Pointers are a common occurrence within many different programming languages. Pointers are usually classified as an object that stores a memory address.
Many programmers use languages such as C and C++ that feature pointers – but there are some languages that don’t use them.
So let’s say you know a little about the concept of pointers and you’re starting to learn how to code in Python. You might be wondering whether or not Python has pointers?
If this is a question you’re asking yourself, then you’ve come to the right place! In this article, we’re going to be exploring pointers within Python and why they are absent from this simplistic language that so many programmers fall in love with.
We’ve also made sure to include a short FAQ section that will explain some of the more specialist terms within this article.
Let’s get into it!
Before we discuss why Python doesn’t have pointers, let’s make sure we’re on the same page as to why they are featured in other languages.
As mentioned before, a pointer is an object within OOP languages. Objects, here, refers to the name we give units of code within a program.
Pointers are used to store memory addresses – values located within a computer’s memory. To explain this more precisely, a pointer is something that points to a certain location of memory within a computer – hence the name.
Pointers are very important when coding as they allow you to instill a great sense of efficiency within your code.
Pointers are most widely used within C++ and C languages. For example, within the C language some programming functions and tasks are made much easier with pointers.
Let’s take for example the concept of dynamic memory allocation – if you’re looking to do this you won’t be able to without pointers. Pointers are a vital concept within these languages and you ignore them at your peril.
The Basics Of Python
Before we move on to Python and pointers, we’re just going to give you a simple explanation of Python and how it differs from other languages, in case you’re not so familiar with it.
Python is what’s known as an OOP (object-oriented programming) language. Check our FAQ below to learn more about OOP.
But in short, Python is widely known to be one of the easiest and most versatile programming languages around.
It was created in 1991 and has amazed coders ever since, who have fallen in love with its simplistic syntax and emphasis on natural language.
Often, Python is one of the first programming languages that junior coders learn, and it’s one that they will use within their careers as they grow and learn more difficult languages.
Python And Pointers
So if pointers are such a fundamental thing within other languages – why are they not part of Python? Well, this is a little more difficult to understand, but in short, you might want to consider that Python has no need of pointers.
Because of the way the language works, Python doesn’t need points in order to achieve this as every variable within the language is a reference to a specific object.
Because Python typically tries to detract from more complex concepts such as memory addresses for its users, pointers are one of the things that get left out.
To put this in more simple terms, pointers are used by programmers to manually manage memory within their program – this can be great for specific purposes – but Python does all of this memory management automatically.
So there you have it – Python doesn’t use pointers because pointers are a tool that can be used by programmers in other languages to properly allocate memory, and since Python does this process automatically there is no need to use pointers.
We hope that this article has given you a foundation to understand what exactly pointers are and why they’re not used within Python.
In order to get to this point, we used some amount of specialized terms, and if you’re new to learning about programming then you might not have understood them. If this is the case – no worries! Check below for our FAQ that will guide you through some of these.
Frequently Asked Questions
What Is The C++ Language?
Like Python, the C++ Language is an Object-oriented Programming Language. It’s an expanded version of the C Language.
C++ is generally used for computer programs, with one of its most common uses being game development. If you’ve played a moder, AA game, the likelihood is that has been coded at least in part with C++.
Programmers love to use C++ because it is a very quick and efficient language. Efficiency within programming means less code to run, which in turn means faster load times.
This is essential for creating lightning-fast applications or games. In recent years C++ has done nothing but grow in popularity, and it will likely continue to do so for quite some time.
What Does OOP Mean In Programming?
OOP stands for Object-oriented Programming. This is a classification of a language that has been created to organize types of software around data.
This data is called an ‘object,’ and an object that has unique qualities or abilities. The opposite of OOP programming languages revolves around logic, which is less suited to complex systems, applications, or programs such as video games.
What Is Memory In A PC?
Without getting into the more complex details, memory is the electronic storage of instructions. Computers use memory to store information that it can pull from, in order to complete a number of tasks. On a computer, memory is known as RAM.
When we’re talking about memory in relation to pointers – this is what we mean. Memory is measured in bits – which is why you see the terms Megabytes, Gigabytes, and Terabytes.