The open source Python programming language is moving forward with its first and only major release for 2020, providing a series of new features for developers.
Python 3.9, which became generally available on Oct. 5, is the first major update for the popular programming language since the Python 3.8 milestone was released a year ago, in October 2019.
Python continues to be among the most widely deployed programming languages. According to the influential TIOBE Index for October 2020, Python is now the third most popular programming language, behind Java and C.
Among the new features in Python 3.9 is a parser based on an approach known as Parsing Expression Grammar (PEG) that is defined in Python Enhancement Proposal (PEP) 617.
“A PEG (Parsing Expression Grammar) grammar differs from a context-free grammar (like the current one) in the fact that the way it is written more closely reflects how the parser will operate when parsing it,” the documentation for PEP 617 states. “The fundamental technical difference is that the choice operator is ordered.”
Remnants of Python 2 Support Remain
Python 3.9 is also noteworthy in how it supports the now legacy Python 2 branch. The last release of Python 2 was Python 2.7.18, which became available on April 20. Although Python 2 is no longer being developed, there is still a degree of compatibility with Python 3, but that will end after the Python 3.9 release.
“Python 3.9 is the last version providing those Python 2 backward