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How to Run a Python Script

How to Run a Python Script
25.06.2024
Reading time: 4 min
Hostman Team
Technical writer

Python scripts are files that contain code written in the Python programming language. These scripts can be used to perform a wide range of tasks, from simple calculations to complex data analysis and automation. Python scripts typically have a .py extension and can be run on any system with a Python interpreter installed.

Common Use Cases

Python scripts are versatile and can be used for various purposes, including:

  • Automating repetitive tasks: Automate file management, web scraping, and other routine tasks.

  • Data analysis and visualization: Analyze data and create visualizations using libraries like Pandas and Matplotlib.

  • Web development: Develop web applications using frameworks like Django and Flask.

  • Machine learning: Implement machine learning models using libraries like TensorFlow and Scikit-learn.

  • Scripting and prototyping: Quickly prototype and test ideas with minimal setup.

Ensure Python is Installed

Before running a Python script, you need to ensure that Python is installed on your system. You can check if Python is installed by opening a terminal or command prompt and typing:

python --version

Or:

python3 --version

If Python is installed, you will see the version number. If not, you can download and install Python from the official Python website.

Setting Up Your Environment

Setting up your environment involves installing any necessary packages and ensuring your system is ready to run Python scripts. You can use pip, the Python package installer, to install packages if needed. It's also a good practice to create a virtual environment to manage dependencies. You can create a virtual environment using the following commands:

python -m venv myenv
source myenv/bin/activate

Creating a .py File

To create a Python script, you need to create a .py file. You can do this using any text editor or an Integrated Development Environment (IDE). For example, you can create a file named hello_world.py and add the following content:

print("Hello, world!")

Example Script Content

Here’s an example of a Python script that generates a Fibonacci sequence up to 10 terms using a simple loop :

# Generate Fibonacci sequence up to n terms
def fibonacci(n):
    fib_sequence = []
    a, b = 0, 1
    for _ in range(n):
        fib_sequence.append(a)
        a, b = b, a + b
    return fib_sequence


# Number of Fibonacci numbers to generate
num_terms = 10


# Generate Fibonacci sequence
fib_sequence = fibonacci(num_terms)


# Print the Fibonacci sequence
print(f"Fibonacci sequence up to {num_terms} terms:")
for num in fib_sequence:
    print(num)

Save this script in a file named fibonacci.py.

Using the Command Line

To run your Python script from the command line, navigate to the directory where your script is located and type:

python hello_world.py

# Output:
Hello, world!

or

python fibonacci.py

# Output: Fibonacci sequence up to 10 terms: 0 1 1 2 3 5 8 13 21 34

Running Scripts Within an IDE

Integrated Development Environments (IDEs) such as VS Code, PyCharm, and Jupyter Notebook offer features that make it easier to write and run Python scripts. Here’s how to run a script in VS Code:

  1. Open VS Code and open the folder containing your script.

  2. Open the script file. VS Code will suggest to install the Python extension, click Yes.

  3. Press Ctrl and F5 or click on the run icon (triangle shape) in the top right corner:

Image1

The IDE will execute the script, and you will see the output in the integrated terminal or output panel like this:

Image2

Common Errors and Troubleshooting

When running Python scripts, you may encounter common errors such as:

  • SyntaxError: This occurs when there is a mistake in the syntax of your code. Double-check for typos and ensure proper indentation.

  • ModuleNotFoundError: This happens when you try to import a module that is not installed. Use pip install to install the missing module.

  • IndentationError: Python relies on indentation to define code blocks. Ensure your code is properly indented.

  • TypeError: This error occurs when you perform an operation on an inappropriate data type. Check the data types of your variables.

To troubleshoot, carefully read the error messages, which usually indicate the line number and nature of the problem. In addition, you can use the IDE debugger and add breakpoints to the code if needed. Googling the error message can also provide insights and solutions from the Python community.

Conclusion

In this article, we explored how to run Python scripts effectively using built-in capabilities. From understanding basic script creation to utilizing Python's powerful loop structures, you've learned foundational skills that will serve you well in your Python journey. Whether you're generating Fibonacci sequences or working with dates and times, mastering these fundamental techniques empowers you to leverage Python's versatility for a wide range of tasks. As you continue to explore Python programming, practice these concepts to strengthen your understanding and proficiency in writing Python scripts. Happy coding!


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