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Python: Create - Modify - Reuse [Paperback]

James O. Knowlton

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Book Description

July 8 2008
Python: Create-Modify-Reuse is designed for all levels of Python developers interested in a practical, hands-on way of learning Python development. This book is designed to show you how to use Python (in combination with the raw processing power of your computer) to accomplish real-world tasks in a more efficient way. Don't look for an exhaustive description of the Python language––you won't find it. The book's main purpose is not to thoroughly cover the Python language, but rather to show how you can use Python to create robust, real-world applications.

This book is for developers with some experience with Python who want to explore how to develop full-blown applications. It is also for developers with experience in other languages who want to learn Python by building robust applications. It is well-suited for developers who like to “learn by doing,” rather than exploring a language feature by feature. To get the most out of the book, you should understand basic programming principles.

This book starts with a basic overview of the Python language, designed for those familiar with other languages but new to Python. It is followed by several chapters, each of which describes a complete project that can be used as-is or modified and extended to suit your particular purposes. You'll find applications that access databases, take advantage of web technologies, and facilitate network communications, to name a few. In addition, and more important than the technologies you will be introduced to, you will learn how to use Python to solve real challenges. Following these chapters are two chapters that cover accessing operating system resources and debugging and testing, respectively.

This book is framed around the code itself. This is because developers are typically looking for how to do something; and, as with many activities, you learn how to do something by watching how others do and trying it yourself. If you want to know how a for loop works, you'll find for loops in my code, but that's not the thrust of the book. Instead, this book shows you how to do things: how to build a content management system, how to build a test management system, how to set up a system for tracking customer follow-up, and so on. Along the way, you'll learn how to communicate with a SQL database, how to act as a web server or communicate with one, how to access operating system services, and more.


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Product Description

From the Back Cover

Python: Create-Modify-Reuse

Aimed at all levels of Python developers who are interested in a task-based way of learning Python development, this hands-on book shows how you can efficiently use Python to create robust, real-world applications. After a brief primer on this object-oriented, interactive programming language, you will jump right into practical Python development so that you can create useful, streamlined scripts that are easy to maintain and enhance, and that you can immediately put to use in the real world.

Each chapter features a complete project that you can use as it currently exists or modify to suit your particular purposes. Among these projects you'll find applications that access databases, take advantage of web technologies, facilitate network communications, and more. Plus, you'll also explore more advanced topics such as accessing operating system resources, writing scripts that are easy to read and maintain, and debugging and testing. However, even more important than the technologies you will be introduced to, you will learn how to use Python to solve real challenges.

What you will learn from this book

  • The various technologies and techniques that are available to Python developers

  • Ways to communicate with an SQL database

  • Tips for acting as a web server or communicating with one

  • How to access and manipulate XML files

  • Techniques for building a content management system

  • Ways to access and communicate with your operating system

Who this book is for
This book is for developers who want to explore how to develop full-blown applications with Python. A general understanding of basic programming principles and object-oriented design is helpful.

Create – Modify – Reuse guides are packed with unique, ready-to-use projects that are perfect for the busy programmer. The projects are created with minimal set-up, and can be modified, enhanced, and reused in real-world situations.

About the Author

Jim Knowlton is a software quality engineer with Automatic Data Processing (ADP), Inc., where he leads quality assurance efforts on ADP ’ s computer telephony integration and network video projects. He has been instrumental in introducing automated testing methodologies to their QA effort. He has more than fifteen years of experience in the software industry, including clients such as Symantec, Novell, Nike, and Zions Bank. He has extensive experience in open - source technologies, including Python, Ruby, PHP, Apache, and MySQL, and has also worked extensively in the areas of systems management and enterprise security. Jim holds a bachelor of arts degree in management and is currently working on a master of software engineering degree at Portland State University.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
Browse Sample Pages
Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 2.8 out of 5 stars  5 reviews
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Wanted to like this book but just couldn't Jan. 16 2010
By Aaron Dutton - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
I really wanted to like this book. As a professional C# developer, I have been learning Python the last few weeks. I got this book in hopes that it would provide some interesting projects.

I could not bring myself to like this book. It was a painful read because this book demonstrates poor and obsolete programming practices. I feel like this book would probably set a beginner back instead of helping them move forward. I would recommend almost any other Python book over this one.

The book does have seven fairly interesting projects, covering a wide breadth of the Python standard library (xml parsing, database access, file input/output, etc) and some web-based projects. That is why I wanted to like it. It covers interesting topics. However, this is not enough to make up for the sloppy editing, obsolete user interfaces, and poor programming practices. I will detail some of the problems below.

Sloppy editing - For example, look at the code sample at the top of page 31. This wouldn't even "compile" in Python's editor IDLE, because of the incorrect indenting.

....elif choice == "4":
........snapshothelper.showHelp()
.........else:
........if choice != "5":
............snapshothelper.invalidChoice()

The "else:" is intended wrong and then on page 32 the same code is excerpted except it has been copied incorrectly:
....elif choice == "4":
........snapshothelper.showHelp()
....else:
.........snapshothelper.invalidChoice()

You can see that the author corrected a mistake in the main block of code but then did not correct it in the excerpt.

This is just the tip of the iceberg for code blocks that will cause errors upon running them inside Python.

On to the next problem - The user interface for the command-line projects looks like something out of MS-DOS 3.1. In other words, it is extremely outdated, cumbersome and it's not even programmed effectively. The error messages are obtuse and don't even cover all the cases. Frankly, I expect a lot more from an author with an extensive background in testing. For example, in page 70, the "elif" block never checks for choices that are not 1 through 5. If you have an invalid choice it will cause a SQL error and print the error message "THERE WAS A PROBLEM MODIFYING THE RECORD" even though the error was caused by an invalid choice.

My final complaint is that the author does not follow Pythonic practices or even best practices from other languages. For example, the Try-Except blocks (page 79 for example) include large swaths of code instead of just the small section that will actually throw the exception. Also, the Except clause does not catch particular error classes but instead every error. These violate basic best practices for any language. Another example of not being very Pythonic is the lack of list comprehensions like on page 37 (also note that this sample includes inconsistent indentation and would likely cause the Python interpreter to fail):
....for item in filelist:
............if item.find(extension) != -1:
................snaplist.append(item)

This could easily be re-written in the Pythonic way:
....snaplist = [for item in filelist if item.find(extension) = -1]

Unfortunately, I could go on and on talking about things I don't like about this book. The bottom line is that I don't recommend it.
8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Mediocre book and poor accompanying source Sept. 21 2008
By B. Bowling - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
I was very disappointed by this book. I have come to expect more from WROX than this. If I was given this book without a cover, I would never have guessed the title. The book is organized more like a cookbook of projects that each illustrate a particular point or technique than a book titled "Create - Modify - Reuse".

The source code in the book is broken into fragments and isn't usable by itself. You will need to download the accompanying source from the publisher to run the programs. Unfortunately too much of the downloaded source is broken and has to be fixed before it will run. The style and organization of the code reminds me of a first year student's programming assignment.

I'm just glad I only borrowed this book from the library and it had to go back anyway.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Broad overviews April 3 2010
By Christopher Overton - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This is not a bad book, it just isn't a book for beginners. There is not a whole lot in the way of troubleshooting and if something that the book has you do does not work you more or less have to hack the code together yourself to get things off the ground. The community site that partners with this book and others in the series is a wasteland really. It doesn't seem to be active with many of the forum section completely barren and the forums sections with discussions have been inactive for several months if not years. In other words don't expect a whole lot of support from anywhere regarding what you read here. All in all though the book does have some interesting coding and can really help broaden intermediate coders perspectives on how to code in Python.
1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good for 2 days weekend to learn your new powerful language Oct. 26 2008
By Jedt Sitthidumrong - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
Well, not that bad 1 star.

I've tried to find a book that teach me python about, command line interactive, file read/write, CSV & MySQL full application (not a GUI but in the console interactive).

All of the examples are using project as a guideline. The code is easy to follow and the author explain well (IMO, a bit too detail for the some same topic that no needs to explain)

So, in the nature of Python, we have to download additional libraries mostly. So, for most the code examples are work for me.

I'm happy about this book very much. SInce I'm looking for a book that can teach me Python in a few days and can read + understand how to use python in each project by reading the book mostly. So, I can now move to the more detail books like Core Python or Python in Nut Shell, etc.

What I would like the book to have is about using web framework like Django, TurboGears or Pylon. The book use Plone. No question about how good Plone is but the little chapter for it is too superficial for Plone and it can be read from many websites. So, I think it'd be a popular and more lightweight framework like Django, Pylon, TurboGears.

If anyone have a few days even far from your computer. You can learn Python easily by the book and for most programmer, it's no need to type (but recommend) since the book describe the code in detail.

Recommend for people who want to know python quickly. Then you'll jump to next Python books like me :-)
2 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Learn Quickly by Doing Nov. 2 2008
By V. Berube - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
The approach that the book takes really caters to my learning style i.e. learning by doing. Normally the programs you write in IT books are useless but to my delight, most programs in this book (8 in total) have potential for immediate usage at home and at work, which makes it that much more rewarding to go through them.

This is a great way to quickly learn programming for those of you that already know some of the basics. I can't wait to see more books out of the "Create - Modify - Reuse" series.

The author also makes it really clear that the first examples are not optimally designed in order to keep things as clear and simple as possible - OOA&D snobs should look elsewhere. Besides, starting a little loose on encapsulation just affords more repetition to reinforce the key Python concepts.

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