Snake Charmer: What’s Pushing the Python Preference?
Python has now pushed its way into the top three coding languages for 2019. As noted by ZDNet, it surpassed C++ this year, leaving just C and Java to stalk, strike, and subdue.
But what’s the big secret? How did an open-source language created 30 years ago charm its way to the top of programmer preferences?
As the ZDNet piece points out, Python is often the first language taught at universities and the go-to language for statistical analysis. Why? Because it offers simple syntax, broad online support, and a myriad of third-party software libraries.
Python is also getting a push from hackers repurposing these open-source offerings to inject virtual venom and bite back at businesses. But it’s a circular effect: The more malicious actors leverage this language to punch through network defenses, the more critical it becomes for infosec teams and third-party providers to make Python a priority.
By the numbers? Python snaked its way up 3.62 percentage points — over a percent more than C++ — to own its top-three spot.
Success at Scale
If programmers had a sorting hat, this slithering syntax would be their first choice. Part of the appeal is noted above — Python is easy to learn and extremely versatile — but that doesn’t guarantee its usefulness as a long-term coding companion.
As noted by Tech Republic, however, this open-source language is now making inroads at software giants like Microsoft. Many MS products now offer Python support and some new offerings cater to this code exclusively.
So what happened? It’s simple — ten years ago, no one cared about Python because everything was built around proprietary programming. Fast-forward to 2015 and the rise of public cloud services means even companies like Microsoft can’t ignore the growing demand for adaptable, open-source options. Given its ease-of-use, Python is the perfect pick.
And it doesn’t stop there. According to Java World, Python is emerging as a powerhouse for machine learning given its use among data scientists and the flexibility of tools such as Jupyter and Scikit-learn. Even Java-first shops can benefit from Python add-ons such as the interoperable Jython interpreter or Java’s ProcessBuilder, which lets users execute Python code directly from Java.
Snakes on a Brain
What’s next for Python? Artificial intelligence.
A recent Forbes piece tackles the emerging role of GPU-driven AI initiatives such as NVIDIA’s open-source RAPIDS toolset. The foundation of its high-bandwidth memory speed and graphics core parallelism? Python, naturally. The graphics maker said it collaborated for two years with Python contributors to accelerate workloads and empower outcomes.
Also on the horizon is molting season. As of January 1, 2020, all official support for Python 2 will end as the project transitions to Python 3. This iteration adds features such as advanced unpacking, keyword-only arguments, and chained exceptions.
Bottom line? Python is on the way up as universities leverage its entry-level qualities, tech giants opt for open source, and AI advocates look to accelerate outcomes.