Appeared in February 1991, Python now ranks among the top of the most popular programming languages. most used. A large project run by volunteers and which, despite its success, lacks paid developers.
The goal of the creator of Python was to design an easy and intuitive language, open source, with code understandable in English. (Credit: Python.org)
Created on February 20, 1991 by Guido van Rossum, Python has just celebrated its 30th anniversary by posting a great popularity, a few weeks after being named programming language of the year 2020 by the Tiobe index. On the occasion of this anniversary, the Python Software foundation which is celebrating its 20th anniversary,take the opportunity to launch a recruitment campaign with the objective of registering 2,000 new members in 30 days from March 1, she says in a tweet . The PSF, which organizes the PyCon conference and supports 11 Python projects, has just received renewed support from Google Cloud with a endowment of $ 350,000.
The objectives that governed the creation of Python by Guido van Rossum (who named it in drawing inspiration from a BBC series called Monty Python's Flying Circus) was to create an easy and intuitive language as powerful as its main competitors, open source, with understandable code in English, which could be suitable for tasks of all days, with short development times, remind Python Institute . At the index Tiobe from February 2021 , it retains its 3rd place among the most used languages of the moment, behind C and Java.
Web development, scientific computing, software testing
Python is used in many application domains and the Python Package Index (PyPi) repository list thousands third-party modules for Python. For web development, it provides frameworks like Django and Pyramid, micro-frameworks like Flask and Bottle. It is widely used in scientific computing - SciPy for example brings together packages for maths, science and engineering - and for data analysis and modeling, with a tool like Pandas, e.g.ple.
In education, language is used to learn to program. It has been used to build ERP and e-commerce systems like Odoo and Tryton. It is widely used by software developers to manage monitoring and testing. Google Cloud reported that Python served as the runtime environment for many of its GCP-hosted services, from App Engine to Cloud Functions. On the other hand, the language is less popular for mobile development.
A project still run by volunteers
Guido van Rossum has given up his role as language supervisor in July 2018 (and his nickname of benevolent dictator for life) after a difficult debate over adding Operator Walrus (PEP 572) to the language, which had generated some animosity. The Python steering committee elected in October for 2021 is composedof five people - Barry Warsaw, Brett Cannon, Carol Willing, Pablo Galindo Salgado and Thomas Wouters - responsible for overseeing the governance of the community and the changes introduced in the language. Asked by Venturebeat , Pablo Galindo Salgado, underlines the large number of different uses of Python that it is important to take into account when it comes to evolving the language. Among the desired improvements, he would like the language to become faster.
For his part, Brett Cannon, interviewed by The Register , underlined the difficulties of managing a project of this scale always managed by volunteers, with the usual oppositions for any decision to be made . “It's a lot to deal with both in terms of time and emotion,” he says.Although Python does have sponsors, it does not have the significant financial backing that other languages have inherited from being created within a company like Java (created by Sun later acquired by Oracle). Brett Cannon recalls that you have to fundraise for everything and that the community lacks paid developers to help make things work. But the advantage of being independent is also being able to stay focused on the needs of users rather than those of a specific company.
Release candidate 3.9.2rc1 available
Since February 17, the release candidate of Python 3.9.2rc1 is available for testing (as is 3.8.8rc1 ). Python 3.9 uses a new parser, based on PEG, whose performance is comparable to the previous one based on LL (1) but more flexible when it comes to designing new features of the language. Another addition of 3.9 is the Vectorcall call protocol (PEP 590) which speeds up a number of built-in Python functions such as range, tuple, set, frozenset, list, dict). The last full regular maintenance release of Python 3.8 is scheduled for May 3, 2021, after which it will move to bug fixes only while the 3.9 series maintenance releases will continue at regular intervals.
In May 2020, in a Stack survey of 65,000 developers, a question asked about the next language they would like to learn. Python was well ahead, cited by 30% developers.