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Python Modules and Packages: An Introduction (Overview)

In this course, you’ll explore Python modules and Python packages, two mechanisms that facilitate modular programming.

Modular programming is the process of breaking a large, unwieldy programming task into separate, smaller, more manageable subtasks or modules. Individual modules can then be put together like building blocks to create a larger application.

There are several advantages to modularizing code in a large application:

  • Simplicity: Rather than focusing on the entire problem at hand, a module typically focuses on one relatively small portion of the problem. If you’re working on a single module, then you’ll have a smaller problem domain to wrap your head around. This makes development easier and less error-prone.

  • Maintainability: Modules are typically designed so that they enforce logical boundaries between different problem domains. If modules are written in a way that minimizes interdependency, then there is decreased likelihood that modifications to a single module will have an impact on other parts of the program. (You may even be able to make changes to a module without having any knowledge of the application outside that module.) This makes it more viable for a team of many programmers to work collaboratively on a large application.

  • Reusability: Functionality defined in a single module can be easily reused (through an appropriately defined interface) by other parts of the application. This eliminates the need to recreate duplicate code.

  • Scoping: Modules typically define a separate namespace, which helps avoid collisions between identifiers in different areas of a program. (One of the tenets in the Zen of Python is Namespaces are one honking great idea—let’s do more of those!)

Functions, modules, and packages are all constructs in Python that promote code modularization.

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