This page provides an overview of Python, plus a set of handpicked links to additional resources for the language. Most of the links on this page not attributed to me lead to off-site resources; as usual on the web, click with care.
Python is a free, general purpose, open source, computer programming language. It's optimized for software quality, developer productivity, program portability, and component integration. Among Python's features are:
Today, Python's speed of development is leveraged by hundreds of thousands (and perhaps millions) of programmers around the world. It is commonly used in diverse domains such as Internet scripting, systems administration, scientific programming, product customization, instrumentation, data mining, game development, and quality assurance. By most accounts, it now ranks as one of the top 5 most widely used programming languages in the world.
Notable current users of Python include: Google, Intel, Disney, YouTube, Industrial Light & Magic, Red Hat, NASA, Lawrence Livermore Lab, Eve Online, Seagate, JPL, Hewlett-Packard, JP Morgan Chase, Dropbox, ESRI, Calibre, Instagram, and many more. More generally, Python is deployed in strategic or tactical roles by most organizations developing software today, and regularly serves as tool of choice in computer-science education. The resources below give additional users and success stories.
Although general-purpose, Python is often called a scripting language. This is partly because of its relative ease of use—Python code is typically 1/3 to 1/5 the size of equivalent C++ or Java code. This term also reflects the fact that Python makes it easy to utilize and direct other software components—Python scripts can employ C and C++ libraries; communicate over networking and web-services protocols; interface with Java and .Net class libraries; tap into data stores and mobile-app ecosystems; and more.
In the end, though, Python's best asset may simply be its ability to make software development more rapid and enjoyable. Check out the links below to see why.
This section's lists provide selected resources on Python popularity, general use, and history.
Python continues to enjoy an active and even vigorous user community today, more than two decades after its launch. It is now generally considered to be one of the top 5 most widely used programming languages in world, and is still growing in popularity by most metrics, including the following (updated occasionally from 2017 to 2020):
There are hundreds (or thousands) of Python resources on the Web. For more information, either run a search or browse these assorted links:
If you're looking for some historical context on Python, you might try these:
The following older lists were trimmed and updated in 2014 (and rechecked in 2017). A few of their items may still be useful, but some had moved or changed, and others became dated or subsumed by newer resources above like Stack Overflow. A few longstanding Python sites, including the Vaults of Parnassus, have even ceased to be (insert dead parrot skit here...).