Python History

Python has a long history. It was first created by the dutchman Guido van Rossum in the late 1980s while working at the dutch CWI, a national research institute for mathematics and computer science in the Netherlands. Since then, he has been actively involved in Python’s development until this day. Let’s dive into some Python history!

Python timeline

The following figure shows a global timeline of Python’s historic releases:

A graphical timeline of Python's history
The history of Python

Python 2 vs Python 3

As you can see from the Python history timeline, Python 2 and 3 have been developed and maintained side by side for a long period. The major reason being that Python 3 code is not entirely backward compatible with Python 2 code. This incompatibility caused a prolonged adoption rate. Many people were happy with version 2 and didn’t see much reason to upgrade. On top of that, Python 3 was, initially, slower than Python 2. As Python 3 kept improving and receiving new features, eventually, it started to take off.

This guide focuses entirely on Python 3 since it is now the default and only supported version. In the real world, you may encounter Python 2 code. I shared some tips on migrating from such code in the chapter Migrating from Python 2 to 3.

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About the author

Erik is the owner of Python Land and the author of many of the articles and tutorials on this website. He's been working as a professional software developer for 25 years, and he holds a Master of Science degree in computer science. His favorite language of choice: Python!

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