Python Principles

What can you do with Python?

Python is a general-purpose programming language, which means that you can build essentially anything with it.

You can use Python to automate boring tasks, to build things like websites and games, and to analyze data and solve problems. Python is particularly popular within the fields of system administration and automation, data science, artificial intelligence, and back-end web development.

Below are some examples of things you can build using Python.

See also the Programming Project Ideas blog post for inspiration and things you can build to practice your programming skills.

Automate things

Python is great at automating things. The pyautogui library lets you control the mouse and keyboard of your machine. The selenium framework lets you control a browser from your code. You could automate any task that's tedious or time-consuming. Here are some ideas:

  • collecting data from a website
  • downloading a list of files
  • following people on Twitter
  • sending out emails
  • checking if a website is online
  • logging in to a website
  • monitoring a page for changes

Build websites

A website has a front end and a back end. The front end is what the user sees. The back end has all the logic that runs in the background. Python is great for back-end development. Web frameworks for Python, such as Django and Flask, make Python a very suitable language for this part of web development.

Machine Learning

Python is one of the most used languages in machine learning. In machine learning, the computer learns to accomplish a task by studying examples instead of being given explicit code. You could, for example, write a Python script that learns to classify images (is it a picture of a dog?) and recognize handwriting. You could also analyze whether an Amazon review or Twitter post is positive or negative overall. These are only some of the more basic applications of machine learning. You can get started with Google's TensorFlow framework that lets you easily accomplish complex ML tasks in Python.

Work with data

Python is a powerful tool for cleaning, formatting, and visualizing data. You can easily read in data from a file, build excel sheets, do complex calculations, and display beautiful graphs by using libraries meant for these tasks. Pandas is a popular framework for manipulating data from various sources, such as Excel sheets.

Build games

The PyGame library lets you build visual games in Python. Python is definitely a viable language to build 2D and text-based games. For higher-end 3D graphics, a framework such as Unity is recommended instead.

Scrape the web

Web scraping refers to automatically collecting data from the web. Python is excellent for web scraping, since it has appropriate libraries for it. Your script could, for example, mine data from Twitter, or download content from hundreds of pages of a blog. It could enumerate all products on a website or look for cheap vacations regularly. The requests library lets you download a single webpage, while Selenium lets you control a full browser.

More ideas

If you're looking for ideas for projects you can do, take a look at our project ideas post.

Want to get better at Python?

Try our practical beginner lessons, or test your skills with our challenges.

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