Practical Business Python

Taking care of business, one python script at a time



This site was started in September 2014 with the goal of collecting and spreading ideas on how to use python more effectively in the business setting.

Python is a wonderfully robust language that can be used for many applications and is embraced by many organizations, large and small. There are countless tutorials, frameworks and discussions about how to use python for building web sites or solving complex mathematical or scientific problems. There are not as many places that describe how to use python to handle typical problems someone might deal with in a business setting.

I hope to use this site to help rememdy the situation. I envision this as a resource to get feedback from the readers on problems we have solved using python. More importantly, we can explain that you do not need to be a Computer Scientist to use python to help you become more efficient and effective in your job.

I believe that individuals and organizations can use their computing and people resources much more effectively if they harnessed the power of the python tools that are so readily available to them. Let’s make this happen!

First, There Was the Command Line

Like many computer geeks growing up in the 1980’s and 90’s, I fondly remember working in an all text environment to program computers to do what I wanted. I may not have understood it all, but I enjoyed spending hours typing programs into my Apple //c.

As I learned more, I started to understand Basic, Pascal, C, Assembly. This passion convinced me to major in Computer Science. After getting my degree, I promptly took a job where I used very little of my degree. Like many, I became fascinated by the World Wide Web and all the info available to me. It was amazing to go from that Apple //c to using the Mosaic web browser!

I changed jobs along the way and ended up as a Unix systems administrator which is where I first got exposed to python. In this role, I learned how to use scripts to automate a lot of my day to day tasks. I learned the importance of version control and the power of streaming together very simple commands to automate very tedious tasks. This xkcd comic shows how much time you can save if you automate away a task.

xkcd comic

I would argue that the benefits of automation are more than just the time savings but that is for another discussion.

Then There was the GUI

While I worked in Unix, I used Windows frequently on a day to day basisfor routine email, documentation and light data analysis. I took a new job and suddenly was no longer working in Unix and forced to use Windows for more administrative tasks. The pain started.

Nowadays there are more tools but in the Windows 95 days, it was very difficult to automate anything. As my needs grew, I started searching for solutions and discovered that python worked really well on Windows. I promptly installed it on my systems and started writing scripts to help out with some of the mundane tasks I could not get done with the standard windows tools.

Over the years, I have continued to use python in a windows environment and have been amazed at how much it has helped me. I have also been amazed at how many smart people use Excel like a ninja but are unaware of how much they could accomplish in Python with less effort and in a more repeatable way.

Next Steps

Through my experience in the business setting and in the Open Source community, I realized there is an unmet need. We have an opportunity to spread awareness about:

  • How easy python can be to learn for a non-programmer
  • How powerful python can be in a business setting
  • How much an impact python can have on your overall effectiveness in a business setting

Please have a look around the site. Review some of the articles and comment on them. Let me know if you have any good ideas.