototyping and faster development.  

Hope you liked the article, do share it with friends on social media channels.

Tags

Team NF

@noeticforce

The team behind the noeticforce.com platform also loves to research and write, anything and everything technology.

More from Noeticforce
Join noeticforce

Create your free account to customize your reading & writing experience

Ⓒ 2021 noeticforce — All rights reserved