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New ActivePython Release Targets Data Science, Web Development

ActiveState today announced a new release of its commercial Python distribution, ActivePython, with a primary focus on data science and Web development.

The Vancouver, BC-based company specializes in packaging together various open source programming language modules with standard libraries and issuing them as distributions backed by quality assurance, support plans and other services. Its ActivePython distribution -- reportedly downloaded more than 4 million times -- focuses on easy installation and cross-platform compatibility with Windows, Linux, Mac OS X and several other platforms.

In its new ActivePython 2.7.13 and 3.5.3 distributions (Python 3x is not backwards-compatible with Python 2.x), the company said it included 200 of the most popular packages, with a special emphasis on data science and Web app development, along with security and code quality.

"In this release, data science packages such as pandas, numpy, scipy, matplotlib and Big Data connectivity are pre-bundled," the company said in a statement. "The inclusion of these packages makes it easy for data scientists to prepare, analyze and visualize their data. In addition, ActiveState has also added the most popular Web frameworks such as Django, flask and tornado, along with the popular AWS SDK for cloud applications."

Python is a popular general-purpose, interpreted, object-oriented programming language noted for its ease of use. In RedMonk's latest popularity ranking of programming languages, Python vaulted up to No. 3, just behind JavaScript and Java. And in the recently published developer survey from StackOverflow, Python was named the "most wanted" programming language and came in at No. 6 in the "most loved" category.

ActiveState exec Jeff Rouse said the latest ActivePython release was the company's biggest ever.

"We've just included another 200 packages in our distribution making it the most comprehensive release of ActivePython to date," Rouse said in a blog post. "It's like we have a microcosm of the whole ecosystem in our distribution. There are over one hundred thousand Python packages and we have picked the best two hundred. You don't need to go looking for what's the best crypto library or Web framework ... you can now find it in ActivePython. This new distribution is available starting with 2.7.13 and 3.5.3 on all major platforms with 3.6 to come out later in the year."

Here's a look at some of those packages:

Some of the Packages in the New Release
[Click on image for larger view.] Some of the Packages in the New Release (source: ActiveState)

ActiveState delivers ActivePython distributions in various editions, including a free community edition.

Going forward, Rouse said, the company plans to expand the distribution's package list to encompass more use cases.

"There are some really great advances in machine learning that we want to include as well as offering more in the visualization space," he said. "On top of that, we will also bundle more Web frameworks, database connectors and Web services packages."

Rouse said the company issued multiple releases in the first quarter of 2017 and plans to maintain the active release cadence with multiple releases in the second quarter, also.

About the Author

David Ramel is editor in chief of Visual Studio Magazine and Application Development Trends Magazine.

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