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7 Easy Steps To Learning Python Scripting

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Python is one of the most popular programming languages. Knowing how to create software that can be employed in everyday tasks was previously not a necessity. Python is an excellent tool that helps you get a good job and improves the skills necessary for a successful career. Writing programs has become much easier since Python became a popular programming language. But despite the many benefits, learning Python presents many challenges. Here is the easiest way to gain Python scripting knowledge and kickstart your journey.

What Is Scripting?

Scripting is tightly related to programming. In fact, there is little difference other than the language used and the purpose of the code. Scripting, more specifically, refers to code which makes it easier and more efficient to perform advanced tasks at an operating-system level. This can be, for example, batch-processing a large set of files, automating tasks, or using a tool to monitor the status of computer hardware.

Introduction To Scripting In Python

Python was originally meant to be a scripting language, i.e., to extend the capabilities of bash, sed, awk, perl and more. A common trait shared between scripting languages is that they have a simplified syntax and they are executed interactively, meaning that the code does not need to be compiled, but commands are given sequentially.

The python interpreter processes the code entered by the user one line at a time. It can do some sanity checks and supports exception handling when there is a programming error. Python has evolved significantly since the days when it was created back in the early 90s. Nowadays, it is the go-to language used in scientific computing.

How To Start With Python Scripting?

While taking a Python course is a good idea, it does not need to be the time and place to write your first Python script. In fact, there are countless tutorials and free resources online, from creating your first “Hello world” program to advanced topics such as data science and machine learning.

One of the simplest examples of a program is to print the string “Hello world”. This only takes one line of Python code:

There is no need to specify string formatting, or import any packages or define variables. You can copy the line above and paste it in a text file. Then you can open the command line on Unix systems, the command prompt on Windows or an IDE where you can execute your Python script.

On a Linux or a Mac terminal, you need to call the Python interpreter and provide the file name so that it can be executed. Alternatively, you can add

to be the first line of your script. If you make this file executable, you can start it without calling the interpreter explicitly. In the screenshot below, I first show the content of the script, then I make it executable using the chmod command, and then I execute it. The alternative way is to call the Python interpreter and give the name and path to the script to it. The output is identical.

7 Easy Steps To Learning Python Scripting - a screenshot of a simple command line interaction

The same is done in PyScripter, a Python-specific IDE offering all features that a Python programmer needs.

7 Easy Steps To Learning Python Scripting - a hello world program in PyScripter

How To Run A Python Script?

Python scripts can either be run from the command line or inside an integrated development environment (IDE). There are many options for an IDE, but some of the reliable code editors include Visual studio code and PyScripter. While any text editor would do as a starting point, we highly recommend that you start using professional tools from the very beginning.

Click here to start your scripting journey using PyScripter

What Are The 7 Easy Steps To Learning Python Scripting?

1. Decide Why You Want to Learn Python Programming

One possible reason is that it’s cool! And it truly is fun to learn how programming works and how to write code. You may also have much bigger dreams and goals such as Python scripting for web development or even your very own data science project.

Python comes with many built-in functions and packages. There are various modules to save you time – there is no need to reinvent the wheel. Python is more versatile than other languages, and knowing how to code is a huge benefit when looking for a better job.

2. Learn Basic Python Syntax

As I mentioned, you can start off by looking up some online tutorials on Python scripting for absolute beginners. We have written plenty of blog articles about it, so make sure you check them out.

If you want to go one step further, you can build a GUI Python currency converter.

The opportunities are endless once you grasp the basic concepts. Python syntax is intuitive and logical. This allows you to obtain results and proceed with your project much faster than if you were to study a more complicated programming language.

The sys module is a particularly interesting one since it allows your script to interact with the operating system. Also, it can process command-line arguments, which gives more flexibility when executing Python code for repetitive tasks.

3. Create Simple Programs Using Data Types and Control Structures

Data types and control structures are the first programming concepts that you need to learn if you have no prior experience with other programming languages. Basically, you need to open a code editor and start typing your script. The Python language has two major versions, of which the older version 2 is now deprecated. You should definitely start with Python version 3. Plan your code structure, be clear about what kind of input you are going to give to the script and what is the desired output.

4. Run Incremental Checks on Your Code

As a newbie, you will inevitably make lots of programming mistakes, but that is normal, and it should not discourage you. You learn best by trying. One useful tip is that you should start by writing short pieces of code and running them until you are sure that each component works. If you write a huge script, it becomes much harder to pinpoint the errors.

5. Learn How to Troubleshoot Your Code

The Python programming language comes with error handling, however, there are debugging tools to handle less obvious programming mistakes. In PyScripter, you can go to Run -> Debug, and you will be able to trace the execution of your code. You can make a step-by-step analysis of each operation and find out easily what is the problematic part of your code.

Sometimes, there are logical errors in the code structure. The code syntax is correct, and the debugger does not show any hints of errors. In these cases, it is useful to print out intermediate steps that will act as sanity checks. For example, I intended to calculate the sum of u1 and v2, but instead, I typed u1 and u2. The code is technically correct, but the output is incorrect.

6. Make a schedule for learning Python and follow it through

Like with anything, learning Python scripting takes time and effort. You need to be consistent and bravely spend time on it before you can repeat the rewards. Add sloths in your timetable that you will dedicate to Python. And why not create a Python program that will remind you when you need to start practising? You just need to write the basic script file and schedule the py file either via the Windows Scheduled Tasks or as a cron job on Unix systems.

7. Step Out of Your Comfort Zone

Be brave and try a big project even if you know nothing about the field. How about learning how artificial intelligence works? Maybe you have only heard the term, but why not become an AI expert? Try out something new.

7 Easy Steps To Learning Python Scripting - a person in ripped jeans with their arms outstretched sitting cross legged on the floor with a laptop on their lap

How Can Pythongui.org Help Your Python Experience?

You should always continue learning; even pros don’t know everything. Practice is the key to success. Check out our posts and start learning Python scripting today using the best IDE, PyScripter.

Download PyScripter for free here.

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About author

I am a quantum chemist and a photographer with a decade of experience in programming in various languages. I have worked with python in the past five years regularly on multiple projects and in my free time. I love sharing knowledge with the world and clearly explaining complex concepts.
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