Python For Dummies Paperback – Aug 29 2006
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From the Back Cover
Use Python to build programs, debug code, and simplify development
Wrap yourself up in the structures, libraries, and advanced features of Python
Looking for a powerful yet easy-to-read programming language? Then slither up to Python! This friendly reference introduces you to Python, the portable, interactive language that combines great power with clear syntax. Get familiar with Python's building blocks; work with strings, dictionaries, and sets; and find out everything you need to write a robust program.
Discover how to
- Process lists and tuples
- Direct a program with control structures
- Build applications with modules and packages
- Get a charge from the "batteries included" libraries
- Understand the new features of Python 2.5, including SQLite
About the Author
Stef Maruch got her hands on an original 128K Mac in 1984 and has been writing about computers ever since. She has over fifteen years’ experience in instructional design, writing, and editing end-user computer manuals, including tutorials and user’s guides for Apple Newton, HyperCard and HyperTalk, and DVD Studio Pro.
Aahz Maruch is a writer, trainer, and consultant who has been using Python for more than seven years. He has been using computers professionally for 20 years, and his background includes stints of high-end tech support, systems administration, and programming. Aahz is currently working as a programmer for a company with a Web-based application.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
I found the examples parsed in the chapters rather useless, and not practical. Since, I have found several useful on-line tutorials on [...] where the user is taken through the chapters in a gradual, progressive way. The examples and exercises in a beginner's book should be based on what is learned in the previous chapters, giving the reader the idea that what is learned is put in practice, thus easily assimilated.
I don't recommend this book for a complete novice, as she/he will lose interest in Python programming very easily! This book has the advantage of presenting the main and most important features of the Python programming language, but it sues a more advanced audience.
The low rating is indeed due to the non adequacy of the book for beginners and for not following the good standards of the "...for dummies" successful series.
I found myself getting bored at times. I can program in Perl and I started this book knowing I might be above the topics at times. I was looking to this book as an introduction to Python. The examples given were not as good as I would have liked. Overall, I don't think the presentation of topics were not good. For example, I thought two chapters on OOP was overkill for this type of book and probably should have been reduced to a chapter on the bigger things you may do.
I mention the examples again as I usually like to enter them for the fun of it. However, they really don't give a good feeling for the power of python.
I did like the spider example but it was lightly discussed.
The last two chapters I think were most useful for the links and other modules that were mentioned.
I should say glob was mentioned and I think the book should have talked about it more then just a passing mention.
So will I suggest this book? Probably not. It really depends on the person. I think it has to be a person that is between beginner and somebody who knows how to program.
Part 1 - Getting Started: Introducing Python; Getting Your Hands on the Keyboard - Using Help, Interactive Mode; and IDLE; Basic Elements and Syntax; Grand Tour of the Python Language; Working Like a Programmer
Part 2 - Building Blocks: So This Strings Walks into a Bar; Counting Your Way to Fun and Profit; Processing Lists and Tuples; Diving into Dictionaries
Part 3 - Structures: Staying in Control; Fun with Functions; Building Applications with Modules and Packages; Getting Classy; Introducing New-Style Classes; Feeling Exceptional; Tackling Some Advanced Features
Part 4 - Libraries: Using Python's Primary Services; Processing Text; Digging into Disk Data; Accessing the Internet
Part 5 - The Part of Tens: Ten Critical Python Idioms; Ten Great Resources
Part 6 - Appendixes: Getting and Installing Python; Python Version Differences
Python For Dummies starts out by explaining how Python came to be, why it's different than other languages, and what sort of applications are best suited for the Python approach. After that's out of the way, you get coverage of each Python feature and how it works. If you've ever gone through a book on a new programming language, you'll recognize the general layout and approach. The authors don't assume much prior programming experience (typical for a Dummies book), so the material is approachable and the writing is conversational in tone. I appreciated the section on "Working Like a Programmer", as it tries to establish proper development technique and mindset. Too often, books like this just toss out the features and no thought is given to grounding the reader in style. Unfortunately, that can lead to bad habits that are hard to correct down the road.
About the only thing I found lacking in this book were some larger, more comprehensive coding examples. Most of the code snippets are pretty small in nature, and aren't indicative of the type of programs you'd find in the wild. There are a couple larger examples, but I think it would have been nice to see a few more "real life" programs dissected and analyzed. Still, for someone getting started, you'll have enough to get started with...
If you're looking for a gentle introduction to Python to get your feet wet, this might be an option you'd like to consider...
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