How to use the Python compiler – with 2 examples

  • Reading time:14 mins read

How does the Python compiler work?

Python is an interpreted language which means that at runtime code is converted into low-level bytecode before being executed by the virtual machine.

This means that the code we write in our IDEs is not readily understood by the machine unless it is first converted into ‘machine code’.

This is not the case with languages such as C and C++ that are compiled before runtime.

 

File types in Python

Once Python source code has been compiled it is usually stored as .pyc files and only regenerated when we update the source code. This is the work of a compiler.

Once we have the bytecode stored in the form of .pyc files, these are then loaded into the Python virtual machine for execution.

 

How to use Python compilers

 

Despite making the development faster due to its simple syntax, Python is slower when compared to compiled languages such as C++ and C.

Bytecode is a low-level language that is translated into machine code before being executed. In Python. Bytecode is easily readable by humans as it’s meant to be read by machines.

The dis module in Python compiler

However, using the dis module in Python we can disassemble bytecode into a more human-readable form.

This is often done for purposes of performing optimizations, performance analysis or tracing conditions such as when threads are trying to access a shared variable. 

 

how to use python compilers

 

Using the dis module we can print the disassembled form of our python source code i.e modules, classes, functions etc.

For illustration purposes, we are going to create a short piece of code that adds three integers and returns their sum.

 

Disassemble the source code in Python compiler

Now to disassemble the source code above we will first import the dis module. The dis module includes functions such as the dis.dis() function that we are going to use to disassemble our code.

To disassemble this source code we are going to add our function name within the dis.dis() function as shown below.

This will print the result of the add() function alongside the disassembled form of our source code in the terminal as shown below.

 

Summary

This is how a Python compiler works in practice. If you’d like to see more programming tutorials, check out our Youtube channel, where we have plenty of Python video tutorials in English.

In our Python Programming Tutorials series, you’ll find useful materials which will help you improve your programming skills and speed up the learning process.

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