OJ Develops

Thoughts on software development. .NET | C# | Azure

Getting Started with Python

02 November 2020

I usually talk about .NET topics, but today I want to talk about Python. Big shout out to my partner, who is a Python developer, for inspiring me to write about Python.

Python Summary

For the .NET people out there, here is a quick summary of the Python programming language:

  • Concise and readable syntax, suitable for programmers of all levels
  • Dynamically typed and interpreted, ideal for rapid application development and prototyping
  • Consistenly rated as one of the most popular programming languages in the TIOBE Index and StackOverflow survey
  • Widely used for web and data science applications

To install Python, go to https://www.python.org/downloads/ and download the version you want. I would recommend getting the 3+ version. I am using version 3.9.0 for this post.

During installation, it might ask you if you want to add Python to the PATH. I would recommend checking this option so that you can run Python from any location in your command prompt or terminal.

Python Hello World

Python code live in .py files, much like how C# code live in .cs files. But to try Python out, we don’t actually need something saved in a file.

To try it out, type python in your command prompt or terminal. When you press Enter, you should see the ‘»>’ prompt, which is the Python REPL. You’ll also see some info about Python and your environment and some helpful commands:

Python 3.9.0 (tags/v3.9.0:9cf6752, Oct  5 2020, 15:34:40) [MSC v.1927 64 bit (AMD64)] on win32
Type "help", "copyright", "credits" or "license" for more information.

On the »> REPL, you can type Python code already. For example, type print('Hello, world!') to print to the console:

>>> print('Hello, world!')
Hello, world!

To exit, just type Ctrl+Z and press Enter.

Python Hello World Using a File

The Python REPL is a great way to try out Python features and play with the language. But for real projects, it would be ideal to put the code into files.

Create a file named helloworld.py, with the following contents:

print('Hello, world!')

This is the exact same content we tried out in the prompt.

Back in the prompt, type the following to run the program:

python helloworld.py

You should see the exact same output as we saw in the terminal.

Comparision with C#/.NET

This is only a small example, but already we can see some differences between C#/.NET and Python.

The difference that stands out to me the most is that because Python is an interpreted language, there is no compile step. In C#, there is a compile step which results in the creation of the bin folder and the resulting .exe or .dll file. In Python, there are no such artifacts.

There’s also less ceremony in creating a simple program in Python. In .NET land, the simplest console app requires a lot of fluff to be present: using statements and declarations of the namespace, class, and Main method. Those stuff could be intimidating for someone who’s a complete beginner to programming. Note though that that’s changing in .NET 5.


Getting started with Python is very easy. You just install it and it’s ready to use with your command prompt and/or your favorite text editor. Check out https://www.python.org/ for more information about Python.