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Python relies on modules, that is, self-contained programs which define a variety of functions and data types, that you can call in order to do tasks beyond the scope of the basic core language by using the import command. For example, the core distribution of python contains modules for processing files, accessing your computer's operating system and the internet, writing CGI scripts (which handle communicating with pages displayed in web browsers), string handling and many other tasks. Optional modules, available on the Python web site (, can be used to create graphical user interfaces, communicate with data bases, process image files, and so on. This structure makes it easy to get started with python, learning specific skills only as you need them, as well as making python run more efficiently by not always including every capability in every program.

Phil Spector 2003-11-12