Getting Familiar with Python basics

Hello, I hope you successfully installed python if not you can do that with little help here. In this article, we are going to get familiar with python and look at the following:

  • Variables
  • Types ( int, String, Boolean, float)
  • Using  text editors eg vscode, sublime text
  • How to run python files

Let us get started, fire up your terminal or CMD if you are on windows( search CMD on windows and Terminal on Linux and mac). Type python and enter. You should see the following.


python basics

You can now write some python code here. Let’s try adding 1 to 1.

symons@symons-macbookair:~$ python
Python 2.7.17 (default, Nov  7 2019, 10:07:09) 
[GCC 7.4.0] on linux2
Type "help", "copyright", "credits" or "license" for more information.
>>> 1+1

As you can see the result is 2. Our python is working!


Variables are memory name we use to hold data that can be manipulated later. For example, you want to store 30, 40 and their sum. We can store them in 3 memories num1, num2 and ans.

In python, you don’t declare variable instead you just assign a value to it. eg num1 = 30 .  Let’s create three variables and assign them the values above

symons@symons-macbookair:~$ python
Python 2.7.17 (default, Nov  7 2019, 10:07:09) 
[GCC 7.4.0] on linux2
Type "help", "copyright", "credits" or "license" for more information.
>>> 1+1
>>> num1 = 30
>>> num2 = 40
>>> ans = num1 + num2
>>> ans

As you can see the value of ans is 70 which is the sum.  We can also alter the values of variables, for example, lets change value of num1 to 50

>>> num1
>>> num1 = 50
>>> num1
>>> ans = num1 + num2
>>> ans

Hope you got the concept of variables,


Every value in Python has a datatype, most frequently used are Numbers, List, Tuple, Strings, Dictionary. We will look at each of these in the next posts but let’s look briefly on Strings 


Strings are surrounded  either single quotation marks or double quotation marks. “simon” is the same as ‘simon’

Assigning strings to a variable is similar to int but we surround the value with quotes.

>>> name = 'simons'
>>> name

We use the + operator to concatenate, or combine, two strings.

>>> fname = 'simon'
>>> sirname = 'ombori'
>>> full_name = fname + sirname
>>> full_name

We will learn more about strings after looking at methods.

You must have been asking yourself if we will be coding on Terminal forever, no we will use a text editor or IDE that makes our work easier and allows for multiple lines.  You can download any of your choices, Personally I’m using visual studio code.

Let’s see how we can run python files

    • Create a folder called the practice
    • Open the folder with your text editor
  • python editor
    • create a file inside that folder and name it
    • have something inside test.pyname = 'simons'print (name)
  • Save and open terminal cd into the new folder where the is.
    symons@symons-macbookair:~/Desktop/practice$ python

And that is how you run python files.

bye and see you soon.


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