Normally, a library is a collection of books or is a room or place where many books are stored to be used later. Similarly, in the programming world, a library is a collection of precompiled codes that can be used later on in a program for some specific well-defined operations. Other than pre-compiled codes, a library may contain documentation, configuration data, message templates, classes, and values, etc.
A Python library is a collection of related modules. It contains bundles of code that can be used repeatedly in different programs. It makes Python Programming simpler and convenient for the programmer. As we don’t need to write the same code again and again for different programs. Python libraries play a very vital role in fields of Machine Learning, Data Science, Data Visualization, etc.
Working of Python Library
As is stated above, a Python library is simply a collection of codes or modules of codes that we can use in a program for specific operations. We use libraries so that we don’t need to write the code again in our program that is already available. But how it works. Actually, in the MS Windows environment, the library files have a DLL extension (Dynamic Load Libraries). When we link a library with our program and run that program, the linker automatically searches for that library. It extracts the functionalities of that library and interprets the program accordingly. That’s how we use the methods of a library in our program. We will see further, how we bring in the libraries in our Python programs.
Python standard library
The Python Standard Library contains the exact syntax, semantics, and tokens of Python. It contains built-in modules that provide access to basic system functionality like I/O and some other core modules. Most of the Python Libraries are written in the C programming language. The Python standard library consists of more than 200 core modules. All these work together to make Python a high-level programming language. Python Standard Library plays a very important role. Without it, the programmers can’t have access to the functionalities of Python. But other than this, there are several other libraries in Python that make a programmer’s life easier. Let’s have a look at some of the commonly used libraries:
- TensorFlow: This library was developed by Google in collaboration with the Brain Team. It is an open-source library used for high-level computations. It is also used in machine learning and deep learning algorithms. It contains a large number of tensor operations. Researchers also use this Python library to solve complex computations in Mathematics and Physics.
- Matplotlib: This library is responsible for plotting numerical data. And that’s why it is used in data analysis. It is also an open-source library and plots high-defined figures like pie charts, histograms, scatterplots, graphs, etc.
- Pandas: Pandas are an important library for data scientists. It is an open-source machine learning library that provides flexible high-level data structures and a variety of analysis tools. It eases data analysis, data manipulation, and cleaning of data. Pandas support operations like Sorting, Re-indexing, Iteration, Concatenation, Conversion of data, Visualizations, Aggregations, etc.
- Numpy: The name “Numpy” stands for “Numerical Python”. It is the commonly used library. It is a popular machine learning library that supports large matrices and multi-dimensional data. It consists of in-built mathematical functions for easy computations. Even libraries like TensorFlow use Numpy internally to perform several operations on tensors. Array Interface is one of the key features of this library.
- SciPy: The name “SciPy” stands for “Scientific Python”. It is an open-source library used for high-level scientific computations. This library is built over an extension of Numpy. It works with Numpy to handle complex computations. While Numpy allows sorting and indexing of array data, the numerical data code is stored in SciPy. It is also widely used by application developers and engineers.
- Scrapy: It is an open-source library that is used for extracting data from websites. It provides very fast web crawling and high-level screen scraping. It can also be used for data mining and automated testing of data.
- Scikit-learn: It is a famous Python library to work with complex data. Scikit-learn is an open-source library that supports machine learning. It supports variously supervised and unsupervised algorithms like linear regression, classification, clustering, etc. This library works in association with Numpy and SciPy.
- PyGame: This library provides an easy interface to the Standard Directmedia Library (SDL) platform-independent graphics, audio, and input libraries. It is used for developing video games using computer graphics and audio libraries along with Python programming language.
- PyTorch: PyTorch is the largest machine learning library that optimizes tensor computations. It has rich APIs to perform tensor computations with strong GPU acceleration. It also helps to solve application issues related to neural networks.
- PyBrain: The name “PyBrain” stands for Python Based Reinforcement Learning, Artificial Intelligence, and Neural Networks library. It is an open-source library built for beginners in the field of Machine Learning. It provides fast and easy-to-use algorithms for machine learning tasks. It is so flexible and easily understandable and that’s why is really helpful for developers that are new in research fields.
There are many more libraries in Python. We can use a suitable library for our purposes. Hence, Python libraries play a very crucial role and are very helpful to the developers.
Use of Libraries in Python Program
As we write large-size programs in Python, we want to maintain the code’s modularity. For the easy maintenance of the code, we split the code into different parts and we can use that code later ever we need it. In Python, modules play that part. Instead of using the same code in different programs and making the code complex, we define mostly used functions in modules and we can just simply import them in a program wherever there is a requirement. We don’t need to write that code but still, we can use its functionality by importing its module. Multiple interrelated modules are stored in a library. And whenever we need to use a module, we import it from its library. In Python, it’s a very simple job to do due to its easy syntax. We just need to use import.
Let’s have a look at exemplar code:
Here in the above code, we imported the math library and used one of its methods i.e. sqrt (square root) without writing the actual code to calculate the square root of a number. That’s how a library makes the programmers’ job easier. But here we needed only the sqrt method of math library, but we imported the whole library. Instead of this, we can also import specific items from a library module.
Importing specific items from a library module
As in the above code, we imported a complete library to use one of its methods. But we could have just imported “sqrt” from the math library. Python allows us to import specific items from a library.
Let’s look at an exemplar code :
In the above code, we can see that we imported only “sqrt” and “sin” methods from the math library.
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