A Nest of Pythons

How to run Python programs

Python is a wonderful programming language that has found application in a number of areas, from teaching to science to Web script programs. Many people are unaware of how easy it is to start programming in Python, and how simple it is to get a Python development environment running on their computer. This document attempts to fill in some of those gaps.

  1. Download a package from Python.org.

    You can download and install a full, operational, recent copy of Python for either Windows PC or Mac OSX. Python.org is the main, central site for news about Python and its several versions.

  2. Download a "student" package called JES.

    This package has variations for both Windows PCs and Mac OSX, and has built-in functions for handling graphics and sound processing, but is in some sense not a "full" Python and is crippled in minor ways. This is the package currently used in my CMPSCI 119 class. It is close enough to true Python that many people won't see most of the differences, but the differences are there and must be taken into account.

  3. Log in to the class server (elsrv3.cs.umass.edu) and use Python there.

    Use PuTTY on Windows PCs or ssh from Terminal on Mac to log in to the elsrv3 UNIX server. Once there, use emacs to create and edit Python programs, and run those programs directly on the server. Remember to set UNIX "execute" permission on the files to be able to run them (normal data files will have permissions rw-r--r--, but Python programs must have rwxr-xr-x permissions in order to run).

  4. Use Python on your Mac.

    Use the Terminal application to gain access to the underlying UNIX operating system on the Mac. Once there, use the built-in emacs and Python on the Mac to run programs locally. Type "python" at the command line to bring up a traditional, if a bit old, Python environment.

Copyright © 2013 Dr. William T. Verts - All Rights Reserved