Using Python to Program the Raspberry Pi

Rob Spiegel

August 12, 2014

2 Min Read
Using Python to Program the Raspberry Pi

Your best bet for embedded software development for the Raspberry Pi is likely going to be Python. Single-board computers are gaining in popularity, and probably the most popular is the Raspberry Pi. These tiny, index-card-sized computers enable embedded engineers to prototype complex systems quickly -- and cost effectively. While the Raspberry Pi was developed to teach computer science to students, it has grown beyond that into a tool for small products and prototyping.

The Raspberry Pi is manufactured in three board configurations through licensed manufacturing deals with Newark's Element 14 and RS Components, which sell the tool online. Egoman sells the product for China and Taiwan. The Egoman version can be distinguished from other Pis by its red coloring and lack of FCC/CE marks. The hardware is the same across all manufacturers.

While there are many programming languages available for Raspberry Pi, Python has become the leader. Python is a widely used general-purpose, high-level programming language. Its design philosophy emphasizes code readability, and its syntax allows programmers to express concepts in fewer lines of code than would be possible in languages such as C. The language provides constructs intended to enable clear programs on both a small and large scale.

Python supports multiple programming paradigms, including object-oriented, imperative, and functional programming or procedural styles. It features a dynamic type system and automatic memory management and has a large and comprehensive standard library.

A basic understanding of its syntax is critical. Design News and Digi-Key are offering a one-week free course that explores the use of Python with the Raspberry Pi. Embedded Software Development With Python and the Raspberry Pi runs August 18 through 22. The course will walk attendees through how to write programs with Python for the Raspberry Pi and provide examples that can be used not only to follow along, but also to speed up prototyping.

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About the Author(s)

Rob Spiegel

Rob Spiegel serves as a senior editor for Design News. He started with Design News in 2002 as a freelancer and hired on full-time in 2011. He covers automation, manufacturing, 3D printing, robotics, AI, and more.

Prior to Design News, he worked as a senior editor for Electronic News and Ecommerce Business. He has contributed to a wide range of industrial technology publications, including Automation World, Supply Chain Management Review, and Logistics Management. He is the author of six books.

Before covering technology, Rob spent 10 years as publisher and owner of Chile Pepper Magazine, a national consumer food publication.

As well as writing for Design News, Rob also participates in IME shows, webinars, and ebooks.

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