Python simplified

3. Python


What is Python?

Python is a software language used for developing software πŸ™‚ . It is known for being used by many big players like Facebook, Wikipedia etc. It has plenty of support on all the major platforms. And it is very interesting, to say the least πŸ™‚ .

Why Python?

It has many features that makes it likeable, and preferred over other conventional languages. Some of them are:

  • readable
  • simple, lesser lines of code
  • dynamic type checking
  • object oriented
  • lists, dictionaries
  • automatic memory management

How do I start?

Simple, read about it, practice it and write your programs πŸ™‚ . And if you are a software enthusiast, think of a problem and create a solution for it in python πŸ™‚ . W’ll talk about it later..

Some Basics to begin with

  • Indentation: python uses whitespace for defining the block of code. It doesn’t use curly braces or any such other brackets. Same number of white spaces defines a block.
  • Comments: To provide information, comments are used in any programming language. Python uses ‘#’ to define the start of a comment.
  • print : print function is used to print messages. It is very useful to understand the working of our code, and is used extensively to find problems.
  • Writing code in file: Lines of python code can be written together in a file, and saved with the extension of ‘.py’ .
  • Executing Environment: Open a terminal window ( can be a Mac or Linux machine). Type python and press the ‘enter’ key.

$ python

Python 2.7.10 (default, Jul 30 2016, 18:31:42)

[GCC 4.2.1 Compatible Apple LLVM 8.0.0 (clang-800.0.34)] on darwin

Type “help”, “copyright”, “credits” or “license” for more information.


  • Data types: number (int, float), string, list( like arrays in C, [1,2,3…] ), directories (like hashes, key-value pairs ), touples( (1,2,3..))
  • operators: +, -, *, /, %, **, ==, !=, , =, …

Brain of Python, How to decide what to do

Most of the programs that we write need to make some decisions, that’s why I call it the brain part πŸ™‚ . Decisions are made by using statements like many other languages, some of which are:

  • If statements
  • If,else statements
  • while
  • for

All these statements, when used with correct logic in the code, help in making the right decision about the action to be taken.

And Now, some simple coding…

Open a terminal window.  Create a directory where you would want to stash your precious code πŸ™‚ .

$ mkdir mypython

$ cd mypython

Open a text editor, my favourite is vi. Its simple to use, and almost all Operating Systems have it. You would need to familiarise yourself with vi commands.

$ vi

Eg 1. Compute and print 

Write the following lines of code in the file .

This code computes the result of 20*10 and prints it on the command line.



print “value of i is: “,i

Save the file, give it executable permissions.

$ chmod +x

Execute the code on command line

$ ./

If all is well with the code with no errors, we are going to get the following output:

$ value of i is:  200

So you see, its as simple as this πŸ™‚ .

Eg 2. Taking input from user


name=raw_input(‘what is your name?n’)

print “hello “,name

When the above lines are saved in a .py file and run, the output is:

$ ./

what is your name?


hello  pooja

Eg 3. Using a system function to print date

Write the following code in an executable .py file


import datetime

today =

print today

Datetime is a module, that provides date related functions. Python provides many modules for different functionalities.

Execute the above code, and the output will be

$ ./


Eg 4. Using ‘if’ to make a decision

‘if’ condition is used to make a correct decision. It is usually implemented in ‘if, elif, else’ format. Best understood with example πŸ™‚ .

Write the following code in . It tests if the user is Anna or James. Otherwise, it prints Invalid user.




user=raw_input(‘what is your name n’)

if user==girl:

        print “hello Anna”

elif user==boy:

        print “hello James”


        print “Invalid user”

Run the code as in other examples above:


what is your name


hello Anna

$ ./

what is your name


Invalid user

Eg 5. ‘for’ loop

When we need to perform an action multiple times, we can use a ‘for’ loop.

Open and write the following code in it:




for j in digits:


        print result

print “sum is: “,result

As is evident from the code, the ‘for’ loop adds all the elements in the list ‘digit’ and prints the sum.

Eg 6. while loops

As with ‘for’ loop, while loops are also used to repeatedly execute some code. The loop is executed till the condition defined is ‘true’.

Example πŸ™‚ .


#here is the while loop


while i < 4:

        print “value of i is “,i


print “finally out of while loop “

Run the code, and get the output:

$ ./

value of i is  0

value of i is  1

value of i is  2

value of i is  3

finally out of while loop

Eg 7. functions, defining code blocks

functions are like a block of code. They are used when you want to repeat some code in multiple places, or just to make the code more readable. Once you define the function, they can be called multiple times, maybe in multiple places.

As always, here is the example πŸ™‚ .

Write the following in


#defining the function

def printmyname(str):

        print “hello dear “,str

#calling the function


And, now run this code.

$ ./

And we get the following output

$ hello dear pooja

Eg 8. Dictionaries for storing data

In any programming language, we use variables, arrays etc to store values. These values are needed for computation by the software program. Dictionaries do the same in Python. But they are very cool πŸ™‚ .

Every value stored in dictionary dict  has a reference associated with it. The reference can then be used later to access the actual value stored. Wow, so it has gone over your head πŸ˜› .

Let’s use an example.

Suppose you want to store information about yourself. Define a dict mySelf

mySelf= {‘Name’:’Pooja’, ‘Country’:’India’, ‘Age’:16}

You can then access the value of each entry as:

mySelf[‘Name’] will return Pooja.

mySelf[‘Country’] will return India.

And mySelf[‘Age’] will return 16.

Here is the code to print the above information:


#define dict mySelf

mySelf= {‘Name’:’Pooja’, ‘Country’:’India’, ‘Age’:16}

#You can then access the value of each entry as:

print “my Name is: “,mySelf[‘Name’]

print “I am from: “,mySelf[‘Country’]

print “I am “,mySelf[‘Age’],”years old”

And the out is:

$ ./

my Name is:  Pooja

I am from:  India

I am  16 years old

Pretty awesome right  πŸ™‚ .

Sample Code to extract data from a website 

This is a very interesting program πŸ™‚ . Here, our aim is to target a website, get all of its content( called the HTML data). We then extract the information that we need from it.

We use two libraries for this, ‘urllib2’, and BeautifulSoup (module that manipulates the HTML data, to help us get what we want ) .




# copyright Beingpoojatech

# code to get info from a website



import urllib2

poojazLink = “;

#get the content of  the website

poojazPage = urllib2.urlopen(poojazLink)

from bs4 import BeautifulSoup

#Get the html in the ‘poojazPage’ 

pageData = BeautifulSoup(poojazPage,”html.parser”)

#print the ‘<title>’ tag content of the HTML data

print pageData.title


#get all elements in tag ‘a’, and then get value of attribute ‘href’ i.e, the urls


for singleLink in pageAllLinks:

        print singleLink.get(“href”)

The output for the above code will be:

<title>Pooja’s Tech Central – understanding technology better</title>





 Happy coding ☺️

Here is my blog on C programming , brushing up C .

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