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Python Scripting

BioCodeKb - Bioinformatics Knowledgebase

Python is an interpreted, object-oriented, high-level programming language with dynamic semantics. Its high-level built in data structures, combined with dynamic typing and dynamic binding, make it very attractive for Rapid Application Development, as well as for use as a scripting or glue language to connect existing components together. Python is simple, easy to learn syntax emphasizes readability and therefore reduces the cost of program maintenance. Python supports modules and packages, which encourages program modularity and code reuse. The Python interpreter and the extensive standard library are available in source or binary form without charge for all major platforms, and can be freely distributed. Python uses an interpreter to translate and run its code and that's why it's called a scripting language. A Python script normally can be full of functions that can be imported as a library of functions in other scripts, or a python script can be a command that runs in Rhino. It's often used as a “scripting language” for web applications. This means that it can automate specific series of tasks, making it more efficient. Consequently, Python (and languages like it) is often used in software applications, pages within a web browser, the shells of operating systems and some games.

Often, programmers fall in love with Python because of the increased productivity it provides. Since there is no compilation step, the edit-test-debug cycle is incredibly fast. Debugging Python programs is easy, a bug or bad input will never cause a segmentation fault. Instead, when the interpreter discovers an error, it raises an deviation. When the program doesn't catch the exception, the interpreter prints a stack trace. A source level debugger allows inspection of local and global variables, evaluation of arbitrary expressions, setting breakpoints, stepping through the code a line at a time, and so on. The debugger is written in Python itself, testifying to Python's introspective power. On the other hand, often the quickest way to debug a program is to add a few print statements to the source, the fast edit-test-debug cycle makes this simple approach very effective.

A script in python is almost exactly the same as a Shell script and it is a plain text file that contains lines of Python code that will be executed one after another. To create and edit a Python script, it is almost essential to use a text editor with syntax highlighting. Python script is bunch of code line that perform the specific action according to user need but Python Modules present a whole group of functions, methods, or data that should relate to a common theme.

A python program can be executed in two ways:

  1. Through the Python terminal (called interactive mode)

  2. Through scripting

The first method is highly impractical for larger and more complicated programs.

Therefore, for larger programs we use method 2 called scripting. In this method, we write the Python program in Notepad and then save the program with a .py extension. When we have to run the program, we type the name of the program in command prompt.

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