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File Format
Name Python
Extension(s) .py, .pyc, .pyo, .pyd, .whl
PRONOM fmt/938, fmt/939, fmt/1118, others
Kaitai Struct Spec python_pyc_27.ksy
Released 1991

Python is a programming language.

It is one of the possibilities for the P in LAMP (a set of technologies used in many web back-ends, including Linux, Apache, and MySQL, notable for being free, open-source software in contrast to proprietary technologies such as those from Microsoft) along with Perl and PHP.

Media reports of python-linked deaths have nothing to do with the safety of this language, honest! Actually, the name of the language was inspired by Monty Python, not any actual reptile (or even fictional ones).

A notable feature of Python is its use of whitespace as a syntactically-significant part of its structure; the level of indenting of code blocks actually determines its place structurally, in contrast to most other languages which use explicit items such as curly braces or keywords such as Pascal's begin and end (though in those languages it is still customary to indent code blocks for readability). Other novel features of Python include native support of complex arithmetic (involving both real and imaginary numbers and sums of them).

The easy learnability of the language is enhanced by the fact that it has a command-line interpreter which lets you type commands from a prompt in immediate mode, much like the old-time BASIC interpreters on which so many people first learned to program back in the days of the Apple II and Commodore 64. However, any program of significant length is likely to be created in a text editor and saved in files.

Python is often affiliated with reStructuredText documents. Python comments are often formatted with reStructuredText markup.

Versions 2 and 3 of Python (with various sub-versions of each) are both in wide use, with version 2 still usually being the default version included in Linux/Unix distributions, but version 3 gaining popularity; there are a number of minor syntax differences between the two.

O'Reilly's technical books are famous for having animals on their covers. Their book, Programming Python, has a snake on the cover, logically enough. However, other Python-related books from this publisher have different animals, and, in particular, the introductory book Learning Python has a rodent. Pythons eat rodents, so is this trying to imply that the Python community will eat newbies whole?


File extensions

Python has a number of file endings associated with it, including .py, .pyc, .pyo, and .pyd. When people have desired a MIME type for Python code, they run into the fact that no standard has been established, and even the nonstandard types don't seem to have reached any degree of consistency; people have tried text/python, text/python3, application/python, text/x-python, and others.

A text file that contains python source code. It is often utf-8 encoded, but it does not have to be.
Compiled bytecode of a python source file
Optimized compiled bytecode
A python version of a Windows .dll file
A python wheel which is a package distribution for using a "ZIP-formated archive with a specially formatted filename" [1]


Format Version Ext. PRONOM
Python Script File .py fmt/938
Python Compiled File 2.0 .pyc fmt/1106
2.1 fmt/1107
2.2 fmt/1108
2.3 fmt/1109
2.4 fmt/1110
2.5 fmt/1111
2.6 fmt/1112
2.7 fmt/939
3.0 fmt/1113
3.1 fmt/1114
3.2 fmt/1115
3.3 fmt/1116
3.4 fmt/940
3.5 fmt/1117
3.6 fmt/1118

See also



  1. Wheel, Python Package Index

Specifications and file format info

Programming tips and tutorials

Program code, libraries, and APIs

Online utilities

Metaformat files


Other links and references

Personal tools