Overview of Stackless Python

You’ve probably heard of the Python programming language before, but have you heard of Stackless Python? Also known simply as “Stackless,” it’s actually an interpreter of Python. To learn more about Stackless Python and how it works, keep reading.

The Basics

Stackless Python receives its namesake from the fact that it uses the C call stack for its own stack. As explained by BitBucket.org, it’s an enhanced version of the Python programming language, featuring all of the functions of “vanilla” Python but without the problems of conventional threads. This makes it a popular choice among seasoned and inexperienced coders alike, many of whom prefer Stackless Python over its counterpart

Stackless Python is an enhanced version of the Python programming language. It allows programmers to reap the benefits of thread-based programming without the performance and complexity problems associated with conventional threads,” explained BitBucket.org.

Design

Programs executed in Stackless Python are segmented into microthreads — and these microthreads are managed by the language rather than the operating system kernal. Microthreads are a huge component of Stackless Python, and they are considered an alternative to the traditional event-based programming system.

It’s important to note, however, that Stackless Python cannot be installed on a Python installation as neither an extension nor a library. Rather, it’s a complete Python distribution.

Features

There are several key features in Stackless Python worth noting. Arguably, the biggest feature is microthreading, which eliminates many of the headaches associated with traditional operating system threads. Microthreading wraps functions so they can be launched as microthreads.

The use of channels is another feature included in Stackless Python. Channels are used for bidirectional communication between multiple tasklets. The channels themselves do not contain data. They do, however, transmit objects between a sender and the tasklet, in the appropriate order according to the stated receiving queue.

Other features of Stackless Python includes tasklet scheduling and the ability to serialize tasklets to a disk through pickling.

How to Get Started

If you’re interested in using Stackless Python, you’ll need to download the interpreter and its associated files, all of which can be accessed through this download link. There’s also a helpful archived tutorial on how to get started with Stackless Python. Like most programming languages, though, practice makes perfect. So download the compiler and start tinkering with your code.

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