6 Python Projects to Improve Your Skills and Kill Some Time

If you’re stuck at home, now is the time to polish your skills with these inspirations for fun projects

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Photo by James Pond on Unsplash

1. Create a game

I bet you never considered creating a game with Python. But why not? There are awesome libraries that will help you develop games. So let’s help your kids, your partner, or your colleagues get through this crisis with a fun game!

Pygame

Pygame is a cross-platform set of Python modules designed for writing video games. It includes computer graphics and sound libraries. Here are a few tutorials you can try:

Pyglet

Instead of Pygame, you may also look into Pyglet. It is a Python library for developing games and other visually-rich applications. You can start by following the official documentation.

Panda3D

Panda 3D is a game engine that includes graphics, audio, I/O, collision detection, and other abilities relevant to the creation of 3D games. Its core is written in C++, so it’s very fast. Lucky for us, we can use the library from Python!

Panda3D has been used to create commercial games as well as some open-source ones. If you always wanted to dive into 3D game programming, this is the time. Start with the official manual.

2. Build a website

This one is a little less original, sure, but it is a very important skill to have! There are several frameworks that help you build a Python-based website. One of the most well know is Django. It’s very extensive and can be used to create complex websites. You can start with the official tutorial, It’s excellent.

Another option is Flask. It’s more lightweight and easier to start with while offering enough to create a relatively simple website.

Once you’ve got the basics, here are some ideas to try:

  • Your own blog
  • A simple online shop
  • A shopping list
  • A database of jokes or inspirational quotes

3. Create a GUI with Tkinter

Python has a powerful base library to create GUI applications. Many people, including me, use Python mostly for scripting and for backend code. But there are actually quite a few Python GUI applications too!

One thing to note is that tkinter has been around for a while. Many tutorials you’ll find are written for Python 2. You can quickly recognize these tutorials because they use Tkinter (with capital T), like this:

# don't follow tutorials that start with:
import Tkinter

While more recent tutorial will use the new, lower-case library name:

# Look for this instead:
import tkinter

A nice tutorial to get you started can be found here.

Here are a few ideas you can build once you mastered the basics:

  • A To-Do application
  • A notes application
  • A calculator
  • A weather app (see tip #5 as well)

4. Build a jokes web service

Another useful skill to possess is the ability to create web services using Python. There are several frameworks that make this task super easy. These are the most recommended ones:

  • Falcon is completely focussed on creating web APIs. It’s very fast.
  • Flask is a lightweight web framework, which is also suitable for creating services.

You can pick either. An advantage of Flask is it's multi-purpose: you can also use it to create websites.

An idea to get you started is to build a web service that serves jokes. For this purpose, I would recommend diving into sqlite3 as well.

5. Fetch data from the web

Python is ideal for fetching information from the web. There are some terrific libraries that will do all the grunt work for you. I’ll list my top 3 here.

Requests

Requests is a Python HTTP client. It makes web requests really simple. Many people prefer it over the other available options.

Just to show how easy requests can be, here’s some example code:

Scrapy crawler

If you want to fetch more than a couple of fixed URLs, you should look into Scrapy. It can be used to build a full-fledged web spider, that can discover new pages on its own within set limits.

Beautiful soup

Once you’ve pulled some HTML from a website, you need to parse it to get what you actually need. Beautiful Soup is a Python library for pulling data out of HTML and XML files. It is very powerful and is able to handle all kinds of HTML, even if it’s broken.

6. Explore some cool tricks and libraries

If you don’t feel like building something yourself right now, you can explore some cool Python tricks and libraries instead. I wrote two articles that will serve this purpose.

The first one is a list of the most used Python packages in the world:

The second is a list of best practices, tips, tricks, and some very nice Python packages:

That’s it — thanks for reading and happy coding! If you liked this, follow me on Twitter to keep up with my latest work.

Written by

Software developer by day, writer at night. Author of python3.guide, where you can start learning Python today

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