It seems like ancient history, but it was not so long ago that people:
- Waited for DVDs to show up in their snail mail before popping the corn.
- Ripped CDs onto their desktop DVD drives (say what drives?).
- Asked their well-dressed valet Jeeves to fetch the answers to their questions.
Then came the digital explosion, and the next thing you know:
- Netflix decided to save on postage and switch to streaming.
- Spotify found a way to give people immediate access to a vast music library.
- Quora became the internet’s most famous Q&A site, dubious responses notwithstanding.
And the Python programming language, a high-level, general-purpose programming language developers use for all sorts of problems, has played a large role in this transformation.
What is a Python Development Company?
The Dead Parrot sketch. The Ministry of Silly Walks. The Lumberjack Song. People of a certain age—or level of nerdiness—will recognize these as three of the most famous Monty Python bits. Many could probably recite them word-for-word and beat-for-beat.
We’re not sure which, if any, of these, Guido van Rossum was viewing on BBC when he named his new programming language Python. But we do have some insight into what started it all. Here’s how van Rossum himself explains it.
- In the winter of 1989, he got tired of griping about certain features in the ABC language and decided to do something about it. Plus, he needed a hobby to get him through the Christmas holidays.
- He wanted to write a universally accessible programming language that even novices found easy to use.
- And more than anything, he dreamed of Python making computing fun.
Python comes with an extensive standard library that includes everything from string processing to internet protocols and operating system interfaces. Developers also have a variety of third-party extension modules they can use to debug code, sort lines of text, and even add color to their indents to make them more readable. There are also robust frameworks with reusable building blocks. Some of the popular ones are Django, Flask, and Cherry Py.
Easy to learn and use, backed by a mature and supportive community, and updated about every 6-8 months for the last three decades, it’s no surprise that Python development companies so often choose the language for machine learning, data science, and visualization, image and data manipulation, and more.
You might also hear Python referred to as a “glue language.” This simply means it can be used to “glue” together or connect different and disparate software components often created using other programming languages and platforms. For instance, developers might choose C or C++ to write a computer math program for optimal performance but provide a Python “layer” so the program’s easier for end-users to interact with. Or you might want to take advantage of Python’s speed and excellent facilities for calling into native code to design a program that allows two merging companies’ legacy systems to easily talk to each other.
Heavy Hitters Who Use Python
Python is generally considered a programming language that opens more doors than other languages. Its flexibility, versatility, reliability, and speed have made it a favorite of some of the world’s biggest tech innovators.
Python’s creator, Guido van Rossum, worked for Google from 2005 to 2012. His invention was adopted by Google early on, and the company loved Python so much that it made it one of its official server-side languages. The search giant’s developers appreciate how it enables relatively rapid delivery and its ease of maintenance. Through the years, Python has remained an important factor in Google’s growth and is used on countless internal systems.
Meta’s photo-sharing app uses Python to serve nearly a billion dynamic users daily. In fact, it’s Python’s largest user base worldwide, using the Django web framework. Why Python when Facebook uses PHP? Because Python’s a great choice for building huge, high-performing, and responsive web applications. Plus, developers can use the language for fast iterations and customizing bots that handle features like likes and follows. And when Instagram moved over to Python 3 in 2017, it did it with zero user experience interruption.
It might be a bit of a stretch to call NASA a Python application example, but the space agency is definitely an intriguing model to examine. NASA has been using open-source Python since 1994, and the language played a huge role in its James Webb Space Telescope’s ability to capture and catalog incredible space images. In fact, Python is the most common programming language used in the astronomy field, as it excels at data analysis, manipulation, and inference.
The popular streaming service chose Python in large part because its software development team preferred it. Every film streamed on Netflix has the power of Python’s tools behind it, with the company’s engineers using the language for everything from security tools to recommendation algorithms and networking problem solutions. One of the most notable uses is a regional failure system that addresses extended outages like the one Netflix suffered in 2012, reducing outage response time from 45 to seven minutes.
Few people realize that Reddit is one of the most visited websites in the world, with millions of people using it to source their news and social commentary. Originally coded in Lisp, Reddit rewrote its entire site to Python in 2005, taking advantage of its more extensive libraries and greater code readability. Today it’s the platform’s server-side language of choice for translating and responding to user requests.
Spotify uses Python primarily for back-end services and data analysis that helps the platform make user recommendations. Engineers at the streaming service like how Python promotes speed during development and how its robust support community makes their jobs easier and helps them grow more proficient and creative in using the language.
Is There Ever a Time Not to Use Python?
Python might, as they say, be “eating the world,” but there are times when it won’t fit your needs and you’re going to want to use another language like PHP or Java. And while we consider ourselves a highly competent Python development company, our team is also proficient in many other languages. In other words, whatever floats your boat to get you where you’re going, we’re on board!
Where Python falls short
Are there disadvantages to Python? Only in the sense that the language might not be the best option for your project. That’s because there are definitely tasks Python is not particularly well-suited for. For instance, because it’s what’s called a “high-level language,” it isn’t suitable for system-level programming like device drivers or operating system (OS) kernels. It’s also not a good choice for cross-platform applications or when application speed is a high priority. In those cases, you want to use C++ or another similar language.
Python also isn’t considered ideal for game and app development—or any other memory-intensive projects, for that matter. That’s due to its dynamic nature, which limits performance and speed, as well as its non-specialization, unlike PHP’s website and Node.js’ mobile app capabilities.
Hiring a Python Development Company
We’d like to say there’s an easy way to identify a good Python development company. But we can’t, and, like most things related to software development, you’re going to have to do a little homework.
We can, however, give you a head start on the evaluation process.
- Take a look at the company’s website. How user-friendly is it? If it showcases products and services in an easy-to-comprehend way, shortlist it.
- Can the company handle your project? Do you need a single dedicated developer or an 8-member team? Look for a firm that has the necessary amount of talent.
- Tech specialization. Most Python development companies also specialize in other languages. Make sure the ones you’re considering have solid experience in building Python projects.
- Check references. There are online resources for reviewing Python development companies, but you can also ask the company itself to set up conversations with their past and existing clients.
Finding and choosing a Python development company can be challenging, but it helps to think of it as recruiting fresh talent. You just need to be clear on what your project goals are and how they can be achieved most efficiently and effectively.
As we wrap things up, here’s the deal. Get a bunch of software developers together and they can debate different programming languages until the sun comes up. Or the cows come home. Either way, what’s most important is which language has your best interests at heart. Fortunately, Zibtek’s developers are skilled in multiple stacks and can ensure your project is completed on budget, on time, and to your specifications.Schedule a meeting with us today to learn more.