Olli-Pekka Heinisuo
Perustaja, Senior Software Architect
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Don't Get Left Behind: Upgrade to Python 3

If you are a business that uses Python, you might know that Python version 2 was deprecated already in 2020 and has had no official support or new updates since. The final remnants of Python 2 are now being removed also from the popular Linux distribution Debian. While it took a while for the open-source world to transition to Python 3, most organizations should have already made the switch to Python 3 to be able to use a modern Python stack to develop their applications.

However, the unfortunate fact is that many businesses still depend on legacy Python 2 software that has not been updated in years. If you are still using Python 2, it's time to make the switch to Python 3. By continuing to use Python 2, you are missing out on important updates and support, and your applications may become vulnerable to security risks. More importantly, developers may not be willing to work on Python 2 projects, as they will be focusing on the latest version of the language.

Upgrading Python 2 software to Python 3

As time goes by, it becomes increasingly difficult to migrate legacy Python applications to Python 3. In many cases, a full rewrite is needed since many libraries that the Python 2 software depends on might have changed their interfaces significantly or simply deprecated altogether. This is something that must be evaluated case by case.

In some cases, some automated conversion scripts can be used, but there will always be lots of manual work to do. While the syntax itself might be compatible with Python 3 after an automated conversion tool, the libraries have to be manually audited and removed, upgraded, or replaced. Depending on the effort, it might be faster and easier to start over and design the whole software architecture from scratch. At the same time, you can utilize the latest features and take care that you’ll not end up in a similar situation in the future.

The Python Release Schedule

Since 2019, a new Python version has been released every year (PEP 602). The yearly release cycle enables you to get new features and performance improvements faster than ever before. This means also that you must pay attention to your software development processes and aim for yearly Python version bumps. This ensures that the software stays up-to-date and gains all the speed improvements that new Python releases have to offer. Additionally, it keeps your developers satisfied as they get to use the latest and greatest features in Python.

Python release schedule

Check out the up-to-date table from endoflife.date. For example, at the time of writing this post, Python 3.7 is going to be deprecated in 4 months and Python 3.12 is released soon after that.

Conclusion

In conclusion, upgrading to Python 3 is a critical step for businesses that use Python in their operations. With Python version 2 already deprecated, businesses that continue to rely on legacy Python 2 software are missing out on important updates and support, as well as exposing themselves to potential security risks.

As time goes by, it becomes more difficult to migrate legacy Python 2 applications to Python 3. The process may require a full rewrite or extensive manual work, depending on the complexity of the software and the dependencies. The best course of action may be to start over with a new design that takes advantage of the latest features in Python 3.

We are happy to help with the migration or rewrite. We have extensive experience with both Python 2 and 3 and the Python ecosystem in general. Check out our blog post about Python-based hardware testing. Don’t hesitate to contact us if you have any Python-related issues!