Python has been around for more than 28 years. It’s an interpreted, high-level, general-purpose programming language.
Even though it is one of the oldest programming languages, It hasn’t been particularly popular amongst the developer communities until recently.
Why wasn’t it popular?
The singular factor behind its “Non Popularity” has been its speed. Ask any student/beginner to choose between Python and ‘Java or C’, nine out of ten students will choose the later due to the speed factor & their theoretical knowledge.
(For those who want to know more, here’s a resource.)
However, if looked at practically, nine of ten times, Python’s ‘slow speed’ doesn’t affect the result-time. Maybe it’s a few milliseconds here & there on paper, but practically that’s nothing.
Though the speed of execution is slower than other major languages, people are preferring Python more and more, especially since the last half-decade.
In fact, big organizations such as Google, Reddit, Bank of America, etc. use Python for some of their most critical systems. But Why?
Why is it popular now?
There have been a few fundamental reasons behind this sudden growth. Read on to understand why python rose to popularity:
“Robustness is the ability of a computer system to cope with errors during execution.”
By this definition or any, Python is undoubtedly one of the robust programming languages.
The thing about Python is it’s simple. One can write the same code with fewer lines in Python as compared to other popular languages like Java. This simplicity reduces the chances of error.
Moreover, Python’s capability to scale with ease makes it a popular choice.
Long story short, Robustness has a big part to play in Python’s success.
Python is among the few flexible languages. This gives it an edge over most other programming languages.
- Jython: Python integrated with Java.
- CPython: A version of ‘C’.
- IronPython: For compatibility with .NET & C#.
and many more.
Python wasn’t designed to perform any specific programming needs. It’s a general purpose language which doesn’t depend on specific API’s.
Moreover, it’s an open source language; meaning: anyone can add new toolkits & libraries to it, which makes it ever-growing.
From Scientific computing to Data Visualization; from Game development to Web development; Python is used everywhere.
This flexibility of Python has made itself a go-to programming language.
It can do all sorts of things, yet its productiveness is why most programmers & businesses prefer Python over any other major language.
With Python, there are three significant advantages:
Python is a simple programming language and hence an easy to learn option.
- The syntax in Python is shorter and clearer. (3-5 times shorter than java codes)
- The readability of the code is better than almost any programming language.
So, if a student is in a dilemma of choosing between Python & Java, choose python first as it’s easier to learn with lot of practical utility.
Due to more straightforward implementations, it saves cost to the organization.
Maybe it takes more time to compute & execute than other languages, but it can save months of manpower cost if the project is large. Moreover, to overcome the speed difference horizontal scaling will be a better option.
Just get more servers(one-time cost) and level up the performance instead of paying developers increasingly every time.
Additionally, Python is a free programming language and hence saves the upfront cost for businesses as well.
In a nutshell, Business speed is a priority over execution speed, and hence Python is used extensively.
Businesses look for an overall cost. If the primary cost of using a programming language is low, but the after-cost is high, it won’t be as valuable.
However, that’s not the case with python. Due to the robustness & simplicity of the language, both developing cost and Maintenance cost are low. And that’s why Python is widely used across organizations.
5. Wide Range of tools:
Python isn’t the same as it was quarter-of-a-century ago. The development of attachments and toolkits has a huge part to play in its popularity — Thanks to the community.
In fact, the range of development tools is the reason why Python is popular for sought-after technologies like Artificial Intelligence & Machine Learning.
Some of the major development tools are:
- For applications: Frameworks like Flask, Django, CherryPy, etc.
- For data analysis & visualization: NumPy, SciPy, Pandas, etc.
- For GUI applications: WxPython, PyGTK, etc.
In short, a wide range of libraries and frameworks makes it a more future-proof & usable bet.
Demand is the ultimate reason why Python has risen to popularity.
With the increase in BigData & cloud computing, the value of ease that python provides for Data analysis & visualization, Machine learning, AI, etc. has increased. So much so that many of the Python developers, Data Scientists, etc. in the USA earn six-figure salaries.
As a comprehensive programming language, Python provides simple instructions to develop. This helps programmers to build highly accurate applications in a shorter while. Additionally, it’s supported with other programming languages like Java, .Net, C, etc.– which makes it more flexible and scalable.
But most importantly, the reason behind the success of python has been its community. The frameworks, libraries, and toolkits designed & developed by community members have come in handy for developers of sought-after technologies like AI, ML, etc.
Obviously, Python has risen to popularity, but the significance of python doesn’t mean insignificance of other programming languages. Java, even today, is more powerful & faster than python. Both languages have their own application. Choosing the appropriate one is the key.