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Python Sheds Its Skin and Emerges As Version 3.2


The Python programming language has been updated to reach version 3.2 and is now available for general release. New improvements center around work to improve and stabilize the current 3.x line of this interpreted high-level programming language. From this point, the 2.x line of Python will only receive bug fixes as new features will be developed for 3.x only.

There are (as expected) no changes in Python's syntax and only a few changes to built-in types in Python 3.2. The Python website reports that development efforts concentrated on the standard library and support for porting code to Python 3.

The most noteworthy developments brought forward in Python 3.2 concentrate on the language's built-in modules. Specifically, the unittest module has received attention, as this is the component that enables unit test building to be carried out efficiently. There has also been considerable effort directed towards the sysconfig, email, and ssl modules, where these elements needed compatibility improvements so that they more closely matched the wider features of Python 3.1 as a whole.

According to the Python website, "In the past, extension modules built for one Python version were often not usable with other Python versions. Particularly on Windows, every feature release of Python required rebuilding all extension modules that one wanted to use. This requirement was the result of the free access to Python interpreter internals that extension modules could use. With Python 3.2, an alternative approach becomes available: extension modules which restrict themselves to a limited API (by defining Py_LIMITED_API) cannot use many of the internals, but are constrained to a set of API functions that are promised to be stable for several releases. As a consequence, extension modules built for 3.2 in that mode will also work with 3.3, 3.4, and so on."

In terms of implementation and usage, Python enjoys deployment across a wide range of environments (particularly embedded systems for example), and is compatible with most modern operating systems with the use of interpreters.


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