Facebook, Reddit, Netflix, Spotify: These successful global tech companies use Python as part of their technology stack. Read our 8 Python app examples to find out why they chose the programming language and how they’ve used it to scale up operations and stand out from the competition.
Even if you’re not a programmer, you’ve probably heard of Python. Created in 1991, it’s evolved over the years, and according to Stack Overflow’s 2022 Developer Survey, it is now one of the most popular programming languages. Fans of Python like its simplicity, facilitating a relatively shorter learning curve than other programming languages and easier coding experience with reduced development time.
Python is also versatile – a multi-paradigm language that enables software developers to build business applications using different approaches, including object-oriented and functional programming. Below, we explore Python in more detail, including a range of Python web app examples and how it’s used for a variety of projects and industries, including data science, software development, machine learning, and blockchain.
What is the Python programming language?
Python is an interpreted, object-oriented, general-purpose programming language that’s a popular choice for software and web development. Python is modular, meaning it’s easily integrated with other technologies. It’s also an open-source language – there’s a well-established development community, with the Python Software Foundation overseeing quality.
Why is Python one of the most popular programming languages for software development?
Python is a dynamic and versatile programming language that’s been used for software development for over 30 years. Indeed, it’s currently ranked number one in the TIOBE Index, measuring the popularity of programming languages. Moreover, TIOBE ranked Python language of the year in 2007, 2010, 2018, 2020, and 2021.
The following reasons are cited for developing Python applications, web apps, and machine learning models:
- Python builds simple and complex apps easily. Any kind of business can use Python, which is why it’s used by startups and multi-billion dollar corporations alike.
- Python has powerful data science capabilities. Python performs better than R for data manipulation and repetitive tasks, which is why it’s often used for artificial intelligence solutions and machine learning applications.
- Exceptional productivity. Python is relatively easy to write, read, and learn, enabling software engineers to build products efficiently.
- Versatile and efficient functionality. Python is known for being one of the most versatile technologies. It can be used across multiple industries and spans web applications, software development, audio and video applications, gaming, and AI.
- Ready-to-use solutions. The programming language offers over 137,000 open-source libraries and an array of powerful Python frameworks, so there’s access to many functionalities, speeding up the development process.
- Easy integrations. Python is called a “glue language” because it’s easy to integrate with other components such as languages, web frameworks, external services, and existing infrastructure elements.
- Stable and secure. Because of its simple syntax and readability, Python has developed a reputation as a secure technology, making it a top choice for financial applications dealing with sensitive data.
- Python is scalable, allowing software developers to grow (or downsize) applications with ease, particularly when using the Django backend framework.
Top Python web app examples
Which well-known and successful companies have built Python applications? From Instagram and Facebook to Dropbox and Uber, there are plenty of organizations making the most of the versatile programming language.
1. Reddit and Python
The self-appointed “front page of the Internet” is a popular source of dank memes, cat videos, and tight-knit community interactions alike.
2. Dropbox and Python
Dropbox is a popular content hosting service, available on the web, via apps on iOS and Android, as well as operating systems like Windows, Linux, and Mac.
Currently valued at around $8 billion, Dropbox uses Python for client and server sides. Indeed, it’s their “ most widely used language both for backend services and the desktop client app”, and they use Python’s static type checking to quickly verify millions of lines of code, boosting productivity.
3. Instagram and Python
Although Instagram’s tech stack has evolved over the years, there would be no Instagram without Python. The hugely popular image and video-sharing platform has 1.28 billion users globally and was built using Django, a high-level Python web framework.
Since then, Instagram developers have created static sort checkers using Python to investigate their servers. Instagram’s server is dominated by Python code – several million lines – and the company uses type annotations to enforce a contract for their Python HTTP APIs.
4. Uber and Python
When choosing a programming language, the founders of this mobility-as-a-service company had two contenders: Ruby and Python. They went for the latter for both frontend and backend functions, as the Uber platform needs to perform many calculations.
For example, the app’s backend predicts demand and supply, traffic, and arrival times. Python is a good solution for mathematical calculations at big data levels; it’s also easier to learn than Ruby.
Uber also uses the Tornado Python web framework for asynchronous programming, and they have their own frameworks that Python can access to create high-data-density visualizations, rendered in a browser.
5. Netflix and Python
Having started as a DVD-by-mail service, Netflix now provides streaming video content to over 220 million paid subscribers around the world.
One of Netflix’s strengths is its powerful recommendation and analytics engine, allowing the company to provide users with suggestions and predict the kind of content they'll want to watch. What’s the engine based on? Python.
According to ZDNet, the Python programming language “is behind every film you stream”. Noted for its intuitiveness, Python allows software engineers to quickly solve networking problems. Indeed, it's used throughout Netflix's full content lifecycle, including machine learning recommendation algorithms, security tools, and their proprietary content distribution network (CDN) Open Connect.
Netflix developers also make the most of Python libraries for statistical analysis, such as ruptures, Pandas, NumPy, and SciPy. Additionally, the versatile programming language is used for data exploration and cleaning, automation tasks, and visualization.
6. Spotify and Python
Spotify is a music and podcast streaming platform with over 433 million monthly active users worldwide. Thanks to Spotify, gone are the days of chasing down MP3s on Limewire or Soulseek, looking for torrents on obscure invite-only websites, or listening to low-quality rips on YouTube.
In June 2022, Spotify developers used Python to build infrastructure to run user forecasts.
7. Facebook and Python
Facebook currently has 2,958 million active monthly users globally and is practically synonymous with social media. The company’s tech stack is huge and includes different programming languages and technologies. According to Analytics Insight, Python is still one of the top 10 programming languages used by Facebook for web development and machine learning apps like PyTorch – favored for its simplicity, readability, and extensive libraries.
Moreover, earlier this year, Facebook’s parent company Meta Platforms donated $300,000 to the Python Software Foundation.
8. Lyft and Python
Lyft was founded in 2012 and offers an array of services across the United States and Canada: ride-hailing, mobility-as-a-service, motorized scooters, vehicle hire, a bicycle-sharing system, rental cars, and food delivery.
The company’s software developers make use of open-source code, with Python featuring heavily. For example, they rely on the following Python tools and libraries:
- Cartography and Confidant for security
- Xiblint for linting Storyboard and XIB files
- MetaDataProxy and Linty_fresh for infrastructure
- Toasted Marshmallow to optimize dumping objects
- Amundsen for data discovery
- Gevent to ensure code is cooperative
Indeed, Lyft said the following on Twitter in early 2022: “A large part of Lyft's backend is powered by Python services.”
When to use Python: web development and data science projects
Since Python is a high-level and universal programming language, it’s widely used – as the examples above show. How else can the Python programming language be applied?
- Data Science: Python allows you to quickly manipulate and analyze data, and graphing libraries are easily available to support data visualization. There’s also a vibrant Python data science community.
- Python application development:As a general-purpose language, Python is useful for developing file directories, desktop GUIs, and APIs.
- Web development: Python frameworks such as Django and Flaskare popular choices for web development. Furthermore, Python’s extensive libraries and modules speed up development time.
- Game development: Python libraries such as Pygame are useful for building prototypes and games. Indeed, EVE Online, Battlefield 2, and World of Tanks were built using Python.
- Web scraping applications: If you need to quickly extract large amounts of data from a website for price comparisons, email address gathering, or research and development, Python facilitates that. How? It’s simple to code, has a collection of useful libraries like Numpy, Matlplotlib, and Pandas, and boasts an easily understandable syntax.
Python web app example wrap-up
Python isn’t just a way to make a quick, rough prototype or a “teaching language” for beginners – although it certainly is good for those things. It’s also a powerful tool used by multi-billion-dollar corporations and talented web developers around the world.
Python’s versatility enables companies to make effective use of the programming language for anything – from data science and game development to AI and software development. And since Python is relatively easy to learn and use, it’s no wonder it consistently ranks highly in programming language’s popularity ratings.