Python

From Beginner to Advanced: Python Libraries with Projects

The best way to up your Python skills is to create projects that can be used in a professional setting.

From Beginner to Advanced: Python Libraries with Projects

Python Libraries for Faster Development

The best way to up your Python skills is to create projects that can be used in a professional setting.  The easiest way to accomplish this goal is to develop applications that interest you while still building on foundational concepts.  If you plan to build any scalable applications, Python libraries are a necessary part of coding.  By using Python libraries, you will be able to create projects that can be added to your portfolio and used for future career endeavors.

Anyone who’s ever had a deadline knows that, at some point, you have to work smarter not harder.  Instead of reinventing the wheel, developers use Python libraries to reach their programming goals sooner.  Python libraries save you time by generally including most of the functionality needed to accomplish a specific task.  If you want to start incorporating more features and improving your Python skills by creating a variety of projects, this article is for you.

A Python Library

First things first:  What is a Python library? In its most basic form, the library is a collection of Python files written by other developers.  These files are then packaged in such a way that other developers can use them for consumption.

The Standard Library

If you’ve written any simple Python application before, more than likely, you’ve already been using the Standard library without knowing it.  The Python Standard library (link:  https://docs.python.org/3/library)  is included with your Python installation and provides modules for everyday programming.  These modules include object data types, reading/writing different file types, date/time conversions, and other helpful functions that assist with writing Python code quicker.

Where can you find Python libraries?

The official website for Python packages can be found at PyPi (link: https://pypi.org).  PyPi is a repository of thousands of libraries developed by individuals and companies.  Most major libraries can be found on the PyPi website which provides information on requirements and on how to get started.

Tkinter

Tkinter is the standard toolkit for creating graphical user interface (GUI).  A GUI is a visual display that allows users to have a more pleasant experience when interacting with computers and data.  Tkinter is one of the more popular python GUI libraries mainly because it is fairly easy to use and is automatically included when Python is installed.  With Tkinter, you can create popup windows, display labels, buttons, messages, menu widgets, text entry, and more.

Here a few project ideas to get you started:

·      Random number generator - A user clicks a button, and a random number is displayed

·      Simple text editor - Opens and displays existing files or creates new files

·      Conversion calculator - Convert the most popular units of measure

·      Memorization game - Each button displays a color in a particular order, and the user must repeat the pattern.  The level of difficulty can increase with each level.

·      Calendar Planner - Enter event details and have them display in a calendar view

Requests

The Requests library is exactly what you think.  It allows you to make HTTP requests to other applications.  For example, if you visit a certain website every day to gather basic information, you can automate this task with Python by using the Requests library.  Requests is one of the most downloaded libraries and with good reason.  It provides functionality to make HTTP calls, create sessions, store cookies, authenticate users, stream downloads, and much more.

Project Ideas:

·      Daily news digest - Gather articles from your favorite news websites and consolidate it into a newsletter.

·      Data Dashboard - Request data from a public API to produce your own data insights

·      Common Word Calculator - Run searches on popular websites and count the most commonly used terms

BeautifulSoup

The BeautifulSoup library goes hand in hand with Requests.  It parses HTML data using Python syntax.  You can easily extract information on a large HTML document by searching element names.  This process is also known as web scraping. While some sites have no restrictions, other websites might.  Just make sure that you are not extracting large sets of data that go against their terms of service.  Because these projects are for educational purposes only, you should be able to develop projects with no issues.

Project Ideas:

·      Sales Tracker - Create a list of your favorite items currently on sale

·      Bitcoin Tracker - Gather the price of bitcoin over time and create an alert when the price drops

·      Common Comments - Gather daily comments on a popular video and analyze the major themes/terms

Matplotlib

Matplotlib is a great tool for creating data driven visualizations.  You can create common data charts like histograms, pie charts, bar charts, and line graphs.  Or you can delve into more advanced topics such as 3D plotting.

Project Ideas:

·      Python Library - Create a dashboard of Python library searches overtime

·      Number Guessing Plot – Ask users to guess a random number and graph their responses.  Is it really random?  Hmmm…

·      News Tracker - Track the mention of a specific topic over time in popular news outlets or by using a public API

·      Popularity Tracker - Create a dashboard of most popular names among different websites

Flask

A web framework that provides functionality to build web applications.  With Flask, you can build cross-platform web applications that serve dynamic content.  In simpler terms, you can deliver varying user experiences on any platform.  Flask has capabilities to handle such tasks as rendering HTML templates, routing for API design, and thread management.

Project Ideas:

·      REST API - Develop an API that delivers content about your favorite topic

·      Static Website - Create a website on an informational topic or a portfolio

·      Stock Market App - Display updates of popular stocks

You’ve probably noticed that all of these libraries can be used together to create a very robust application.  The great thing about using these tools is that they are popular among large companies like AirBnB, Netflix, Lyft, and Patreon.  All of the libraries have documentation and plenty of tutorials to help you get started.  This list is to kickstart your progress in creating more advanced projects.  As you continue on your journey of learning Python, you’ll acquire knowledge about UI design, web technology, database management, and much more.

Mariah James

The best way to up your Python skills is to create projects that can be used in a professional setting.

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