10 tips for a Python beginner

Python is one of the most preferred languages. According to a study by Analytics India Magazine, the favourite language for data scientists in today’s era is Python, as almost 44% of the professionals use it the most. Many professionals are upskilling themselves by learning Python because of its demand in the job market. Here are 5 coding tips for Python beginners.

1. Dynamic Typing

Python is a dynamically typed language, as opposed to statically typed like Java and C++. This means that based on the value that one has assigned, Python keeps track of the datatype internally and the datatype does not have to be explicitly provided.

2. Modules

Python allows putting multiple function definitions into a file to use them as a module. This helps in managing the program as it grows, when breaking the program into several files makes it easy.

You can import these modules into other scripts and programs. These files must have a .py extension and importing them will create a .pyc extension which will load much quicker than normal. Keeping codes in modules in a separate folder saves a lot of time from writing and debugging the errors.

3. Merging Python and Shell Scripts

There is actually much more to mixing up Python and Bash and nothing works better as a mixture of script of Python and Bash. Python is compatible with the open source Linux making it easy to compile and merge them together. A normal script can work as a Unix script as well as an interpreted python code. In a shell script, there has to be a four quote characterhaved an empty string to the shell, whereas Python requires a  triple-quoted string with a quote character. This mixture makes the script fast because of Bash and inclusive of advanced features because of Python.

4. The Data Type SET

Set is an unordered collection of unique items and is defined by the values separated by commas inside the braces { }. This has been part of Python since version 2.4. Items in a set are unordered and therefore their indexing has no meaning. Hence the slicing operator [] does not work. If one wants to create a set, he uses the built-in set() function with a sequence or another iterable object.

5. Enumerate() Function

While dealing with iterators, they also need to have a count of them. Python solves the pain of counting these iterations every time by providing a built-in function called enumerate().

Enumerate() method adds a counter to an iterable and returns it in a form of enumerate object. An iterable is an object that has a iter method which returns an iterator. It can accept sequential indexes starting from zero. This enumerate object can then be used directly in for loops or be converted into a list of tuples using list() method.

6. __eq__ And __ne__

Equality in Python needs implementation of a eq(self, other) method, which should return either a boolean value if the class knows how to compare itself to other or NotImplemented if it doesn’t. For inequality checks using !=, the corresponding method is ne(self, other).

By default, those methods are inherited from the object class that compares two instances by their identity. A common mistake in Python 2 was to override only eq() and forget about ne(). Python 3 has overcome this by allowing to implement an obvious ne().

7. == And = Operators

Python uses the operator == for comparison and the operator = for assigning a value. The == operator compares the values of both the operands and checks for value equality. Whereas is operator checks whether both the operands refer to the same object or not. The language does not support inline assignment. If a class doesn’t provide eq method, Python will compare two objects and return True value only if both two objects are actually the same object.

8. Debugging

When debugging, it is important to have a methodological approach to identify where things are breaking down. Once that is done, using a Python debugger in the code into import pdb; pdb.set_trace() and running it will drop into the interactive mode. The debugger can also be run from the command line with python -m pdb <my_file.py>.

9. Contribute to Open Source

Python has many libraries that are open-source projects. An open-source Python project is a great way to learn the language. Any suggestion made or work done could be reviewed by the project managers, thereby helping with learning best practices for Python programming.

10. Running Python Programs From Python Interpreter

Python programs can run in two ways, that is by typing commands directly in the Python shell or by running program stored in a file, of which the second method is generally preferred. Typing the command at the Python console, one by one, will give immediate answers.

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