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Learning Python, 2nd Edition by David Ascher, Mark Lutz

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Chapter 3. How You Run Programs

Okay, it's time to start running some code. Now that you have a handle on program execution, you're finally ready to start some real Python programming. At this point, we'll assume that you have Python installed on your computer; if not, see Appendix A for installation and configuration hints.

There are a variety of ways to tell Python to execute the code you type. This chapter discusses all the program launching techniques in common use today. Along the way, you'll learn both how to type code interactively, and save it in files to be run with command lines, Unix tricks, icon clicks, IDEs, imports, and more.

If you just want to find out how to run a Python program quickly, you may be tempted to just read the parts that pertain to your platform and move on to Chapter 4. But don't skip the material on module imports, since that's essential to understanding Python's architecture. And we encourage you to at least skim the sections on IDLE and other IDEs, so you know what tools are available once you start developing more sophisticated Python programs.

Interactive Coding

Perhaps the simplest way to run Python programs is to type them at Python's interactive command line. There are a variety of ways to start this command line—in an IDE, from a system console, and so on. Assuming the interpreter is installed as an executable program on your system, the most platform-neutral way to start an interactive interpreter session is usually to type just "python" at ...

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