Nik's Perspective: Python Scripts

What is Python?

We should probably start here before we go any deeper. Python is a programming language created by a dutch developer named Guido Van Rossum, and he named the language after “Monty Python.” It’s a scripting language, which means it does not need to be compiled. It only requires you have the interpreter installed on your machine. And it can be used to do a lot of really cool stuff.

What can it do?

I mean, what CAN’T it do? Python is an extremely capable language. And since it’s been around for so long, people have found a lot of ways to bend it to their will and find new, exciting ways to use it. Let’s discuss a few, shall we? Just do me a favor, though. Whenever you see the cue (you’ll know it when you see it) Imagine a cool transition in your head. 123GO!
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Process Automation!

Think of an annoying, repetitive task you have to do, preferably something involving a computer (otherwise it’ll be hard to automate). Chances are, you can automate some if not all of it with python! Here’s an example. Several times a week, we need to visit a server, download a CSV file, and then make a bunch of edits to it. The whole process can take more than an hour to finish. Fortunately, each edit is the same. Combine columns 2-4, remove columns 5-10, add a “.00” to the end of prices, etc. With a python script, we can have the computer do this for us, and it takes a fraction of a second. Crazy, right?
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Web Applications

The world of programming has these really handy things called frameworks. Using one of these, we can use Python to build super powerful web applications. Google started using mostly Python in their original set up and still uses it heavily today. But that’s not all. Plenty of other companies have, and still do, use python for their web applications. Python is extremely proficient at something called ‘web scraping,' which essentially is telling Python “Hey, go to this site and look for stuff, then bring it back to me.” Useful examples of this could be creating a website that can pull information from any Wikipedia page where you just tell Python what subject you want to look up.
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Desktop Software

Yup, even desktop software can be built in Python. There’s this really nifty thing built into Python that lets you build a GUI (that stands for graphical user interface) for your stuff, and then use something called Py2exe to have it compile into special computer words so that your Windows machine can run it like any other application. This definitely isn’t recommended for professional level development of windows software, but it’s perfectly fine for someone who wants to build a small, simple program to use for your own nefarious purposes.

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That’s all for now

As much as I’d love to geek out more about Python, I think we’ll just call it a day here. The point is, Python can and will make your life better. The syntax looks a lot like the English language, making it one of the easiest languages to get started with. Be warned, however. Programming is addicting, and Red Shark Digital accepts no responsibility.