Due to its ease of use, Python is quickly becoming a mainstay in introductory computer science courses. It is widely employed across various disciplines, such as data science, natural language processing, deep learning, and software engineering, and is particularly favoured by those with minimal coding experience.
Python is highly esteemed within the programming community because of its versatility. Despite its relatively short time on the scene, this open-source language has grown into a comprehensive and easily readable language that is designed to simplify web development.
As a result of this development, Python has spawned several versions, the most current of which are Python 2.0 and 3.0.
Despite the fact that both Pythons are essentially simply variants of the same computer language, there are important distinctions between them.
First, let’s review Python’s origins before diving into these variations.
The Evolution of Python
In 1991, Guido van Rossum, a Dutch programmer, developed Python while concurrently pursuing his Master’s degree in Mathematics and Computer Science from the University of Amsterdam. That same year, he began working as a researcher at Centrum Wiskunde & Informatica (CWI), an institute focused on mathematical and theoretical computer science research.
Prior to the advent of Python, there already existed an established programming language known as SETL (SET Language). Developed at New York University in the late 1960s, SETL was a high-level language based on the principles of set theory in mathematics, and was first published in 1969.
At the Centrum Wiskunde & Informatica (CWI), Rossum was involved in the development of a novel programming language known as ABC, which was heavily influenced by the SETL language. After dedicating a considerable amount of time to the project, Rossum developed a profound understanding of language design, interpreter construction, and other related topics.
As Rossum contemplated ways to improve ABC, he was inspired by the British comedy series Monty Python’s Flying Circus to create a new language which he named Python.
At the time of its initial release in 1994, Python was designed with the intention of reducing the amount of code needed to express a given concept. Since then, regular updates have been released to add new features and address any bugs or issues. Over the past 26 years, Python has undergone numerous revisions and modifications, resulting in the powerful and versatile programming language we know today.
Python 2: An Exposition
So far, two major releases of Python have been developed by the BeOpen PythonLabs team, both released in 2000. Guido van Rossum, who had previously been responsible for most of the modifications and bug fixes for Python, wanted to make it more accessible to the public in order to help promote coding knowledge and literacy.
Given the need to reduce reliance on the oversight of Guido van Rossum, the BeOpen PythonLabs team released Python 2.X. This version was designed to be more open to contributions from a wider range of people within the Python community.
The last release of the Python 2 series was Python 2.7. As of the year 2020, support for Python 2 will be discontinued.
What are the benefits of using Python 2?
- DevOps engineers use configuration management software like Puppet and Ansible. In this case, they must be fluent in both versions.
- If a business uses Python 2 for its internal systems, in-house developers will have to become fluent in the language.
- Teams who rely on third-party libraries that have been discontinued for Python 3 will be left with just Python 2.
Intro to Python 3
In 2008, the developers of Python released Python 3, a completely new version of the language designed to address some of the issues with Python 2. This new version included a radically different syntax that is not compatible with the earlier versions of Python and can only be used with Python 3 and subsequent versions.
Python 3 was designed to encourage the use of code that is syntactically consistent, thereby eliminating the most common issues faced by beginner programmers. By avoiding the potential for multiple ways of expressing the same functionality, newcomers to the language are able to grasp the fundamentals quicker and more effectively.
Why Should You Use Python 3?
- It’s compatible with a wide range of cutting-edge technologies, including AI, data science, and more.
- When compared to Python 2, it’s more simpler to use.
- Because of its enormous developer community, finding help is simple.
Comparison between Python 2.X and 3.X
Now that we’ve covered Python’s background and the most important releases, let’s compare the variations.
In Python 2, it is not necessary to use parentheses when printing a statement; however, they may be employed if desired. This may be confusing, as the majority of Python functions require the arguments to be contained within parentheses.
In Python 2, it was not explicitly stated that the `print` statement was treated as a function; however, Python 3 has made this distinction clear. If a sentence is not enclosed in parentheses, it will not be printed and a syntax error will be thrown.
Dividing by an Integer
In Python 2, the result of a division between two integers is an integer due to the fact that integers are assumed to be entered without a decimal point. This occurs because Python 2 does not automatically convert integers to floats when encountering a division operator, which would result in a float as the output. Consequently, the result of the division between two integers is an integer.
If we use Python 2 to perform the division of 3 by 2, the result will be rounded down to the closest whole integer, yielding a result of 1. In contrast, Python 3 provides a more user-friendly result for novice programmers, as it employs a floating-point division when dividing integers, resulting in a value of 1.5 for the division of 3 by 2.
Throwing out the rule book
In Python 2, exceptions are notated without parentheses; for example, you may come across a syntax such as this: try:# Code block except NameError:# Exception handling code block In contrast, exceptions are denoted within parentheses in Python 3; for instance, the same code would look like this: try:# Code block except NameError as err:# Exception handling code block
error message=”raise IOError,”
The syntax of Python 3 will be as follows:
error(“Your error message here”) = raise IOError
Consider the list comprehension loop and the variables that make it up.
Prior to version 2.7 of Python, it was possible to unintentionally modify the value of a global variable if the name of the variable iterated over in a list comprehension was the same as the global variable. To address this problem, Python 3 has implemented a fix.
If we have already allocated a variable with the same name as the control variable for use within our list comprehension, we can use it without any risk of impacting any other elements of the code.
It is important to note that there are subtle yet important differences between Python 2 and Python 3 when it comes to iterations. Python 2 provides the xrange() method, whereas Python 3 has introduced the brand-new Range() function.
Furthermore, many libraries have been created specifically to be utilised with Python 3, and as a result, they are not compatible with Python 2. Consequently, it is important to ensure that the correct version of Python is used in order to take advantage of the libraries developed for the language.
Review of Python 2.X and 3.X
As a novice programmer, it is not necessary to concern yourself with which version of Python to learn, as both versions will enable you to construct efficient and productive code. However, if you ever need to create code in a version that you are not as familiar with, it is beneficial to be aware of the significant differences between the two versions.
The transition from Python 2 to Python 3 has been gradual but progressive. Many developers view Python 3 as the future, and have already started creating libraries that are only compatible with it. As more recent iterations of Python 3 become available, an increasing number of programmers are likely to make the switch from Python 2.