Python is a widely used general-purpose, high-level programming language. Its design philosophy emphasizes code readability, and its syntax allows programmers to express concepts in fewer lines of code than would be possible in languages such as C . The language provides constructs intended to enable clear programs on both a small and large scale


Python was conceived in the late 1980s and its implementation was started in December 1989 by Guido van Rossum at CWI in the Netherlands as a successor to the ABC language (itself inspired by SETL) capable of exception handling and interfacing with the Amoeba operating system. Van Rossum is Python's principal author, and his continuing central role in deciding the direction of Python is reflected in the title given to him by the Python community, Benevolent Dictator for Life (BDFL).

Python 2.0 was released on 16 October 2000, with many major new features including a full garbage collector and support for Unicode. With this release the development process was changed and became more transparent and community-backed.

Python 3.0 (also called Python 3000 or py3k), a major, backwards-incompatible release, was released on 3 December 2008 after a long period of testing. Many of its major features have been back ported to the backwards-compatible Python 2.6 and 2.7.


Python is a multi-paradigm programming language: abject-oriented programming and structured programming are fully supported, and there are a number of language features which support functional programming and aspect-oriented programming (including by metaprogramming and by magic methods). Many other paradigms are supported using extensions, including design by contract and logic programming .

Python uses dynamic typing and a combination of reference counting and a cycle-detecting garbage collector for memory management . An important feature of Python is dynamic name resolution (late binding), which binds method and variable names during program execution.


The core philosophy of the language is summarized by the document "PEP 20 (The Zen of Python)", which includes aphorism such as:

  • Beautiful is better than ugly.
  • Explicit is better than implicit.
  • Simple is better than complex.
  • Complex is better than complicated.
  • Readability counts.

Rather than requiring all desired functionality to be built into the language's core, Python was designed to be highly extensible. Python can also be embedded in existing applications that need a programmable interface. This design of a small core language with a large standard library and an easily extensible interpreter was intended by Van Rossum from the very start because of his frustrations with ABC (which espoused the opposite mindset).