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Learning Python Paperback – 2 Jan 2004

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Product details

  • Paperback: 624 pages
  • Publisher: O'Reilly Media; 2 edition (2 Jan. 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0596002815
  • ISBN-13: 978-0596002817
  • Product Dimensions: 17.8 x 2.8 x 23.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 2.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 775,731 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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Product Description


"Overall, if you do some work with Python, you will benefit from owning this book." Sam Smith -- news@UK, March

From the Publisher

Learning Python, Second Edition offers programmers a comprehensive learning tool for Python and object-oriented programming. Thoroughly updated, this guide introduces the basic elements of the latest release of Python 2.3 and covers new features, such as list comprehensions, nested scopes, and iterators/generators.

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Customer Reviews

2.8 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

14 of 14 people found the following review helpful By W. O. Smith VINE VOICE on 5 Aug. 2005
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
If, like me and many other programmers, you are already somewhat familiar with C++ and Perl, you'll find this book slow moving. I would guess that few people start with Python as their first major programming language.
I'm about 40% through the book and we've only just covered function calls, and nothing OO. There's only been 4 or 5 new concepts so far that aren't identical to other common languages.
The author does go some way towards saying "this is similar to the C idea of ..." or "those familiar with C++ will recognise the similarities...". But what would be really useful would be a big bar next to the few concepts that are fundamentally different, saying "!!!Python Specific!!!" or something.
Having said that, there's few typos and the writing style is reasonable. I'd like to give it 3.5 stars really.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Steampunk TOP 500 REVIEWER on 7 April 2008
Format: Paperback
While this book may be helpful to experienced programmers who are new to Python, it's emphatically not for those who are hoping to learn programming.

The authors claim that the only prerequisite for readers is that they know how to use a computer. Sorry, but this really isn't the case at all.

I don't think I'm a total beginner - In the past, I've had some experience of writing both games and business applications - but after a few weeks of trying to use this book, I've had enough.

Essentially, here's what to expect from the average chapter: 30 or 40 pages of dry as dust descriptions of various aspects of the language, mostly without any hint of why they are useful or important. The examples given along the way are mostly just 2 or three line of coding which still fail to give the slightest hint why the particular command is useful or worth remembering. Those who have previous programming experience will already know, but this is supposed to be a book for beginners, who will just be increasingly confused.

Finally, after all the many, many pages of explanations, you get a page or two of practical exercises. Alas, by this time the beginner has forgotten the reams of information already provided, having had no incentive to remember it in the first place.

My 2-star review is based on the fact that this book markets itself as being for total beginners. It isn't. If you are an experienced programmer looking to learn Python, this book MIGHT be for you. If you're a beginner looking to learn programming, this book has only one use: as a cure for insomnia.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Mr. R. Agnew on 26 April 2008
Format: Paperback
I've been learning Python from this book now for a few months. The book is well written, it's clear and the authors 'take care' of the reader. However I doubt whether many total beginners (as I was and still am) are going to read this book and finish feeling that they can now go away and start to work out how to write a decent, simple program. The problem as I see it is that whilst there are good, well explained examples of what a FOR loop might be, and what you would be typing if you want to use functions, WHY you might be wanting to do this is often not covered. It's a bit like learning French by learning the punctuation, the alphabet, the pronunciation, and the vocabulary without knowing what the meaning of the words are, how they are used or how to make sentences. Many more examples of how one might display graphical output for budding gamewriters, or how one might use Windows style interfaces for those who want to write applications are needed for the content of this book to make sense. What is missing here is 'the point' behind learning to program. It's a very 'bottom-up' approach.

Having said that, this book is great for when you might need clarification on elements of Python, and as a general detailed resource on Python fundamentals.
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