What is Python?
Python is a free, cross-platform, open-source programming language that is both powerful and easy to learn. It is widely used and supported. To learn more about Python, visit python.org.
Python was introduced to the ArcGIS community at 9.0. Since then, it has been accepted as the scripting language of choice for geoprocessing users and continues to grow. Each release has furthered the Python experience, providing you with more capabilities and a richer, more Python-friendly experience.
ESRI has fully embraced Python for ArcGIS and sees Python as the language that fulfills the needs of our user community. Here are just some of the advantages of Python:
- Easy to learn and excellent for beginners, yet superb for experts
- Highly scalable, suitable for large projects or small one-off programs known as scripts
- Portable, cross-platform
- Embeddable (making ArcGIS scriptable)
- Stable and mature
- A large user community
Python extends across ArcGIS and becomes the language for data analysis, data conversion, data management, and map automation, helping increase productivity.
The information contained here is not a Python language reference. Certain Python syntax and behavior are explained with respect to examples and concepts used to demonstrate how to write a geoprocessing script.
A suitable Python reference book is strongly recommended to augment the information you find here. For Python beginners, Learning Python by Mark Lutz and David Ascher, published by O’Reilly & Associates, and Core Python Programming by Wesley J. Chun, published by Prentice Hall, are both good introductions to the language and are not overwhelming in scope. There are many other books on Python and its particular uses, with new ones being released regularly, so explore what is available. The Python Web site has full documentation for Python, but it is concise and developer oriented. There is a large online Python community with many online resources that are accessible from the Python home page.
If you're new to Python, the external tutorials listed here are recommended for you.
Python tutorials for programmers
The external tutorials listed here are aimed at those who have previous experience with other programming languages (Perl, Visual Basic, C).