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Everything's Coming Up Python

00:00 Everything’s Coming Up Python. Python’s popularity has skyrocketed in recent years. As you can see here, it’s the most popular language by many measures, this one being a measure of Google searches for topics related to the language over a year.

00:17 While it is used in a huge range of fields from data science to web programming, for a long time it was absent from the field of microcontrollers.

00:25 All of that changed in 2013 when Damien George launched a Kickstarter campaign. Damien, an undergraduate at Cambridge University, was an avid robot programmer.

00:35 He wanted to move the Python world from machines that worked with capacities in the gigabytes down to the kilobytes. His Kickstarter campaign was a huge success, vastly exceeding its target, and allowing the completion of stretch goals to make MicroPython more complete.

00:52 Differences Between MicroPython and CPython. As you can imagine, MicroPython has a number of differences from standard Python. Many of these are necessary because of the difference in processing power and available storage on the target hardware. Python has long been known as a batteries-included language, and while these batteries may be smaller for MicroPython, they’re still there and there’s a great deal that can be done, particularly as MicroPython includes the most relevant functions for use with hardware devices.

01:22 Python and STEM. STEM subjects are increasingly important in the modern developed world. In the 1980s in the UK, the BBC created a program which took the BBC Micro into classrooms across the UK and beyond, and launched thousands of careers in the process.

01:40 In 2015, the BBC launched the Micro:Bit initiative with the intent of delivering a million microcontroller-based devices to pupils in the UK, hoping to repeat the success of the previous program.

01:52 The Micro:Bit soon gained the ability to run MicroPython—thanks to Damien—and thousands of classrooms gained the ability to run MicroPython code as a result.

02:02 A visual extension of this is Edublocks, which allows visual creation of Python code, allowing learners to be constrained by the options available—such as comparisons which were appropriate in any given statement—while still learning real Python code and being able to export it from Edublocks. In the next lesson, you’ll see how this code interacts with the real world.

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