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Revision as of 23:24, 24 February 2013 by Shane (talk | contribs) (categorizing)
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Python is an interpreted language with familiar syntax. It's a great language to use for parsing text files and rapid application development. Rather than the time-consuming write-compile-test-rewrite-recompile-retest-etc. cycle of languages like C and C++, Python scripts run through an interpreter. This eliminates the compile step and speeds up the development process.

Getting Started

Installing Python

yum install python

should do the trick. Make sure that python is in your path with

which python

and modify your path if necessary.

Installing Pydev (Optional)

If, like me you're an IDE junkie then you may wish to install the eclipse pydev plugin (though it can be a little annoying when Installing Python Modules.

The Pydev installation guide is available here.

Using Python

Python programs can be run in several ways. Two of the most common ways are through the python shell and in .py files. To enter the python shell, simply type


into your shell. Interactive mode should start up, and you can type commands to be directly executed. You can exit interactive mode with ctrl+d or with


To run a .py file, simply use:

python <filename> <args>


Since the online documentation for Python is quite extensive and helpful, the online Python tutorial is definitely the place for any and all of your Python-related needs. Be sure to read the data structures page to understand how they work in Python.

Installing Python Modules

Most likely the module will be distributed according to the python standard described here, so you can simply unpack the archive, cd into the resulting directory, and execute the following commands:

python build
python install

Note: you may have to execute the command using sudo depending on the permissions of the directories involved.

Though there are yum packages available for installing many python modules, it is recommended that you use the above method if you are using eclipse with pydev, otherwise eclipse does not recognize that the module is installed, and you will simply have to ignore the unresolved import error and make due without autocomplete for that module. It's not ideal, but sometimes that's how it goes.