Python is among the most widely used programming languages in the fields of coding and data. This tutorial covers some of the basics so you can get started learning.
The Absolute Basics
If you have no experience with coding, start by learning some of the basic concepts of programming. Some of this will be specific to Python, while other aspects will also apply to other programming languages.
Found in almost all programs, conditionals check whether a certain condition is true and then adjust the program’s behavior based on the answer. Conditionals include statements like “if,” “if elsif else” and “if else.”
Functions are blocks of code in Python that only run if the program calls them, and have parameters as their input and data as their output. In Python, the def keyword defines functions.
Operations refer to how you change and manipulate data within your program, or the steps that your program takes to take action on data and create more.
All programming languages, including Python, have the following three types of operations at a minimum: arithmetic, comparison and logic.
Strings are a type of data found in Python and other programming languages and refer to sequences of data. They are just one of several types of data that you can use.
Variables are how you store the data within your program and allow you to assign a name for your data that you can use later in your Python programming. Rather than wasting time and space repeatedly typing out values, variables enable you to define a variable at some point in the program for later use. The variable can be nearly any length.
Object-Oriented Programming (OOP)
When you program in Python, everything is an object. The Class lets you see the actions and the state which an object may take, and will define the methods and attributes in Python. With object-oriented programming, the term object is a Class in a specific instance.
For example, you could create a Person Class that would describe the actions and state of a Person object, showing that they have a defined age and name. In this case, the age and name would be the attributes. Get_name( ) would be the method to retrieve the person’s name.
The methods that you define in your Python code determine the actions of the object.
OOP Concepts and Practicing
As you expand your knowledge of Python and other programming languages, it’s crucial to learn the various OOP concepts including polymorphism, encapsulation and inheritance.
It’s also important to practice creating Objects and writing Classes in Python, as well as using object-oriented programming to build a solid foundation of knowledge.
Parallel and Concurrent Programming
In today’s world, all processors tend to have more than one core, and you may write a program that uses more than one core to run various actions in parallel. That can improve responsiveness, performance and throughput.
The following concepts will be key to your understanding of parallel programming:
Mutual exclusion occurs if one of your threads stops another concurrent thread from progressing. This can happen if the two threads share the same resource and is an example of a race condition.
Avoid mutual exclusion by ensuring you sync access to any shared resources.
Race conditions occur when threads need to access a shared recourse that does not have protection by something like a lock. When race conditions occur, you may not get the expected results from your program.
Locks are a specific implementation of mutual exclusion. Using locks ensures that only a single thread can access the given resource at a time.
Essentially, the thread needs to use the lock before it can access the resource in question. When it is done using the resource, the thread will release the lock, allowing another thread to use it. If a thread needs to use the lock but it is already in use, then it must wait.
Deadlocks occur in Python and other programming languages if the program stops running completely because certain threads are unable to access a lock and, therefore, cannot continue. This can be an incredibly challenging problem to solve. Unfortunately, it is quite common.
As an example, consider that Thread 1 currently has Lock 1 that it needs to use in conjunction with Lock 2. But Thread 2 is currently using Lock 2, so Thread 1 cannot access it. Thread 2 also needs Lock 1 to use Lock 2 at the same time. In this case, neither Thread 1 nor Thread 2 will release their locks until they have the other one, putting them at a deadlock.
Other Concepts to Understand
It’s also a good idea to learn about multithreading vs. multiprocessing, global interpreter lock, threading and queue.
Socket programming allows you to expand your Python skills to include code that will communicate via a network and interact with other machines. Everything previously mentioned only refers to code run on one machine.
Then, you can rely on the libraries of Python to write your code, which will then communicate with the code on another machine.
The first step to this socket programming with Python is writing an Echo program, which involves writing a TCP client and a TCP server on each machine. With an Echo program, the client-side machine reads messages from users, then sends the message via the network to the server. The server then echoes the message to the client.
Enhancing With HTTP
After some time in a Python bootcamp or with individual practice creating TCP client-server applications, you can expand to HTTP messages. Since most web services have HTTP API interfaces that allow for programming interaction, this skill is crucial as you learn Python.
Make sure that you also learn about the various tools you will use to debug networking programs in Python. The most important ones include ping, netstat, tcpdump and Wireshark.
Taking one or more Python bootcamps can enhance your understanding and skills, especially if you take the time to practice your new coding knowledge.
*Please note, these articles are for educational purposes and the topics covered may not be representative of the curriculum covered in our boot camp. Explore our curriculum to see what you’ll learn in our program.
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