Python’s simplicity has established it as a popular programming language for introductory computer science courses, as well as its versatility for a diverse range of fields including software engineering, deep learning, natural language processing, and data science. It is the preferred choice for those who have limited coding background.
Python is widely respected among programmers for its flexibility. Although it is a relatively new open-source coding language, it has evolved into a comprehensive and easy-to-read language that is primarily aimed at streamlining web development.
Due to its evolution, Python has generated multiple versions, with Python 2.0 and 3.0 being the most recent ones.
Although both Python versions are essentially just iterations of the same computer language, there are significant differences between them that are worth noting.
Before we explore these differences in Python versions, let’s take a moment to examine its origins.
The Development of Python
Python was created in 1991 by Guido van Rossum, a Dutch programmer who was concurrently completing his Master’s degree in Mathematics and Computer Science at the University of Amsterdam. The same year, he began working as a researcher at Centrum Wiskunde & Informatica (CWI), an institution specialising in mathematical and theoretical computer science research.
Before the arrival of Python, an established high-level language called SETL (SET Language) already existed. SETL, founded on set theory principles in mathematics, was created at New York University in the late 1960s and first released in 1969.
While working at the Centrum Wiskunde & Informatica (CWI), Rossum contributed to the creation of a new programming language called ABC, which was significantly influenced by the SETL language. During his substantial involvement in the project, Rossum gained a deep understanding of language design, interpreter construction, and other related topics.
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While pondering ways to enhance ABC, Rossum drew inspiration from the British comedy show Monty Python’s Flying Circus and decided to create a new language that he named Python.
When Python was first introduced in 1994, its purpose was to streamline the amount of code required to convey a given concept. Since then, it has been regularly updated to incorporate new features and resolve any glitches or faults. Over the course of the last 26 years, Python has undergone a series of revisions and alterations, resulting in the robust and flexible programming language we use today.
An Explanation of Python 2
To date, the BeOpen PythonLabs team has developed two major releases of Python, which were both launched in 2000. Guido van Rossum, who had previously overseen most of the changes and bug fixes in Python, sought to make it more user-friendly in order to encourage coding education and proficiency among the general public.
To diminish the reliance on Guido van Rossum’s supervision, the BeOpen PythonLabs team launched Python 2.X. The objective of this version was to facilitate contributions from a diverse group of individuals within the Python community.
The final release in the Python 2 series turned out to be Python 2.7. As of 2020, Python 2 will no longer receive support.
Advantages of Utilizing Python 2
- Configuration management software such as Puppet and Ansible are utilized by DevOps engineers, which require proficiency in both versions of Python.
- If a company implements Python 2 for its internal systems, its in-house developers will need to acquire proficiency in the language.
- If teams depend on third-party libraries that are no longer supported by Python 3, they will only have access to Python 2.
An Introduction to Python 3
Python 3 was introduced by the creators of Python in 2008 as a fresh version of the language that aimed to resolve some of the problems of Python 2. This new iteration featured a significantly different syntax that is incompatible with previous versions of Python and is only appropriate for use with Python 3 and later iterations.
The developers of Python 3 strived to promote the use of syntactically uniform code, thereby resolving the key problems confronted by novice programmers. By preventing the possibility of multiple means of conveying the same functionality, new users of the language are able to understand the basics more rapidly and comprehensively.
Reasons to Utilize Python 3
- Python 3 is suitable with an extensive range of forward-thinking technologies such as data science, AI, and more.
- Compared to Python 2, it is more user-friendly to operate.
- Due to its vast community of developers, obtaining assistance is easy.
Differences Between Python 2.X and 3.X
With an understanding of Python’s history and key releases under our belts, let’s contrast the versions.
In Python 2, it is optional to use parentheses when outputting a statement but can be used if preferred. This can cause confusion, as most Python functions require arguments to be enclosed in parentheses.
Unlike Python 2, Python 3 explicitly recognises the `print` statement as a function. If a statement is not enclosed in parentheses, it will not be printed, and a syntax error will be raised.
Python 2 assumes that integers are entered without a decimal point, so when two integers are divided, the result is also an integer. Python 2 does not automatically transform integers into floats when the division operator is encountered, which would produce a float as the output. As a result, the output of the division of integers is an integer.
When we divide 3 by 2 in Python 2, the result will be rounded down to the nearest whole integer, resulting in an output of 1. Python 3, on the other hand, utilises a floating-point division while performing the division of integers, which results in an output of 1.5, making it more beginner-friendly.
The Rule Book Goes Out the Window
Exception errors in Python 2 are written without parentheses, as seen in this example: try:# Code block except NameError:# Exception handling code block. Python 3, on the other hand, requires exceptions to be enclosed in parentheses. The code would appear like this: try:# Code block except NameError as err:# Exception handling code block.
error message=”raise IOError,”
To generate an error message in Python 3, the syntax would be as follows:
raise IOError(“Your error message here”)
Take Into Account the List Comprehension Loop and Its Components
In Python versions prior to 2.7, it was possible to inadvertently alter the value of a global variable if the iteration variable in a list comprehension had the same name as the global variable. Python 3 has addressed this problem with a solution.
In case we have assigned a variable with the same name as the control variable for our list comprehension, we can utilise it without causing any harm to other parts of our code.
It’s crucial to understand that there are crucial yet nuanced discrepancies between Python 2 and Python 3 when it concerns iterations. In Python 2, we have the xrange() method, while in Python 3, we have the brand-new Range() function at our disposal.
Additionally, various libraries have been specifically built to be used with Python 3 and, as a result, they are not compatible with Python 2. Hence, it’s crucial to make sure that the correct version of Python is worked with to benefit from the libraries crafted for the language.
Evaluation of Python 2.X and 3.X
As a beginner programmer, there’s no need to worry about which version of Python to learn, as both versions will enable you to build effective and useful code. However, it can be advantageous to be acquainted with the major discrepancies between the two versions if you ever intend to write code in a version that you’re not as familiar with.
The shift from Python 2 to Python 3 has been a gradual yet continual process. Numerous developers regard Python 3 as the language’s future and have already commenced building libraries that are solely compatible with it. As more recent versions of Python 3 are released, it is probable that a growing number of programmers will transition from Python 2.