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Find resources relating to the popular open-source programming language Python.

Accessing Python

Programming languages work by telling your computer to perform specific tasks. Python is a highly human-readable programming language and it requires software to “translate” commands so that they can be understood and carried out by a computer (making them machine-readable, or machine code). For Python, this “translation” software is called an interpreter.

Interpreters and Integrated Development Environment (IDE) Software:

  • Python's official, up-to-date distribution (including interpreter) is available for free download from the Python website.
  • Anaconda is a distribution of the Python and R programming languages for scientific computing, that aims to simplify package management and deployment (more info at the Anaconda Guide).
  • Jupyter notebook is a web-based interactive computational environment for creating notebook documents.
  • PyCharm is a Python IDE for data science and web development with intelligent code completion (more info at the PyCharm Guide).
  • Visual Studio Code (VS Code) is a free and open-source IDE created by Microsoft that can be used for Python development (more info at the VS Code Guide).

Web-Based Python Interpreters:
If you are unable to install or access Python on your computer’s operating system, use web-based Python interpreters for many basic operations instead.

  • Google Colaboratory or “Colab” is a free service that allows anyone with a Google account to write, test, execute, and share Python code, including Jupyter notebooks, in their browser without any installation or setup (more info about Google Colab and an Introduction video).
  • Python Anywhere provides a free environment to create and deploy Python programs in the cloud without installation or setup, and also provides hosting for Python websites and applications (more about Python Anywhere).
  • Replit offers a free, browser-based IDE for over 50 programming languages, including Python. It is integrable with GitHub and provides templates for common applications (more info at the Replit Documentation).

Code Editors:

  • Sublime Text is a popular code editor that supports many languages including Python (more info at Sublime Text Guide).
  • Atom is an open-source code editor developed by Github that can be used for Python development (more info at Atom Guide).

Python Packages

Python's capabilities are extended to meet the needs of myriad users with third-party supplemental modules, libraries, packages, and frameworks. Some examples:

Getting Started with Python

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What is Python?

Python is a popular general-purpose, object-oriented, open-source programming language. It has numerous applications across a number of fields, and is commonly used for web development, scientific computing, statistics and data science, software development, education, and business. It can also be a powerful tool to facilitate scholarship in the humanities and social sciences.

Python is often described as relatively easy to learn, particularly for people who do not have any prior experience with programming languages. Many resources are available to help you get started, practice your skills, figure out solutions to any problems you encounter, and find help and guidance when you need it.

First Steps for Absolute Beginners

Penn Libraries x Dataquest

Penn Libraries has negotiated a campus-wide premium license for Dataquest, the scaffolded online learning platform with a full catalog of interactive coursesskill paths such as data visualization, machine learning, and data scraping and career paths using Python, R, PowerBI, and Tableau. You learn by doing, completing exercises and getting immediate feedback directly in the browser. To activate your premium account, please complete the form below.


Resources for Learning Python

Online Resources and E-Books

Find more recent Python resources and publications in Franklin.

Python News

Statistical Software Assistance at the Library

Appointments are available with our statistics software consultant for R, Stata, SPSS, and Python.  Make an appointment via the Penn Libraries Technology Consultation Appointment page : select "Stata, R and Other Statistical Software" for available appointments.

Python Workshops and Events at Penn Libraries

Interested in learning more about Python? Check out our upcoming workshops and events!

Public Digital Scholarship Librarian

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Cynthia Heider
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(215) 898-7555