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After you have done your Python installation (most likely by installing the Canopy Express distribution as described in the Courseware or Quick Start pages), you should start up the Python interpreter and start working through a Python language tutorial. There are a number of different ways for the user to interact with Python, and the experienced user winds up using all of them at one time or another. All these methods feed Python instructions to the same underlying Python interpreter, but give the user different ways of interacting with the interpreter.

From an integrated development environment, you can open an existing file in the editor, edit it if necessary, and run it in the interpreter window, create a new file in the editor and then save it and run it, or enter commands directly into the interpeter window. In this Canopy window, we have opened slask.py in the editor, and executed it using the run command from Canopy's run menu (or equivalently by clicking the green right-arrow in the toolbar), which generates the %run command in In[2]. The upper right pane is the ipython interpreter window, and the lower right pane is the editor window. Commands can also be entered directly into the ipython interpreter window.

I will be writing a lot more about notebooks as I transition my instructional material to make use of this very powerful new feature. My quick-start notebook tutorial is here, and provides all you need to get started using notebooks. You can read about notebooks and how to use them in more detail here .

Resources for learning Python