A common question about Python that I hear from newer developers: “Is Python platform-independent?”
Python is one of the most popular and amazing programming languages in the world. I have been programming with Python for a few years now, and it’s my favorite language. Let’s take a minute to learn a little more about Python and see whether it is platform-independent.
Is Python Platform-Independent?
Python is a binary platform-independent programming language. The same Python code can run on virtually all operating systems and platforms. However, some precautions must be taken when programming with Python, such as minding case-sensitivity and avoiding certain modules, in order to avoid compatibility issues.
Introduction To Python
Python is a general-purpose programming language that is extremely popular these days. The advent of data science has skyrocketed its usage.
Companies and organizations worldwide use this language to extract data and insights from their company to make informed business decisions and gain a competitive edge. It helps in determining the impact of new business decisions and the effect of business policies.
Python was developed in 1989 by Guido van Rossum as a simple and easily understood language. It has many advantages, such as:
- Readability: Python is one of the most readable languages in the market due to its simple syntax.
- Ease in Learning: Python is a very high-level language that is very similar to the English language. This makes it easy to understand and learn.
- Open Source Behaviour: Python is an open-source language.
- Extensive Library: Python comes packed with a large library having many codes and functions that we can use whenever needed.
- Free: Python is free to download and use. You can freely distribute copies, read the source code behind it and modify it.
- Exception Handling: Python provides complete support for exception handling. An exception is an event that can occur during the execution of a program and disrupt its performance. Support for exception handling makes the program less prone to errors.
- Memory Management: Python provides automatic management for memory. You need not worry about clearing the memory after usage.
Many people ask whether Python is platform-independent or not. Let us discuss this further by looking into what is meant by platform independence.
Platform independence describes a technology that can be implemented on one machine and used on another without any changes. Older languages did not provide this luxury. However, newer languages offer support for this feature.
There are two types of platform independence: binary and source.
Binary Platform Independence
Languages that use a virtual machine to run and can be transported to one device from another in their compiled, binary format are known as binary platform-independent.
Some examples of such languages are Java or Python.
Source Platform Independence
Source platform-independent language requires little to no change in their source code when running on various platforms. However, the source code will need to be recompiled from each platform.
When programming with source platform-independent languages, it’s important to comply with ANSI standards. This ensures your program can be compiled and run on all platforms.
Verdict on Python’s Platform Independence
Python is indeed a binary platform-independent language. However, certain precautions should be taken in order to ensure compatibility across various platforms. A few such precautions are:
- Filenames are case sensitive on many Operating Systems
- On Linux, we have the ‘root’ whereas on Windows we have the ‘Administrator’.
- File Permissions vary on Linux and Windows.
- For a visual experience, it’s better to use wxWindows on Windows and Gnome on Linux.
- Double-check the 32 bit or 64-bit compatibility issues.
- Some modules are specific to individual Operating systems. Make sure to read the documentation beforehand.
These are just necessary precautionary measures that you can always adopt to get a seamless cross-platform experience.
Python is a platform-independent language. It has cross-platform usability. There are some caveats which if taken care of, can lead to a complete platform independence experience.
If you want to learn how to program with Python, check out these 15 fun Python projects for beginners. There is a full video tutorial that walks you through each project, step-by-step. And it’s absolutely FREE!