Python 2 Vs Python 3 and Why is it the Right Time for Migration
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Python 2 Vs Python 3 and Why is it the Right Time for Migration

It is already established that Python is among the most popular programming languages out there. It’s functional, easily readable, and most importantly, hyped among the programmers. Our experience with Python development services with both complex and straightforward projects was pretty unique. Thanks to its simplicity and applicability, we are sure Python will endure and help us build bridges in the long term. Talking about the long-term, we thought of finally sharing our insights on the Python 2 vs Python 3 debate and, as the heading states, why migrating to Python 3 is a better idea. PS – You already know whose side we are on. Python 2 Vs Python 3 is a very big topic.

Python 2 came into existence in the year 2000 as programmers from all overused it to develop different kinds of projects before it was finally shut down on January 1st, 2020. It eventually had a long run, but modernization lastly took it over, and it was time to migrate to Python 3.

Python Version Timeline
Here are the timelines of various python versions!

What is Python 3?

Python 3, which is also termed as Py3Kor Python 3000 came was first introduced in December 2008. The main idea of releasing Python 3.0 is to fix problems that programmers face with Python 2. The essential thing to understand is the nature of Py3K is incompatible with Python 2, which means Python 3 is a backward-incompatible version of the Python programming language. 

It raised many eyebrows when it became evident that your written code must be adaptable to Python 3 if you were still using Python 2 for any sort of development, which was the leading reason why many enterprises found the migration daunting. But it all became evident when it was announced that Python 2 wouldn’t be supported by the Python software foundation as Py3K is the default Python interpreter. 

Differences Between Python 2 and Py3K(Python 3)

Evolution is the reason we are here and living in this advanced world. It establishes a connection between the change and necessity with time. The same happened with Python 2; it got eliminated by a much better version of itself. The new version of the Python Programming language is much less confusing for programmers to learn and implement in their projects.

United States, Past 5 years, web search
Python 2 vs Python 3
Basis of ComparisonPython 2Python 3 
  • Release Date
20002008
  • Print Function
Treats “print” as a statement, and that can be confusingTreats “Print” as a function that will further prevent common mistakes
  • Syntax
The Syntax is difficult to comprehendSimpler and pretty straightforward 
  • Unicode Strings
Ask you to mark a string with a “u” if you want to store a string as UnicodePy3K stores strings as Unicode by default
  • Raising Exceptions
The exception should be enclosed in notations.Python 3000 requires syntax to raise an exception, and it should be enclosed in parenthesis
  • Loop Variables
The given variable iterated over the same name as a global variable could result in the actual value of the global variable being changed. Python 3 successfully removes this long-term bug as you can use the variable name you have already used without worrying about it messing with the variable in the rest of your code.
  • Integer Division
Dividing two integers offer integer valueDividing two integers gets you a float value
  • Variables
Python 2 updates the value of the global variable when used inside for-loopHowever, the value of variables never changes in Python 3
  • Backward Compatibility
Python 3 is backward incompatible with Python 2Accessible and preferred to port 2 to Python 3
  • Libraries
Old Python 2 libraries are not forward-compatibleGetting better and advanced libraries that can only be used with Python 3

Reasons Why You Should Migrate From Python 2 to Python 3 

Since we are way past January 1st, 2021, it is super apparent to use Python 3 for all the new programmers. Let us look at the top reasons that established why it’s good to migrate from Python 2 to Python 3.

  • Developer Support 

There are many reasons why Python is still popular even after 30 years of its inception. And taking care of current developers and attracting new ones is one of those reasons. When it comes to programmers, then they always look for a new set of challenges. The job in programming comes with a risk of losing your interest along the process as you need to look for new things which trouble you and make you smarter with time. 

The same problems were with Python 2, as it was precisely the same for the last 20 years apart from the additional third-party libraries. Nobody likes to work with unsupported and outdated technologies, mainly when it doesn’t test your mental strength. Python 3 comes with loads of new packages like high compatibility, operating system support, access to cloud services, and most importantly, a chance to upgrade your skills and knowledge.  

  • Third-Party Libraries

Like any other programming language, one of the most significant advantages of using Python is the third-party packages it has to offer. Third-party libraries add the needed spice to the development process. However, in this scenario, things worked precisely in favor of Python 2 for a long term until they finally decided to shut it down. 

Because of comprehensive third-party libraries, developers overcame all the obstacles within Python 2, which led to the slow adoption of Python 3. 

However, after the adoption of Python 3, we’ve got to know it has a better library system to offer. The inclusion of intermediary libraries is easy and quick with Py3K as compared to other python versions. The new libraries used in Python 3 have made the process of ML and AI seamless and rapid at the same time, even if we are toying around with the big data, which makes it supreme against its older brother. 

A little more on Python 2 and Python 3!
A little more on Python 2 Vs Python 3!
  • New Opportunities

Talking about third-party libraries made us realize the new opportunities Python 3 offers with its standard library alone. As already mentioned, type safety was improved to a great extent. The recent changes also include strings that are Unicode by default of an explicitly different type than bytes. 

Python 3 offers other benefits in front of Python 2 as well: 

  • Exclusive native asynchronous programming
  • Type Annotations
  • Efficient debugging thanks to chained exceptions
  • Software Security

Securing your data is always a significant concern, and no matter how hard you try, you can’t keep it safe if you are using an outdated version of your programming language. Even if you keep using Python 2.7 for development or maintenance, you will require unofficial security patches. Using third-party dependencies will require your extra attention and manual procedure to apply them. These dependencies are bound to lose their Python 2 support, and the day it will happen you will be left vulnerable and on your own. Remember, “One single vulnerability is all an attacker needs“. Let us take the example of one of the Python 2 libraries. 

Firstly, many Python 2 libraries are not forward compatible and will not get support in Py3K. The Python Package Index, also famously known as PyPi, responds to other malicious libraries and software. The catch is, it entirely relies on community support. Since the community is shifting to Python 3, old libraries will be exposed, allowing hackers to access personal information and even harm your current programs. 

Privacy is an absolute prerequisite. Ensuring your data is ethical, especially when you are dealing with personal information. Keeping your software updated and modern is one of the best practices to keep yourself safe. 

  • Benefits

Python 3 offers a clear path towards the future. Already top companies in the market like Facebook, Instagram, Uber, Reddit, and others are using its support for modern techniques like Machine learning, data science, and AI to make themselves more efficient in less time. Let us tell you an exciting example of what happened when Python 3 was introduced on Facebook.

When the written code with added libraries was run, it resulted in 40% faster and used only half the memory.” This busts the myth that Python 3 is slower than Python 2. Well, it may be true for earlier versions of Python 3, but its latest version is much faster than its previous versions.

On research, the high speed was achieved because of its Unicode encoding method where all the strings are ASCII compatible, making it twice as efficient. 

Things to Remember While Migrating from Python 2 to Python 3

Migrating to the latest version of Python requires your attention as you need to have a precise idea of your project’s status in terms of type, size, complexity, etc. Let us have a look at some points to remember before you finally upgrade to Python 3: 

  • If you plan to move an application to Python 3, only the top-level scripts need to be reworked because a few internal modules rely on an application. 
  • When it comes to the framework, even a minor technical change will impact many applications and modules. It’sIt’s because it heavily relies on several plugins and applications. 
  • If your application is an open-source project, you can move ahead with a slow and relaxed migration to Python 3. But it all changes if your application is developed in a revenue-based model and has a large user base. The commercial software needs a fast migration process that emphasizes essential and specific modules. 
  • Need to choose between automated or manual migration methods. If your codebase is not too large, then a manual migration can be done to save cost. Moreover, complete automated migration is never feasible. Manual code re-writing makes the process of assigning tasks correctly. But if you have a large codebase, then automated python migration is the right way to move forward with some minor tweaks of the manual process wherever required. 

Why Was the Adoption Rate of Python 3 Slow in the First Place?

Initially, Python 3 was announced in 2008, so why did companies never adopt it until the deadline? The answer to this curiosity holds in the above Facebook example. Although Facebook and its team migrated to Python 3 for its betterment, the road was not as simple as it seemed. 

The leading software engineer at Facebook, Jason Fried, also known as Pythonistas at Facebook because of his overlook of the language, started the process way earlier in 2014. 

Stats on the Migration to Python 3
Stats on the Migration to Python 3

On his way, he made many mistakes, changed the code, and even included himself in new developer training. He then collaborated with Lukasz Langa, who had migrated to Python 3 for Instagram. The process of moving Instagram took ten months. The exact process at Dropbox took three years. It became a significant reason for the Python development company to not work around Python 3, considering how long it would take to complete the operation. 

Endnotes

So, Here is all about Python 2 vs Python 3. It is fair to say Python’s been on quite a ride to move from its older version to a newer version. We are way past January 2020, and if you are still using Python 2, it won’t eliminate your project, but it can severely affect it in the long term. If you want to be on the safer side with your software, upgrading to the current version of Python should be your top priority. 

With time, we will see new updates released for Python 3, making it more robust, scalable, and secure to use. The transition is already underway regardless; you can write efficient and functional code in both versions. If you are a programmer who uses Python in their jobs, understanding the requirements first is a better idea if you do not want to lose your hours of usable code. 

As mentioned, every programming language needs to evolve with time if it has to stay relevant for the long term and Python has to follow the same.  If you are planning for this migration then you might need experienced and professional minds to handle the process. An ingenious team from the Python development company can handle this operation smoothly with all necessary steps that ensure high-quality and quick performance with time. 

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