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Saint Louis University

Computer Science 1300
Introduction to Object-Oriented Programming

Michael Goldwasser

Spring 2017

Dept. of Math & Computer Science


Python is an open-source programming language that is freely-available for all major computing platforms. Something to be aware of is that there are two major versions of Python currently in use. The first is the Python 2.x line. A more recent release is a Python 3.x line, and this version is not backward compatible with the former. We will be using the 2.x line in this course, because it still remains the one that is more prominently used as of today, and several supporting libraries have not yet been ported to the Python 3.x line.

If you are using your account on our department's hopper system, Python is already installed and can be started by typing the command python in a console window. There is also a development environment for Python known as IDLE that is available by navigating the start menu to Applications -> Development -> IDLE.

If you wish to run locally on your own computer, Python can be easily installed. In fact, if you have an Apple computer, Python and IDLE are already pre-installed as part of the OSX distribution. You can open a terminal window and start Python by typing the command python, or IDLE by typing the command idle. For other platforms, you can download a Python installer from; make sure to download the Python 2.x line (Python 2.7.1 is the most current release).

Interactive Web Site

There is a wonderful web site named that allows you to walk through the execution of a Python program, step-by-step, with a visual display of the current work space.


The graphics support for this class is provided by a module named cs1graphics developed here at SLU. It is not an official part of the Python distribution, so you will need to make sure to have it available on your system as well. If working on our department system, it is already available. If working on your own system, you will need to download a single file named The most recent public release of this software is available at

There are two ways to use the file on your own computer. One is to make sure to place the file in the same directory in which you are working when you start the Python interpretter. A better approach is to install the package by placing the file on your system in a folder typically named site-packages that is part of the Python distribution. If you have trouble finding the location of that package, please type the following command while within the Python interpreter.

>>> import sys; print [p for p in sys.path if 'site-packages' in p]

Michael Goldwasser
CSCI 1300, Spring 2017
Last modified: Saturday, 07 January 2017
Course Home | Assignments | Computing Resources | Lab Hours/Tutoring | Python | Schedule | Submit