Let’s start with Python

We're finally here!

But first, let us tell you what Python is. Python is a very popular programming language that can be used for creating websites, games, scientific software, graphics, and much, much more.

Python originated in the late 1980s and its main goal is to be readable by human beings (not only machines!). This is why it looks much simpler than other programming languages. This makes it easy to learn, but don't worry – Python is also really powerful!

Python installation

Note If you're using a Chromebook, skip this chapter and make sure you follow the Chromebook Setup instructions.

Note If you already worked through the Installation steps, there's no need to do this again – you can skip straight ahead to the next chapter!

For readers at home: this chapter is covered in the Installing Python & Code Editor video.

This section is based on a tutorial by Geek Girls Carrots (https://github.com/ggcarrots/django-carrots)

Django is written in Python. We need Python to do anything in Django. Let's start by installing it! We want you to install Python 3.6, so if you have any earlier version, you will need to upgrade it.

Install Python: Windows

First check whether your computer is running a 32-bit version or a 64-bit version of Windows, by pressing the Windows key + Pause/Break key which will open your System info, and look at the "System type" line. You can download Python for Windows from the website https://www.python.org/downloads/windows/. Click on the "Latest Python 3 Release - Python x.x.x" link. If your computer is running a 64-bit version of Windows, download the Windows x86-64 executable installer. Otherwise, download the Windows x86 executable installer. After downloading the installer, you should run it (double-click on it) and follow the instructions there.

One thing to watch out for: During the installation you will notice a window marked "Setup". Make sure you tick the "Add Python 3.6 to PATH" checkbox and click on "Install Now", as shown here:

Don't forget to add Python to the Path

In upcoming steps, you'll be using the Windows Command Line (which we'll also tell you about). For now, if you need to type in some commands, go to Start menu → Windows System → Command Prompt. You can also hold in the Windows key and press the "R"-key until the "Run" window pops up. To open the Command Line, type "cmd" and press enter in the "Run" window. (On newer versions of Windows, you might have to search for "Command Prompt" since it's sometimes hidden.)

Type "cmd" in the "Run" window

Note: if you are using an older version of Windows (7, Vista, or any older version) and the Python 3.6.x installer fails with an error, you can try either:

  1. install all Windows Updates and try to install Python 3.6 again; or
  2. install an older version of Python, e.g., 3.4.6.

If you install an older version of Python, the installation screen may look a bit different than shown above. Make sure you scroll down to see "Add python.exe to Path", then click the button on the left and pick "Will be installed on local hard drive":

Add Python to the Path, older versions

Install Python: OS X

Note Before you install Python on OS X, you should ensure your Mac settings allow installing packages that aren't from the App Store. Go to System Preferences (it's in the Applications folder), click "Security & Privacy," and then the "General" tab. If your "Allow apps downloaded from:" is set to "Mac App Store," change it to "Mac App Store and identified developers."

You need to go to the website https://www.python.org/downloads/release/python-361/ and download the Python installer:

  • Download the Mac OS X 64-bit/32-bit installer file,
  • Double click python-3.6.1-macosx10.6.pkg to run the installer.
Install Python: Linux

It is very likely that you already have Python installed out of the box. To check if you have it installed (and which version it is), open a console and type the following command:

command-line

$ python3 --version
Python 3.6.1

If you have a different 'micro version' of Python installed, e.g. 3.6.0, then you don't have to upgrade. If you don't have Python installed, or if you want a different version, you can install it as follows:

Install Python: Debian or Ubuntu

Type this command into your console:

command-line

$ sudo apt-get install python3.6
Install Python: Fedora

Use this command in your console:

command-line

$ sudo dnf install python3

If you're on older Fedora versions you might get an error that the command dnf is not found. In that case you need to use yum instead.

Install Python: openSUSE

Use this command in your console:

command-line

$ sudo zypper install python3

Verify the installation was successful by opening a command prompt and running the python3 command:

command-line

$ python3 --version
Python 3.6.1

NOTE: If you're on Windows and you get an error message that python3 wasn't found, try using python (without the 3) and check if it still might be a version of Python 3.6.


If you have any doubts, or if something went wrong and you have no idea what to do next, please ask your coach! Sometimes things don't go smoothly and it's better to ask for help from someone with more experience.

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