IN THIS CHAPTER
• The Basics of Python
• Object Orientation
• The Standard Library and the Vaults of Parnassus
As PHP has come to dominate the world of web scripting, Python is increasingly dominating the domain of command-line scripting. Python's precise and clean syntax makes it one of the easiest languages to learn, and it allows programmers to code more quickly and spend less time maintaining their code. Although PHP is fundamentally similar to Java and Perl, Python is closer to C and Modula-3, and so it might look unfamiliar at first.
Most of the other languages have a group of developers at their cores, but Python has Guido van Rossumcreator, father, and Benevolent Dictator For Life (BDFL). Although Guido spends less time working on Python now, he still essentially has the right of veto changes to the language, which has enabled it to remain consistent over the many years of its development. The end result is that, in Guido's own words, "Even if you are in fact clueless about language design, you can tell that Python is a very simple language."
The following pages constitute a "quick-start" tutorial to Python designed to give you all the information you need to put together basic scripts and to point you toward resources that can take you further.
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