What Is The Difference Between Py And Pyw File?

In Python, both .py and .pyw files are used for writing and executing Python code, but there is a subtle difference between them based on how they are executed on different platforms.

.py Files:

  • .py Files:
    • These are standard Python script files.
    • When you run a .py file, it will open a console or terminal window to execute the code, and the window will remain open until the code completes.
    • This can be useful for seeing output, debugging, and interacting with the script through input.

Here’s a simple example of a .py file:

Let’s say you want to create a Python script that calculates the factorial of a given number. You can save this code in a file named factorial.py:

def factorial(n):
    if n == 0 or n == 1:
        return 1
        return n * factorial(n - 1)

number = int(input("Enter a number: "))
result = factorial(number)
print(f"The factorial of {number} is {result}")

When you run this .py file, it will open a console window, prompt you to enter a number, calculate its factorial, and then display the result in the console.

To run this script, you would typically open a terminal or command prompt, navigate to the directory where factorial.py is located, and then execute the script using the python command:

python factorial.py

The console window will remain open until the script finishes executing.

Remember to have Python installed on your system to be able to run .py files.

.pyw Files:

  • .pyw Files:
    • These are Python script files intended for Windows systems.
    • When you run a .pyw file, it will execute the code without opening a console window.
    • This is more suitable for scripts with graphical interfaces or those that don’t require direct console interaction.
    • The absence of a console window makes the execution less obtrusive and more user-friendly.

Simple example of a .pyw file:

Here’s an example of a .pyw file that creates a simple graphical user interface (GUI) using the tkinter library:

Let’s assume you want to create a basic GUI application that allows the user to click a button and display a “Hello, World!” message. You can save this code in a file named hello_gui.pyw:

import tkinter as tk

def display_message():
    message_label.config(text="Hello, World!")

# Create the main window
root = tk.Tk()
root.title("Hello GUI")

# Create a label to display the message
message_label = tk.Label(root, text="")

# Create a button to trigger the message display
show_button = tk.Button(root, text="Show Message", command=display_message)

# Start the GUI event loop

When you run this .pyw file on a Windows system, it will execute the GUI code without opening a console window. A graphical window will appear with a button. When you click the button, the label below it will change to display “Hello, World!”

To run this script, you can simply double-click the hello_gui.pyw file, and the GUI window will appear. Since this is a .pyw file, there won’t be a console window alongside the GUI window.

Remember that the tkinter library comes pre-installed with Python, so you don’t need any additional installations to run this example.

If you have a script that opens a graphical user interface (GUI) using a library like tkinter, it might be better to use a .pyw extension to prevent a console window from appearing alongside the GUI window.

On non-Windows platforms like macOS and Linux, the distinction between .py and .pyw is less relevant, as both extensions generally behave the same way (i.e., they open a terminal/console window).

Choice between using .py and .pyw largely depends on the intended execution environment and whether you want to show a console window alongside your script’s execution or not.

What is the full form of PYW extension?

The .pyw extension in Python files stands for “Python Windows.” It is used to indicate Python script files that are intended to be executed on Windows systems without opening a console window. The “w” in the extension is often associated with “windowed” execution, indicating that the script will run with a graphical user interface (GUI) or other types of applications that don’t require a visible console window.

What’s the difference between Python exe and Pythonw exe?

The primary difference between python.exe and pythonw.exe lies in how they handle the execution of Python scripts on Windows systems:

  1. python.exe:
    • python.exe is the standard Python interpreter executable on Windows.
    • When you run a Python script using python.exe, it opens a console window along with the script’s execution. This console window displays standard input/output, and it’s useful for scripts that require user input or for seeing real-time output.
    • This is the default behavior when you run Python scripts from the command prompt.
  2. pythonw.exe:
    • pythonw.exe is designed for running Python scripts without opening a console window, specifically for graphical applications or scripts that don’t require direct console interaction.
    • When you run a Python script using pythonw.exe, it executes the script without displaying a console window. This is especially useful for creating GUI applications using libraries like tkinter, where you want the graphical interface to be the primary user interaction point.
    • The “w” in pythonw.exe stands for “windowed,” indicating that it’s intended for running applications that don’t need a visible console window.

The choice between python.exe and pythonw.exe depends on whether your script is a command-line application that benefits from console interaction or a graphical application that should run without a console window. Use python.exe for scripts that require console input/output, and use pythonw.exe for graphical applications to avoid console window interference.

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  • Muhammad Nabil

    I am a skilled and experienced Python developer with a huge passion for programming and a keen eye for details. I earned a Bachelor's degree in Computer Engineering in 2019 from the Modern Academy for Engineering and Technology. I am passionate about helping programmers write better Python code, and I am confident that I can make a significant contribution to any team. I am also a creative thinker who can come up with new and innovative ways to improve the efficiency and readability of code. My specialization includes Python, Django, SQL, Apache NiFi, Apache Hadoop, AWS, and Linux (CentOS and Ubuntu). Besides my passion for Python, I am a solo traveler who loves Pink Floyd, online video games, and Italian pizza.

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