Python 3.9 was officially released on October 5, 2020. In my short time working with Python, it has become abundantly clear to me that one of the most important things to keep up with in the programming world is updates to the language. Too often I have found my code flagging errors simply because different versions of Python were installed, imported, or otherwise referenced. Fortunately, Python 4.0 won’t be coming out until 2025. So I feel safe updating myself on the latest version, confident I won’t have to repeat the process anytime soon.

Immediately from the documentation, certain features have been updated in 3.9. Chief among them, the import method has been updated to raise an ImportError statement instead of ValueError for improper import statments. This will help debugging greatly since it will be clear exactly where certain problems begin. In this same vein, 3.9 will use the absolute path of a script’s file name when importing. Asyncio has been removed.

Python 3.9 also improves the ability to manipulate data and their types, especially with dictionaries and strings. Strings now come with more methods and features that reduce the manual labor previously necessary to modify strings. When it comes to dictionaries, merging is now possible (or at least improved).

There are various ways of updated to 3.9. On ubuntu, you can install Python directly in the terminal, or using anaconda to install 3.9 with all of its libraries. If Python is already installed, an ‘update’ statement in the terminal will achieve the same effect.

Update: Python will be updated on a yearly cycle. Python 3.9 will be released shortly next year. Yearly updates will release less changes, but hopefully more effective ones.