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Python Pocket Reference (Pocket Reference (O'Reilly)) Paperback – 9 Feb 2014

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Product details

  • Paperback: 266 pages
  • Publisher: O'Reilly Media; 5 edition (9 Feb. 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1449357016
  • ISBN-13: 978-1449357016
  • Product Dimensions: 1.3 x 10.8 x 17.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 166,051 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

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 ( and an additional book support site on the Web (

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Jim Francis VINE VOICE on 13 April 2015
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Absolute Garbage. Badly organized and missing basic stuff. Poorly indexed. Poor contents listing. Lack of any page headers whatsoever.

So there's nothing "convenient" about this book except it's physical size. But if you can't find any relevant info, then what's the point?

For example: I want to read about the "partition" string method. I look for "partition" in the index - it's not there. I look in the "Contents" - it's not there either. Where do I find it? Listed under Specific Built-in Types>String Methods. What do I find? Simply the word "S.partition(sep)" on page 36 with no further explanation. Nothing. So how is that supposed to help anyone learn anything about how partition() works? It's pointless.

Another example: Page 72 under "Variables" is says "See Atomic Terms and Dynamic Typing" - no page number reference - no hint of where to find "Atomic Terms and Dynamic Typing". It's not listed in the index or the contents. This type of anonymous redirection to "See this... or... see that..." is repeated countless times". Absolutely useless.

Straight away you can see this book is a total waste of paper and ink. There''s no page headers to direct you towards the material you're trying to find. Why? Because the material you want probably isn't even anywhere to be found.

This book is like a mini version of Lutz's useless 1500 page "Learning Python" - both are absolute Garbage as far as I'm concerned.

It's seems the publishers O'Reilly truly don't have a clue.
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Format: Paperback
The first thing to note about the Python Pocket Reference is that if I was completely new to the Python programming language and wanted to pick up a handy reference guide to getting started with essential concepts, this would not be an ideal book for my needs whatsoever.

Apart from the single-page introduction, the book provides no logical flow that would allow someone new to Python to jump right in and start experimenting with basic functions and progress to advanced skills by the end of the book. There is other books that suit beginner Python programmers and I would suggest that a more detailed read in a tutorial format would suffice.

However, if you're an experienced Python programmer with existing awareness and knowledge of the topics covered (e.g. statements, syntax, types) then Lutz's reference is an excellent book to keep handy whenever you're working with Python code.

As this is not a tutorial or guide book, expect no images or graphics to break up large paragraphs of text, but instead well presented tables containing essential expressions linked to the current chapter and bullet-pointed lists with colour-coding and a distinctive preformatted typeface for code.

Regarded as support material for someone well versed in the conventions of the Python language, Lutz packs a large amount of convenient and useful information into the book's pocket-sized 210 pages and is able to concisely link related ideas together through dark red highlighting of chapter names within the text, serving as a sensible method of allowing programmers to read information related to a certain topic or function. The latest edition of the book (fifth) has been updated for the latest versions of Python – a reassurance to many programmers.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Swanbuys on 28 April 2014
Format: Kindle Edition
Very comprehensive! It is well indexed and very easy to navigate through all the technical terms that a novice would want to know about.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Santhosh Kumar BR on 29 April 2015
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Must add REST API n JSON info...
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 39 reviews
18 of 18 people found the following review helpful
Worth keeping close at hand 8 Feb. 2014
By Amazon Customer - Published on
Format: Paperback
As someone who teaches beginning Pythonistas to learn to program, this updated edition of the Python Pocket Reference is worth keeping close at hand.

The reference covers both Python 3.4 and 2.7, and it highlights changes between the two major releases in a succinct, clear way. Yes, one can find the reference information in the freely available Python docs, but this guide earns its place in my backpack by pulling together practical tips, hints, and common gotchas when using a method or function.

I appreciate the author including a section on the tkinter GUI module and tools. It’s helpful to have the basics in a concise format for the times that I am troubleshooting a user interface for a laboratory program or helping someone create a simple status display for an application.

Though it might not be the most exciting read, the Python Pocket Reference does what it does well – a straightforward, up-to-date resource for Python 3.4 and 2.7. Its hints and common idioms may also save a programmer valuable time debugging common mistakes.
16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
Pretty good, sometimes index lacks 2 Aug. 2014
By Casper Chauncey - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I refer to this frequently as I am learning Python and it usually gives me the answer but sometimes it takes quite a bit of searching and flipping back and forth. So I think the index and/or organization could be a little better. Some examples:

* If you are trying to look up a concept but you don't know Python's word for it, alternate words likely won't get you there.

* Suppose you want to copy an object, or assign the contents of one object to another, and you're trying to find the Python way to do that. The index does not have entries for "copy" or "contents". It does have an entry for "assignment statement" but that will just assign an object's reference to another variable so now you have two variables pointing to the same object. What you're looking for is under "slicing" but how would you find that unless you already knew it?

A few more details / examples wouldn't hurt either although I understand they are trying to keep a "pocket" reference small.
12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
Great book for Python scripters 2 April 2014
By I. Blais - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book has become a permanent resident in my backpack. I often find myself writing quick python scripts on the go for work. This book has proved immensely valuable when I'm working on a script and don't have network access (if I have internet it's generally faster to google it :). 5/5 would recommend.
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
Third addition that I have bought 10 April 2014
By Mike - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I have the first addition that I bought many years ago and was quite thin. I bought the third addition several years ago and now I have bought this fifth addition. You might think I find these useful, right? This addition covers both Python2 and Python3.It's a good reference. They're going to start having to come out with two different versions pretty soon because this one is getting close to the limit of a good reference book size wise.
9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
A good reference for Python 3.4 and beyond. 28 April 2014
By Tom Nute - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I like this book because it provides a very succinct explanation of the features in the newest version of Python (ver 3.4 in 2014). It provides several short examples to illustrate many of its points and even offers some editorial remarks concerning various feature of the language.

It is a concise reference work and not intended as a book that a reader would normally use to learn Python.
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