Python has been around for a while, but it still continues to rise in popularity. As a programming language that promotes both readable code and fast and easy coding, Python has emerged as a favored resource. What makes it so useful is its extensive library as well as its support for common programming methodologies. Also included in the mix are constant updates and improvements to syntax, modules, security, implementations and so on.
In a nutshell, the main difference between 3.4 and previous versions of Python comes down to improvements and changes. Such pieces include improved handling of codecs, an isolated mode command-line option, and pip always being available. In addition, a number of library modules have also been added.
Obviously, additions, changes and updates are designed to make things easier and more efficient while addressing issues with previous versions. Bringing things up to to par with other technologies and resources also plays a key role.
In the case of codecs handling, it's a matter of clarification of its purpose as a dynamic encoding and decoding system. The previous issue with codecs handling involved it essentially being tied up in and somewhat hidden by the Python text model. Not only does the addition/improvement of codecs handling make thing easier to find, it also allows for more transparent operations. Such a shift is worthwhile given that encoding and decoding makes up so much of the coding world as we know it.
Another change involves the isolated mode command-line option. Essentially this modification allows for a script to be isolated from the user's environment when it is being executed.
As for other changes, pip always being available is a plus. In past Python adaptations, it wasn't always included in the default installation. 3.4 changed that. Why is pip important? It's a package management system that can manage software packages written in Python. Obviously, pip is a useful tool when it comes to coding. With it you can easily install Python software packages.
As far as the new library modules go, they provide more efficient functionality from Python. Ensurepip brings a bundled copy of pip into play. In addition, a statistics module allows for some code statistics functionality directly in the standard library. There are quite a few more modules to consider, including asyncio, selectors and enum.
There are a number of different additions and improvements in Python 3.4. I've touched on some of them, but you can view the entire list on Python's site.
While such changes have gone a long way, Python 3.5 is just on the horizon. This version has yet to released on the Python site, but there are some known implementation improvements as well as improved modules and changes due to deprecation. Stay tuned.
Python has held up its weight in the past and continues to do so in the present. This has come about because of a commitment to providing the most up-to-date version of Python possible. With different technologies and resources constantly improving it stands to follow that Python must follow suit. That, in turn, leads to it being that much better. And with a new version coming out sometime in the next year there should be more improvements to come.