4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
A basic but rather convoluted introduction to computer programming,
This review is from: Head First Programming: A learner's guide to programming using the Python language (Paperback)
This is the first book that I have tried in the fairly extensive 'Head First' series, which includes a number of titles to do with computers and computing. I haven't yet decided if it will be the only one because I have rather mixed feelings about it.
The first thing to say I think is that this is definitely not a comprehensive introduction to using Python, but then it doesn't claim to be. Python, which is a very powerful and intuitive programming language, is employed as a vehicle to introduce the over-arching concepts and routines of programming which are applicable to most of the languages in use today, to a greater or lesser extent.
The second point I should make is that although it is a basic introduction, it provides enough knowledge and understanding to make it much easier to grapple with any current high-level programming languages using guides specific to them.
In my view, the book is a strange mixture of over-reinforcement of some simple concepts and rapid and often confusing progress through others, which might not be quite so simple. At times, it gives the impression of plodding lugubriously through its subject matter and then it suddenly decides to rush on in leaps and bounds as if it thinks it it is running a 100 metre race.
There are lots of practical exercises, most of which are very satisfying to accomplish correctly, but the reader is led in short developmental steps and sometimes up some blind alleys (on purpose) to appreciate the methods that languages use to overcome various common programming problems and to finally end up with a set of code that does the job for which it was intended.
Although the knowledge-building is quite diluted and a lot of space is used to ensure important concepts are grasped, I have to admit to finding some sections of the book confusing, and those are where you suddenly enter the whirlpools in which new ideas whizz around at an alarming rate...
Although I have to go over some sections two or three times before the penny really drops and I finally grasp the nomenclature, I don't want to be too negative because by and large I am really enjoying working through this book. It motivates you to turn the pages and keep going extremely well and before you know it, you are surprised to find you are half way through and have covered an awful lot of ground. You can also take it in small chunks if you want to and it is easy to slip back into after a break.
Summing up, I think the book does successfully achieve what it sets out to do - and I guess you can't ask more than that!