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Python Programming On Win32 by Mark Hammond, Andy Robinson

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The Python Core on Windows

Python is an Open Source tool, and on many platforms, the standard way to install Python is to download the Python sources and run an automated procedure for compiling Python on the machine, resulting in Python binaries that are installed and ready to use. The key advantage of this process is that it can be customized for a particular installation; if you have a specific requirement, it can normally be accommodated.

Under Microsoft Windows, however, this strategy doesn’t work. Most people don’t have C compilers, and probably would not be happy with the arrangements even if they did. Therefore, Python provides an installation package that contains a version of Python built with useful default options. The installation allows you to choose which components are installed from the following:

  • The Python core implemented in a Windows DLL named Python1x.dll (e.g., Python15.dll for the Python 1.5 family). This DLL is installed into your PC’s Windows system directory.

  • The standard Python executable, Python.exe . This provides the default interactive prompt and allows you to run Python programs. Additionally, Pythonw.exe is also installed, which allows you to write GUI applications using Python. Only advanced users should employ Pythonw.exe, because Python errors aren’t printed; this means that Pythonw.exe usually appears to do nothing, and this is intentional. You should avoid using Pythonw.exe until you are proficient with Python itself.

  • A few useful Python extension ...

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