Getting Interactive

We will be using the interactive interpreter for this chapter, so it is essential that you are comfortable using it. To get started, open a terminal and run the command python. You should see this:

[[email protected] ~]$ python

Python 2.4.3 (#2, Apr 27 2006, 14:43:58) [GCC 4.0.3 (Ubuntu 4.0.3-1ubuntu5)] on linux2

Type "help", "copyright", "credits" or "license" for more information.

The >>> is where you type your input, and you can set and get a variable like this:

'great'

On line one, the variable python is set to the text great, and on line two that value is read back from the variable simply by typing the name of the variable you want to read. Line three shows Python printing the variable; on line four you are back at the prompt to type more commands. Python remembers all the variables you use while in the interactive interpreter, which means you can set a variable to be the value of another variable.

When you are done, press Ctrl+D to exit. At this point, all your variables and commands are forgotten by the interpreter, which is why complex Python programs are always saved in scripts!

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