"The first two parts of this series gave you a pretty
compelling shove into the world of Python. By now you have a firm
grasp on Python fundamentals, and are in a good position to
approach any project with Python."
"There is another side to Python that we haven't looked at yet,
however. Two of Python's characteristics briefly mentioned in Part
1 were extensibility and embeddability. When a language (or any
system, for that matter) is extensible, it means it can be modified
to perform new tasks not part of the original system, or altered so
that existing tasks function differently. If it is embeddable, it
can be linked with a separate system to provide the functionality
of one system to the other. In Python's case, it is typically
embedded in an application in order to offer a scripting language
as a convenient way to control the application's behaviour (an IRC
scripting language, for example). In Part 3, we're going to look
closely at Python's extensibility, and in particular the Python/C
API. Once you have a firm grasp on the API, embedding Python is not
a huge challenge...."
"All Python objects have a reference count. When an object is
initialized, its reference count is set to 1. When other objects
want to hold a reference to it (that object is added to a list,
say), its reference count must be increased. When that other object
no longer needs a reference, the reference count is decremented.
When an object's reference count reaches 0, it is destroyed. This
is reference counting in a nutshell."
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