Guess what Google, YouTube, Facebook, Netflix, Instagram, and Amazon have in common? They are all built with the programming language Python.
Known as the “Swiss Army knife” for programmers because the coding language is so easy to learn and use, Python was developed by Dutch programmer Guido van Rossum in 1991. Van Rossum made Python open source, earning him the title of Benevolent Dictator For Life (BDFL) from the Python user community.
“Invariably, you’ll find that if the language is any good, your users are going to take it to places where you never thought it would be taken.”GUIDO VAN ROSSUM
Python’s place in the world of programming languages
Since going open source, Python has expanded and improved, allowing programmers to learn to code in a variety of styles, including structural, object-oriented, and functional programming styles. It is often referred to as the “batteries included” language thanks to the standout Python Package Index (PyPI, pronounced pie-pee-eye), a repository of software that helps you find and install software developed and shared by the Python community.
According to Statista, Python is among the top five most used programming languages among developers worldwide in 2022, while Github developers put it at no. 1 most popular.
And it’s gathered more accolades this year. The 2022 Stack Overflow Developer Survey showed that Python is a close second among programming languages developers most want to learn. The survey also revealed that being able to put Python on your CV immediately enables programmers to command a higher salary.
10 famous websites built using Python
According to BuiltWith, approximately 833,456 websites worldwide currently use Python (2,122 websites in South Africa). And that’s three decades after its first release. Here are some of the biggies built with Python (some, in part), and the top reasons why:
- Google – for their data analysis, machine learning, and artificial intelligence
- Youtube – for simplifying streaming, uploading, downloading, and sharing
- Facebook – for production engineering and easy interaction with their APIs
- Netflix – for its ability to scale and handle massive amounts of traffic
- Uber – for backend functionality and rendering data-rich visualisations
- Reddit – for its clear code and allowing for fast development
- Instagram – for its simplicity and ability to host millions of daily users
- Spotify – for backend services, speed, readability, and data analysis
- Dropbox – for file hosting and deploying new product features at speed
- Amazon – for its ML algorithms that power the recommendation engine
Top reasons why Python is so popular
Python is fun to work in but is also loved for its scalability, reliability, flexibility, and clean code. And did we mention it’s free? With frameworks like Django and Flask, it’s a great option for quick and simple back-end web development. Here are more reasons why developers love it:
- Easy to learn and a great entry language for coding beginners to grasp relevant basic programming concepts no matter what language you use.
- Large collection of libraries (pieces of reusable code) you can incorporate into your code to manipulate images, administrate databases, and perform equations.
- Highly extensible – you can extend Python to other programming languages within your Python codebase to use with other software, and add functionality.
- Strong community who contribute to its ongoing development and provide Python tutorials, forum discussions, and video content. They also create libraries and plugins that enable developers to do more.
For these reasons and more, Python forms the backbone of thousands of websites and applications we use daily, including enterprises such as Google, Facebook, YouTube, and Reddit.
Thanks, in part, to its great tools for data analysis and visualisation, it is also a favourite in maths and scientific computing, education, banking, and video games. Python has also proven itself to be one of the most efficient programming languages for machine learning (ML) and artificial intelligence (AI) solutions.
It’s clear, Python isn’t going anywhere. Its strong support for integration with other languages and tools, extensive standard libraries, and the fact that it can be learned quickly makes it a must-have skill for anyone thinking of becoming a developer.
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