Introduction to Python on Windows with Visual Studio

Well you got just your new Windows PC.
Hopefully a crispy Surface Pro 4 (Starting at $899)

And you want to learn how to program, and Python is the language you’re going with.
Or you already know how to program and this is the first windows PC you’ve used in a while and like Python.
I don’t know you…

Well that’s fine too.

All the code and resources associated with this post can be found on GitHub

If at any point you get lost or confused, feel free to raise your hand/add a comment or PM me on twitter @timmyreilly

In this course we’ll cover:
1. Installing Python
2. Using the REPL
3. Running our first program
4. Examining the Python Folders
5. Using Pip
6. Creating, installing to, and using virtualenv and virtualenvwrapper-win
7. Examining the Envs folders!
8. setprojectdir and Workflow
9. Visual Studio
10. Virtual Envs in VS
11. Exploring Visual Studio Directories
12. Using the REPL in VS
13. Shortcuts for VS
14. Continued Learning

1. Installing Python

Windows

2. Using the REPL

The REPL stands for Read Evaluate Print Loop

Makes iterating and testing easy!

Type python into your command prompt


C:\..\> python
Python 2.7...
>>>

try these commands:

>>> x = 2 + 2
>>> print x
>>> import this
>>> type(x)
>>> dir(x)

More Practice

3. Running our first program

Use your favorite text editor. I’m using Visual Studio Code

I’ve named my example: beginnings.py

 
sentence = "Four score and seven years ago"
sentence_no_vowels = ""
for letter in sentence: 
    if letter not in "AEIOUaeiou":
        sentence_no_vowels = sentence_no_vowels + letter
         
print sentence_no_vowels

4. Examining the Python Folders

So because we’re on windows let’s take a look and explore our current folder structure just to get familiar with how Python works.

PythonDirectory

We’ll also show some helpful ways of interacting with python in our terminal

Calling Python Explicitly
> C:\Python27\python.exe
Calling Pip directly
> C:\Python27\Scripts\pip.exe list
Using Easy Install
> C:\Python27\Scripts\easy_install.exe
What Else is in there?
> dir C:\Python27\

5. Using Pip

Install a package

Python Packages are installed with pip

We’ll install requests


> pip -v
> pip install requests

Uninstall a package

pip uninstall requests

6. Creating, installing to, and using virtualenv and virtualenvwrapper-win

To another Blog Post for these steps.

7. Examining the Envs folders!

Now that we’ve used our first virtual environment where is it?
Let’s go find it! The files are in the computer!


> C:\Users\tireilly\Envs\helloworld\Scripts\pip.exe list
> C:\Users\tireilly\Envs\helloworld\Scripts\easy_install.exe

8. setprojectdir and workflow

That was fun. Let’s do it a lot.

cd into root of project


> workon newProject
> cd newProjectDirectory
> setprojectdir .
> deactivate
> workon helloworld

Now that was all fun and agnostic.
Let’s dive into Visual Studio.

9. Visual Studio

Community Edition is Free and Awesome!
– And there’s support for extensions like PTVS: http://microsoft.github.io/PTVS
– It’s a beast!
– Great for debugging, large projects and working with many different technologies.
The python offering is found in the form of Python Tools for Visual Studio.

The three things I want to introduce are Virtual Envs, the REPL, and Shortcuts

10. Virtual Envs in VS

– Visual Studio will Manage Virtual Environments for you!

11. Exploring Visual Studio Directories


> C:\visualstudio\projects\OneHourPython\OneHourPython\env\Scripts\pip.exe
> C:\visualstudio\projects\OneHourPython\OneHourPython\env\Scripts\python.exe

PythonVisualStudioDirectory

Check them out in the directory too!

12. Using the REPL in VS

13. Shortcuts for VS

Make it buttery

– Ctrl+F5 = Run Without Debugging
– Ctrl+E, Ctrl+E = Selected text to interactive
– Alt+Shift+F5 = Send file to interactive

That’s it for now, but don’t stop here the funs about to start!

Continued Learning & Other Resources:
Try Azure
Take your ideas of the Ground: BizSpark

Now that we’ve taken our first couple steps with Python, where should we go next?

See all the code associated with this project and more resources on my GitHub!

Please contact me if you have any questions: @timmyreilly

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This is what happens when you get coffee on your birthday…

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