With the user-friendly, simple design of the Raspberry Pi, you can acquaint yourself with the world of computer programming. There are several programming languages in existence that allow users to direct computers’ actions, and one language that many novices first study is Python. As you gain proficiency in Python, your skills can become transferable to your future electronics projects and possibly even professional fields that utilize computers. Learn the general guidelines of how to create a Raspberry Pi Python program with this post.
To interact with your Raspberry Pi, you’ll need to connect it in a setup that includes a keyboard, mouse, and monitor. One way to do this is to buy each of those components separately and connect them to the USB ports on the Pi. You could also link your Pi to an existing laptop by connecting it to a Pi Wedge component, which is in turn connected to an FTDI Breakout board. You need to use a USB cable to connect the Breakout board with your laptop.
You’ll configure the Pi to join it to your network and select location and time settings before rebooting it to get started with Python. Both Python 2 and Python 3 are automatically included with you Pi’s operating system, Raspbian. Enter python or python 3 into your terminal, depending on which you want to open up.
Now that you have the Python window open, it’s time to program. Unlike some other programming languages, Python can show you the results of a command immediately after every line. To make it say a basic phrase, such as, “Good morning,” you can type in this command: print(“Good morning”). Press Enter, and Python will write it out back to you. This is programming in its simplest form. To go further, you should know the following definitions:
The above example is called a literal. Literals are any text that is unchanging. They can come in the form of words or phrases or numbers. If you input a singular number, such as 10, you just need to write it as print(10). For words and phrases, there must be quotation marks around your command within the parentheses.
Variables allow you to hold words or a number in the code without applying them. To input a word variable, like “yes,” type message = “yes”. For a number, like 10, type number = 10. You can activate the word or number by then inputting print(message) or print(number). The word you place in front of the = sign is up to you and will depend on what the letters or numbers follow the = sign mean.
An example of a basic program using variables could be to get Python to respond to a simple question. Think of a random fact, such as, “spiders have eight legs”. You can get Python to ask, “Do spiders have eight legs?” and have it recognize which answer, either “yes” and “no,” is correct. To achieve this, you would enter in the code as follows:
answer = “yes”
question = input(“Do spiders have eight legs? “)
if question == answer:
Once you’ve started to play around with Python and creating a Raspberry Pi Python program, you should expand your knowledge on the different operators. Each operator is a certain symbol that will allow Python to carry out calculations. Examples include the + and – symbols, which let you perform addition and subtraction respectively. You can find full lists of operators to use online.
The prompts such as “if” and “else” that you saw in the variable example are known as control flow statements. They tell Python to carry out a specific action when the user meets certain conditions in interacting with the computer. As with operators, you can learn the possible control flow statements from lists online.
All this is just scratching the surface of programming with Python, as the possibilities with the language are countless. Hopefully, you have a better understanding of some of the baseline ideas, though, which can act as the impetus for you to create impressive projects through a combination of mechanical and programming knowledge. Get started with makers electronics and programming using Chicago Electronic Distributors’ kits and accessories.
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