Coding For Dummies
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Python is a general-purpose programming language typically used for web development. This may sound similar to Ruby, and really both languages are more similar than they are different. Python, like Ruby, allows for storing data after the user has navigated away from the page or closed the browser, unlike HTML, CSS, and JavaScript.

Using Python commands you can create, update, store, and retrieve this data in a database. For example, imagine you wanted to create a local search and ratings site like The reviews users write are stored in a central database. Any review author can exit the browser, turn off the computer, and come back to the website later to find their reviews.

Additionally, when others search for venues, this same central database is queried, and the same review is displayed. Storing data in a database is a common task for Python developers, and existing Python libraries include pre-built code to easily create and query databases.

SQLite is one free lightweight database commonly used by Python programmers to store data.

Many highly trafficked websites, such as YouTube, are created using Python. Other websites currently using Python include:
  • Quora for its community question and answer site.

  • Spotify for internal data analysis.

  • Dropbox for its desktop client software.

  • Reddit for generating crowd-sourced news.

  • Industrial Light & Magic and Disney Animation for creating film special effects.

From websites to software to special effects, Python is an extremely versatile language, powerful enough to support a range of applications. In addition, to help spread Python code, Python programmers create libraries, which are stand-alone pre-written code that do certain tasks, and make them publicly available for others to use and improve.

For example, a library called Scrapy performs web scaping, while another library called SciPy performs math functions used by scientists and mathematicians. The Python community maintains thousands of libraries like these, and most are free and open-source software.

You can generally confirm the front-end programming language used by any major website with BuiltWith. After entering the website address in the search bar, look under the Frameworks section for Python. Note that websites may use Python for backend services not visible to BuiltWith.

About This Article

This article is from the book:

About the book author:

Nikhil Abraham is the CFO of Udacity, an education company that teaches technology skills that help launch or advance a career. Prior to joining Udacity, Nik worked at Codecademy where he taught beginning coders across a variety of professions. He is also author of Coding For Dummies and Getting a Coding Job For Dummies.

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