By some other measures of growth, Python looks poised to surpass even Java within the next few years. Given this major growth, we’ve prepared a guide on Python development trends. First we’ll look at what Python is and why it’s been successful thus far. Then we’ll discuss some of the hot trends in Python for 2019 and beyond.
What Is Python? An Introduction
Python is a programming language, like Java and the C languages. All programming languages are essentially digital languages used for encoding applications. In simpler terms, any application you use on any device was created in a programming language. Python is one of those languages, and it’s soaring in popularity.
According to its creators, the Python Software Foundation, Python is a high-level programming language with a syntax that’s easy to learn and use. They go on to describe the language as object oriented, with dynamic semantics. Python is an open-source platform, meaning the Python platform is freely available and free to use, and users are encouraged to innovate and share with fellow developers.
It’s popular for Rapid Application Development, and it’s built in such a way that modules and packages can be reused from application to application. It’s built for productivity, too, with no compilation step and a speedy edit-test-debug cycle.
Reasons for Python’s Success
There are many reasons that Python has become a success. We'll look at several of these before discussing the hot trends for 2019.
Ease of Use
Python was designed at least in part as a reaction to more challenging programming languages like Java and C+, which frequently have readability issues and come with a very hefty learning curve. In contrast, Python was developed with the goal of having fewer steps and a lower barrier to entry.
As a result, Python is exceptionally easy to use compared to most other programming languages. Even those that are just getting started in programming often discover that they can begin writing code within days or even hours of beginning to study Python.
Deep Community Resources
One great reason for the success of Python as a programming language is the incredible community that has grown up around it. Because Python is open-source, there is built-in encouragement for developers to create and share ever more creative libraries. Because Python supports reusable modules and packages, these community-created libraries can be used by anyone to do just about anything in Python. Developers save considerable time by implementing libraries that have already been well thought through rather than feeling the need to create new code from scratch each time.
Even though Python is comparatively simple to use and has great libraries available, sometimes starting from scratch just isn't the right approach. That's where Python frameworks come in. Frameworks provide a ready-made structure in which web and app development can take place. Like the libraries, Python frameworks are community-driven and open-source.
Django Is a widely used full stack framework that itself has deep community support. New plugins are released regularly. Django helps to speed up the process of web app development, and the framework interfaces easily with many major web companies.
The other top-tier frameworks are TurboGears and Pyramid. Each has its own advantages and disadvantages. Your development goals will likely determine which, if any, framework is best for you.
Current and Future Trends for Python Development
Now that we've covered some of the reasons for Python's success thus far, let's dive into some of the upcoming hot trends in Python development.
New Frontier: Data Science
Python is such an incredibly versatile programming language that it's already used in creating video games, web apps, and even enterprise business software. But it's showing no signs of stopping there. Many in the data sciences are grappling more and more with the need for custom development to support their ever-growing library of data.
Once again because of its ease of use, Python is poised to become the go-to programming language for data science. There is no shortage of online support for using Python in this way. Check out this example from Berkeley’s data science department.
Huge Growth in Analytics Means Huge Growth in Python
Here’s a non-shocking statement: big data is huge. Not just that, it’s forecast to get even bigger. One estimate pegs the industry to more than double in revenue in the next nine years.
Why is this important? Because everything about big data runs on software, and much of that software is built in Python (once again thanks to the incredibly deep pre-built libraries available in the language). As the industry grows, so does the need for software.
Consolidation Around Python’s Flexible Platform
If the last decade has taught us anything, it has taught us how significant consolidation and ecosystem building can be. Consider how much effort goes into ecosystem building on the consumer tech front.
Apple pretty much turned itself into a trillion dollar company on this principle. It's kind of like a well-known children's book: If you give a consumer an iPhone, he'll want an iPad to go with it. And if you give a consumer an iPad, he'll want a MacBook Air to go with that. And on it goes.
The goal on the consumer front is fairly obvious: get consumers hooked into your ecosystem.
That’s what we see happening with Python, if perhaps indirectly. Companies like Facebook have already built out many products in Python because of its ease of use and flexibility. As Facebook develops new products, building them in Python allows the new programs to more naturally interface with the existing ones.
As time passes and companies replace outdated applications, there is a natural tendency to consolidate to one language. This will lead to further growth for Python.
Continued Community Innovation
Some of the community innovations we have today in the Python ecosystem are incredibly powerful. The frameworks we discussed above are all community-driven, and they continue to evolve, gaining new functionality and greater ease of use.
For example, Pyramid was only released at the end of 2018, and future updates promise to greatly expand functionality. All three of the major frameworks have major update roadmaps planned, too. Think of it this way: if Python is beneficial for you now, imagine how much further it could be in a year or two.
Support for AI Applications and Machine Learning
One of Python’s areas of growth is in the artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning segments. Again, the community is key here. The wide range of available libraries makes Python more powerful than other languages in these emerging areas.
At minimum, Python is a major part of the future of development languages. At most, it’s on the cusp of becoming the single dominant language. Is it time to brush up your skills or evaluate where you should consider transitioning to Python? We’re here to help. Contact us today to get started with a Python consultation.