Introduction to Pythonic Coding

The term “Pythonic” doesn’t have a formal definition, but it is widely accepted among the Python community as a descriptor for code that follows the philosophy and guiding principles intrinsic to the Python language. This philosophy is famously captured in the Zen of Python, a collection of 20 aphorisms by Tim Peters, a long-time Python developer.

To view the Zen of Python, you can use the following command in your Python interpreter:

1import this

The Zen of Python emphasizes code readability and simplicity over complexity, extensibility, and succinct expressions.

Why Writing Pythonic Code Is Important

Writing Pythonic code helps to maintain program clarity and simplicity, which in turns aids in debugging and code maintenance. Code written in a Pythonic style tends to be more readable and concise, making it easier to understand and share with others.

Consider the following examples in which the Pythonic approach simplifies code:

Example 1: List Comprehension

Non-Pythonic Way:

1numbers = [1,2,3,4,5]
2squared = []
3for i in numbers:
4    squared.append(i**2)

Pythonic Way:

1numbers = [1,2,3,4,5]
2squared = [i**2 for i in numbers]

List comprehension provides a compact and readable way of handling operations on list elements. It represents the spirit of Pythonic code.

Example 2: Enumerate Function

Non-Pythonic Way:

1fruits = ['apple', 'banana', 'mango']
2i = 0
3for fruit in fruits:
4    print(i, fruit)
5    i += 1

Pythonic Way:

1fruits = ['apple', 'banana', 'mango']
2for i, fruit in enumerate(fruits):
3    print(i, fruit)

Here, the Pythonic code uses the built-in function enumerate(). It is a more readable and efficient way of handling iterable indexing.


Pythonic doesn’t mean using Python functionality and idioms without understanding them. It is always essential to understand the logic behind the code you write.


Writing Pythonic code is a skill worth mastering for every Python programmer. It not only makes your code elegant and readable but also reduces complexity. The Zen of Python serves as great guiding principles to understand the philosophy underlying Pythonic coding practices. Remember, simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.