[Tutor] How can we learn to use Python

Alan Gauld alan.gauld at yahoo.co.uk
Wed Jan 18 05:15:48 EST 2017

On 18/01/17 02:36, Laura Meldrum wrote:
> www.sololearn.com/Play/Python/hoc says to "download the Python 3.x version 
> that is compatible with your operating system"

So the first question is - what is your operating system?
Assuming it is a version of Windows then you next need to
find out whether it is 32bit or 64bit.

Prior to version 8 you can do that via the MyComputer
icon and right-clicking to get the properties dialog.
On windows 8 upwards you go to Settings->System->About.
Listed in the details will be a note about whether
it is 32bit or 64 bit.

Now you can go to the python.org web site and navigate
to the Python 3.6 Windows Download section


where you should find options like:

Windows x86-64 executable installer

for 64 bit PCs and

Windows x86 executable installer

for 32 bit PCs.

Download whichever is appropriate.

You might want to also download the Windows Help File
since that will integrate better with your OS
and save you visiting the Python web site as often,
but it's not an essential item.

Finally, there is an alternative download site
that I usually recommend for Windows programmers
called Activestate.com and its Python package has
some extra tools and features specifically for
Windows programmers, but if you are complete
programming beginners you probably don't need
those yet.

> And, What if some students have MACs? 

Macs have Python installed by defauilt so they can
just open a Terminal window and type python at the
prompt. This version is fine for learning the basics.
BUT it is an older version of Python so you are
probably better installing the latest version...

On the same download page there is an option:

Mac OS X 64-bit/32-bit installer

BUT, there are a few issues for Mac users especially
if you plan on using the IDLE development environment.
In that case I recommend going to the activestate.com
web site and downloading their free community editions
of Activepython and ActiveTcl for Mac. That should
avoid any of the issues.

Alan G
Author of the Learn to Program web site
Follow my photo-blog on Flickr at:

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