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Python 3.9: What’s new and better

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Python 3.9: What’s new and better

Python 3.9, released today, brings forward significant changes to both the features of the language and to how the language is developed. Python has mushroomed in popularity the last few years, and its use has exploded in rapidly evolving areas such as data science and machine learning. The project is working hard to keep pace with all of the new demands. 

Here is a rundown of all of the big new features in Python 3.9.

Python switches to a yearly release cycle

Up until this point, Python has been developed and released on an eighteen-month cadence. PEP 602 proposed that the Python development team adopt an annual release cycle, and that proposal has been accepted. 

An annual release cycle means fewer features per release, but it also means faster feedback on feature testing, fewer potentially breaking changes for each release, and thus more incentive for users and Linux distribution managers to upgrade Python more often. It also means new features proposed late in the development cycle won’t take as long to be rolled into a new release.

The new timeline means Python 3.9 will ship in October 2020. Python 3.10 officially started pre-alpha development on May 19, 2020, will enter the alpha development phase when Python 3.9 ships, and will ship in October 2021. Future Python releases will follow the same pattern.

Python becomes faster by default

Every revision of Python enjoys performance improvements over the previous version. Python 3.9 rolls in two big improvements that boost performance without requiring any changes to existing code.

Copyright © 2020 IDG Communications, Inc.

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