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Python development masterclass

by Kunal Deo

It may seem like Python is just another scripting language, but know that when you are using Linux, the chances are there is some Python code working backstage helping you. Among other things, this article looks into the versatile nature of Python and its many uses…

This article originally appeared in issue 88 of Linux User & Developer magazine.Python development masterclass

Every now and then you will realise that compiled programming is just not cutting it for you and you want to get your work done. In fact, at these times you just want to be freed from all the boundaries that compiled languages put in front of you, like the processor dependency, OS dependency, static typing and altogether the complexity of a compiled language. Python is a good answer for this type of situation.

Mostly seen as a scripting language for system administrators, it is actually capable of doing almost everything and beyond the limitations of regular programming languages. Python started its life as a time-saver programming language. Python’s inventor Guido van Rossum started the project with a set of philosophical rules which drives Python even today.
These philosophical rules led to some of the primary reasons behind the popularity of Python, such as better software quality, component integration, extensibility, cross-platform support and developer productivity.

In this article we will look into the diverse range of applications of Python. We will look into the following categories:
1. System administration
2. Desktop (GUI) application development
3. Web development
4. Application scripting and component integration
5. Game development

System Administration
A system administrator’s job is not an easy one. They often need to do things like managing users, disk quotas, processes, devices and so on. Doing these tasks again and again on a large scale can cause a lot of stress and even result in premature hair loss! No kidding. Read the book Mastering Windows Server 2000 Registry for more details.

Python can be of great help to system administrators by automating a lot of administration tasks. In this section we will look at some sample Python scripts that will give you an idea about how to perform system administration tasks using Python. It is important to note here that for most of the tasks we will be using Python’s built-in modules only.

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    • Frank Townsend

      Please state which old python version and other programs you are using. It is obvious from your print statements that it is not 3.1.2 which is recommended for ALL new development.

    • HarryD

      @Frank Python 3.1.2 is not recommended for development as of now. If you had read the article completely you would have known that Python currently maintains two mutually incompatible branch of the 2.X and 3.X. Until 3.X is finalized 2.X will remain in the usage. FYI: 2.X is still used in 95% of the installed applications.