5 Reasons to Try Python for Your IBM i

The popularity of Python has spiked over the last couple years according to the Tiobe Index (a measurement of programming language popularity https://www.tiobe.com/tiobe-index/).

Looking to get started with Open Source languages on the IBM i? You might want to start by checking out Python. Because of its simplicity and power, Python is one of the most popular languages in the open source world and it has already been adopted by a wide variety of IBM i users. With the delivery of the package managers for IBM i, you can now quickly and easily download the latest open source versions of Python to run on your IBM i. Below are some of the reasons to check out Python and some instructions to get started.

Reasons to get started with Python:

Popularity/Ease of Finding Staff

The popularity of a language is important for a couple of reasons. Since popularity reflects the number of developers using a language, it will be much easier to find staff skilled in a popular language. There are millions of Python developers around the world (and lots of jobs for developers who know Python). Those developers can help you rapidly enhance your applications. And there is another, possibly even more valuable advantage. Which brings us to the second advantage of Python…

Build Applications Fast from a Huge Library of Prebuilt Components

When you combine the popularity of Python with the Open Source philosophy of building code to share, you get a vast set of useful functions that are built, tested and available. The ability to assemble applications from these existing components dramatically increases programmer productivity. Need to get weather information? There is a Python component for that. Do you want to add a map component to your application? There is a Python component for that. Connect to Watson or other machine learning systems? Done. Do you need to move files and/or data to Amazon’s S3? Need SSO? OAUTH? Ditto. Simply go to: https://pypi.org/ and you will find an almost unlimited variety of code you can use.

Easy to Learn and Read English-Like Syntax

Python is designed to be easy to understand – even for a programmer who is unfamiliar with it. For example, if I want to create an array, read a series of values into it and then display each of the values, here is the Python code:

dansarray = [“Daniel”, “Magid”, “Eradani”, 2020]

for i in dansarray:

         print (i)

That’s it! Notice there is no need for variable declarations. Python is a dynamically typed language. It figures out types from the assignment statement. Python is also “whitespace aware”. That means it uses the indentation to make code more readable. Code blocks are separated by indentation rather than by characters like curly braces. This makes the code even simpler to understand.

Data Analytics/Machine Learning

Python is the most popular language for Data Analytics and Machine Learning. Data Scientists like it because it is so easy to learn and light weight. They also like that it is a flexible, general purpose language that supports object oriented, structured and functional programming architectures. Because of its popularity, there are a large number of prebuilt data analytics tools written in Python. Check out Pandas at https://pandas.pydata.org/getpandas.html.

Easy Connection to the IBM i

Eradani has made it easy to connect Python applications to the IBM i via Eradani Connect. With Eradani Connect, you can use standard Python calls and Eradani Connect will translate those calls into IBM i program calls, ODBC access to the data base, procedure calls, CL command calls, etc. It will then translate the returned results into objects that are easily consumed by the calling Python programs.

If you want to get started with Python and need help, Eradani experts are available. Let up know how we can help.


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