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Beginning Python [Paperback]

Peter C. Norton , Alex Samuel , Dave Aitel , Eric Foster-Johnson , Leonard Richardson , Jason Diamond , Aleatha Parker , Michael Roberts
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
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Book Description

Aug. 5 2005 Programmer to Programmer
  • This tutorial offers readers a thorough introduction to programming in Python 2.4, the portable, interpreted, object-oriented programming language that combines power with clear syntax
  • Beginning programmers will quickly learn to develop robust, reliable, and reusable Python applications for Web development, scientific applications, and system tasks for users or administrators
  • Discusses the basics of installing Python as well as the new features of Python release 2.4, which make it easier for users to create scientific and Web applications
  • Features examples of various operating systems throughout the book, including Linux, Mac OS X/BSD, and Windows XP

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From the Back Cover

Beginning Python

As a portable, open source, object-oriented programming language, Python combines remarkable power with clear syntax. And, as one of the fastest growing languages, Python manages systems and can be used for data mining and Web development. With this book, you'll learn how to program using the latest release — Python 2.4 — and create robust, reliable, and reusable Python applications.

You'll quickly see why Python is an ideal first programming language to learn, both for its ease of use and the fact that it offers interpreters for most operating system platforms. This in-depth look at Python 2.4 examines how it has become even easier for you to tell a computer what tasks you want it to do in an environment where you are in control.

What you will learn from this book

  • Methods that can be used to quickly develop Web applications and scientific applications and to incorporate databases
  • How to master system tasks on Linux,® Windows,®and Mac OS® X platforms
  • How to handle — and recover from — any unforeseen problems
  • Ways in which Python prides itself on its consistency, control, and ability to cope with change
  • How Python incorporates modules, exceptions, dynamic typing, and very high level dynamic types and classes

Who this book is for

This book is for anyone who wants to learn how to program with Python or who wants to quickly learn how to use Python for rapid development of applications for the Web, scientific applications, bioinformatics, and applications for system tasks.

Wrox Beginning guides are crafted to make learning programming languages and technologies easier than you think, providing a structured, tutorial format that will guide you through all the techniques involved.

About the Author

Peter Norton (NY, NY) has been working with Unix and Linux for over a decade at companies large and small solving problems with Linux. An officer of the NY Linux Users Group, he can be found on the nylug-talk mailing list. Peter coauthored Professional RHEL3. He works for a very large financial company in NYC, plying his Python and open-source skills.

Alex Samuel (San Diego, CA) has developed software for biology researchers and now studies highenergy physics at Caltech. Alex has worked on many GNU/Linux development tools, including GCC, and co-founded CodeSourcery LLC, a consulting firm specializing in GNU/Linux development tools.

David Aitel (NY, NY) is the CEO of Immunity and a coauthor of Shellcoder’s Handbook.

Eric Foster-Johnson (Minneapolis, MN) uses Python extensively with Java, and is a veteran author, most recently completing Beginning Shell Scripting.

Leonard Richardson (San Francisco, CA) writes useful Python packages with silly names.

Jason Diamond (CA) Jason Diamond is a software development instructor for DevelopMentor and a consultant specializing in C++, .NET, Python, and XML. He spends most of his spare time contributing to open-source projects using his favorite language, Python.

Aleathea Parker (San Francisco CA) is a programmer working as a publication engineer for a major software company, coding primarily in Python and XSLT. She has a background in web applications and content management.

Michael Roberts (Puerto Rico) has been programming professionally in C, Perl, and Python for long enough that Python didn’t actually exist when he started. He is the chief perpetrator of the wftk open-source workflow toolkit, and he swears that it will someday be finished, for certain values of “finished”.


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The first thing you need to understand about computers when you're programming is that you control the computer. Read the first page
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Most helpful customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Book Nov. 24 2005
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
This book provides excellent tutorials on python. It builds upon programming from the ground up, unlike some other tutorials where the authors assume former programming knowledge from the readers.
If your a novice programmer looking to get a good foundation in Python, this is the book for you.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 2.2 out of 5 stars  11 reviews
24 of 24 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A good "getting started" title for Python... Aug. 6 2005
By Thomas Duff - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
Python is one of those programming languages I hear about a lot, but I've never taken the time to pick up a book and find out more about it. To fix that, I got a copy of Beginning Python (published by Wrox) by Peter Norton, Alex Samuel, David Aitel, Eric Foster-Johnson, Leonard Richardson, Jason Diamond, Aleatha Parker, and Michael Roberts. Not a bad title to use to get started...

Contents: Introduction; Programming Basics and Strings; Numbers and Operators; Variables - Names for Values; Making Decisions; Functions; Classes and Objects; Organizing Programs; Files and Directories; Other Features of the Language; Building a Module; Text Processing; Testing; Writing a GUI with Python; Accessing Databases; Using Python for XML; Network Programming; Extension Programming with C; Writing Shareware and Commercial Programs; Numerical Programming; Python in the Enterprise; Web Applications and Web Services; Integrating Java with Python; Answers to Exercises; Online Resources; What's New in Python 2.4; Glossary; Index

When I first started reading, I was a little disappointed at the target level. Up through about the Functions chapter, it's information that any programmer should already know (loops, variables, etc.) and would be best used by someone who had never programmed before in their life. While they do say that particular demographic is intended as a reader, I was hoping for more. From Classes on, it's material that squarely hits where intermediate programmers live and breathe, and it's at that point that the book takes off (in my opinion). Using the basic Python skills learned in the first section, you start to see how those concepts are applied in real programs that actually do stuff. And given the wide array of subjects they hit (C integration, GUI development, XML, etc.), you should quickly learn how best to use this language in many of the common situations you'll run into on a day-to-day basis. The writing style and format is consistent, as well as their use of examples throughout the book. You don't find yourself switching gears every few pages for some new contrived example that just came out of left field.

This is a book I'll be holding onto in order to free up time to get some hands-on experience with Python. It gives me what I need to know along with numerous ways to apply that knowledge, and from there I can decide how much further to take my learning...
14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Poor examples; There are much better books for learning Python Oct. 15 2006
By Jeff - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
I did not find this book very helpful for learning Python. First of all the book is not very informative. In each chapter, you are introduced to a new idea (e.g. lists) but you don't really learn much about it, different/creative ways to use it, or why you would want to.

Any book that purports to teach you a programming language ultimately passes or fails based on the examples it gives you in the text and the excercises it gives you at the end of each chapter. This is where the book is especially poor. There is only one example that runs throughout this book: how to make an omelet. On its own, it's not horrible. In general, program is like a recipe: you give it stuff at the begining and instructions and then you end up with a finished product (although, oddly, this analogy is never made in the book). The main problem, though, is that this is the only example. Every new idea is shown only once, in the context of this example, and many tricks that can be done with Python, but are not relevant to this example are not included in the book.

What's more, the excercizes are all keyed to the same example of making an omelet, which gets more and more ponderous with every passing chapter. Worst of all, as soon as your code no longer performs the way they describe, you're out of luck. You can no longer work through the ideas in the book and it is largely useless.

The bottom line is that there are much better books for learning Python. I would recomend getting "Learning Python" by Lutz and Ascher.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Riddled with Errata, confusing Dec 6 2010
By Angus Ware - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
This book is filled with errors and is completely useless if you don't follow the Author's train of thought because they happily jump from one concept to the other without any thought for the concepts that need to be explained in between. Topics are difficult to understand, explanations of the installation of the software they require you to use are limited (and the software is a pain the you know where).

I can't recommend this book to anyone other that the authors, because it seems to have only been written for themselves.
3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars It makes learning Python seem easy... March 16 2006
By Sandeep Gohad - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
My primary compliment to "Beginning Python" is that it makes learning Python seem easy. .

The book covers a lot of Python basics like strings, numbers, operators, variables. It also covers advanced topics like network programming, extending Python through C/C++, threading, GUI programming and Python with XML. In the end it discusses about the new features of Python release 2.4. Last Chapter "Integrating Java with Python" covers - scripting with java applications, Jython, integrating Java and Jython, J2EE servlets in Jython. I find it useful for both python and java programmer.

Book provides exercises at the end of every chapter, which can help you for self study and better understanding of the concepts. The explanations and the code throughout the book are easy to understand

I think this book would be a good choice for someone in the beginner to intermediate range. If you are a programmer (C, C++, Java, Perl) then it may be a little slow for you. A lot of time is put into syntax, control flow, and basic data structures, it can get a little difficult to digest. I thought more could have gone into topics like "Writing Shareware and Commercial programs".

I would highly recommend this book to anyone who wants to learn Python but is new to programming.
1.0 out of 5 stars Full of Errors and Typos Feb. 13 2013
By MusicologyFan74 - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
This book has hindered my learning of Python, not enhanced. It does cover many aspects of Python, but I have a hard time feeling like I can trust what is written in the later chapters, when the first chapters are so full of errata and typos. The explanations of the coding examples can be poor at times. It also jumps around a bit, instead of focusing on a concept and hammering it home. Also, I have reported errata to Wrox, via their website, but it has not been added to the list of known errata. Do not purchase this book. It will not serve as a decent reference and you will only end up confused when coding example after coding example only leave you scratching your head. They don't work like the book says they will, or they only end up giving you errors when you try to execute them. In a book that is over 550 pages of text, I have found errors on pages 24, 31, 37, and 50.
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