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Learning Python [Paperback]

Mark Lutz
3.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
RRP: 41.99
Price: 32.49 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
You Save: 9.50 (23%)
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Book Description

6 July 2013 1449355730 978-1449355739 5

Get a comprehensive, in-depth introduction to the core Python language with this hands-on book. Based on author Mark Lutz’s popular training course, this updated fifth edition will help you quickly write efficient, high-quality code with Python. It’s an ideal way to begin, whether you’re new to programming or a professional developer versed in other languages.

Complete with quizzes, exercises, and helpful illustrations, this easy-to-follow, self-paced tutorial gets you started with both Python 2.7 and 3.3— the latest releases in the 3.X and 2.X lines—plus all other releases in common use today. You’ll also learn some advanced language features that recently have become more common in Python code.

  • Explore Python’s major built-in object types such as numbers, lists, and dictionaries
  • Create and process objects with Python statements, and learn Python’s general syntax model
  • Use functions to avoid code redundancy and package code for reuse
  • Organize statements, functions, and other tools into larger components with modules
  • Dive into classes: Python’s object-oriented programming tool for structuring code
  • Write large programs with Python’s exception-handling model and development tools
  • Learn advanced Python tools, including decorators, descriptors, metaclasses, and Unicode processing

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Product details

  • Paperback: 1600 pages
  • Publisher: O'Reilly Media; 5 edition (6 July 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1449355730
  • ISBN-13: 978-1449355739
  • Product Dimensions: 23.6 x 18 x 7.1 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 38,660 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

More About the Author

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Product Description

Book Description

Powerful Object-Oriented Programming

About the Author

Mark Lutz is a leading Python trainer, the author of Python’s earliest and best-selling texts, and a pioneering figure in the Python world.

Mark is the author of the three O’Reilly books: Learning Python, Programming Python, and Python Pocket Reference, all currently in fourth or fifth editions. He has been using and promoting Python since 1992, started writing Python books in 1995, and began teaching Python classes in 1997. As of Spring 2013, Mark has instructed 260 Python training sessions, taught roughly 4,000 students in live classes, and written Python books that have sold 400,000 units and been translated to at least a dozen languages.

Together, his two decades of Python efforts have helped to establish it as one of the most widely used programming languages in the world today. In addition, Mark has been in the software field for 30 years. He holds BS and MS degrees in computer science from the University of Wisconsin where he explored implementations of the Prolog language, and over his career has worked as a professional software developer on compilers, programming tools, scripting applications, and assorted client/server systems.

Mark maintains a training website (http://learning-python.com) and an additional book support site on the Web (http://www.rmi.net/~lutz).

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not suitable for beginners 29 Aug 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This book is huge and goes into vast detail. There is considerable repetition, and it is jargon heavy. If you are an experienced programmer who came up via the computer science route, it will all make sense and you will be able to relate it to things you already know about. If not, you could find yourself drowning in a sea of words.
I'm leaving this review because I think the title is a bit misleading. The blurb describes it as an "easy to follow self-paced tutorial". I would not use this book as a general textbook to learn Python in this way. It is quite abstract. For instance, when the author starts on OOP, he seems to focus on how Python implements OO internally. The way that the interpreter searches for class members up a tree is part of the technical detail of the language itself, but it isn't much use to a programmer who just wants to convert some OO code from another language into Python, or someone who doesn't yet understand OO. At one point the author seems to be reassuring his audience that this OO stuff isn't really a new paradigm, it's just a slightly different way of doing the same thing that is already done by modules and packages.
I think the main use for this book is for someone who finds himself in a new job where there is a lot of pre-existing Python code to be maintained and added to, and where over the years a number of different approaches have been used so that he is constantly coming across new usage patterns, or the same thing done in different ways. For this, it is very good because of its exhaustive attention to detail. For someone who just wants to learn the basics of a programming language, this book could be extremely off-putting.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Needs condensing 31 Mar 2014
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
The first thing that strikes you about this book is that it's big. 1500 pages big. Big enough that physically handling the book is inconvenient.

Upon reading it, you'll see that much of the size comes from repetition. Many of the chapters present alternative ways to do the same thing, often using this technique as an explanatory device; yet somehow, the author manages the doublethink of continually repeating the Python "There should be one-- and preferably only one --obvious way to do it" mantra.

The order in which the material is presented is wrong. The book explains Python's basic types before its syntax; this means it's 300 pages in before you can actually start writing code that does anything. It's 473 pages in before the concept of a function is introduced; even if this text was written for those who had done no previous programming at all, this seems bizarre. Obviously the sections on types have to talk a little bit about syntax and functions (otherwise you wouldn't be able to say anything about what those types actually do in the first few chapters), which is yet again a recipe for repetition.

Exercises are few and far between. There are "quizzes" at the end of each chapter, but they're very simple, knowledge-based questions which don't require you to write code. Programming is learned by doing, so you'll need to invent your own projects to do if you want to learn with this book.

If you can ignore the structural defects, the book is beautifully written at the detailed level, and the code examples are of a high standard. It is highly readable - you won't need to continually re-read to understand what's going on - but the repetition means you will find yourself skimming or skipping large sections of the text.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Kindle edition is rubbish 24 Sep 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Hopeless on kindle. Can't skip by chapter, index stretches over many pages etc. Attempting to "return" this copy.

Nothing wrong with the book at all. It's an established "go to" book.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great book, but don't start here. 18 Jan 2014
By Nick
Format:Kindle Edition
This is a very detailed book on Python, that teaches well and serves as an excellent reference. However, I wouldn't recommend it if you have no programming experience. There are some easier books to get started and this book serves better as an intermediate level text in my experience. Try Python Programming for Absolute Beginners and then polish your skills with this book.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Laborious, boring and far too verbose 6 Jan 2014
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
It's frustrating to find an author with such a wealth of knowledge who is unable to communicate it in a way which is easily digestible. There are simply too many unnecessary words in this book. It makes finding the content you want difficult, and learning from the content both laborious and boring. This book would benefit from a ruthless editor who could chop it down to half or even a third of the size whilst losing little of the important concepts of python.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Informative but too long 24 Aug 2014
By Jakub
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
The book is huge and gives a reader a deep understanding of Python both in 2.X and 3.X versions.
Everything is explained from all possible angles and with many (really, many) examples.
Why 3/5 then?

Well, often during reading this book I had a feeling, that the author was being paid by the number of pages. Often he described even the simplest ideas on two pages and repeated himself over and over again. Frankly, sometimes I thought that that he thinks a reader is an idiot.

Also the huge number of examples isn't such a great thing considering that after 5 or 10 trivial examples and getting what the idea is, you would expect a few more advanced to keep your brain working. But no, after that you get another 5 or 10 trivial examples which are just too similar to the previous ones. As a result most of this book is horribly boring (and that's really a lot of pages).

So to summarize - the book itself contains a great dose of knowledge but the same could've been fit to the half of the volume without losing any bit of information and understandability.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Content is great, the way it's presented is not..
Incredible amount of information, giving you a full guide of the language.
However, the book (as others have said) is excessively repetitive, and code is presented to you... Read more
Published 1 month ago by Fabian Whitaker
1.0 out of 5 stars Good book, but useless on the kindle
The book in itself is very good. I think there is all you need to know to work with Python as a programming language. Read more
Published 4 months ago by Jo Hoffmann
5.0 out of 5 stars Great first time python book
Has everything you need to start coding basic python, with easy to follow steps and examples. If your interested in coding it is a must.
Published 6 months ago by Shaun Ring
1.0 out of 5 stars Sorry, I just hate this.
It's vastly overlong, and incomplete. Of the 1500+ pages, I thought "well, at least it'll be comprehensive". Read more
Published 9 months ago by Sinnerman
5.0 out of 5 stars An Excellent Book
Comprehensive and THE recommended text for learning Python. Seasoned professionals as well as complete beginners can benefit from the contents. Read more
Published 9 months ago by Doc Manfred
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book
I have used the book in it early version back in university and used it to learn the language from scratch. Read more
Published 11 months ago by David
5.0 out of 5 stars Great tutorial and reference
First of all this book is massive - it's the thickest paperback book I've ever seen! Despite its huge physical size the high quality print and binding work very well to keep the... Read more
Published 11 months ago by Mr. M. Richards
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