Customer Review

29 of 29 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Really first class book, 11 Oct 2011
This review is from: Python Programming for the Absolute Beginner (Paperback)
I have done a bit of computer programming in the past, I learnt C, C++ and Perl. Never used any seriously, though Perl was handy a few times. Anyway, I have never touched programming for years. Recently I had been looking at Python. Modern, easy to learn (apparently) and a language that is capable of everything from the smallest task up to very big projects. Python 'glues' well onto other languages and programs.

The small tasks are what interests me. I have a few things I need to do, a database that is in an absolute mess. It needs LOTS of alterations. I did load it up into an Excel spreadsheet and managed to sort out about 80% of bad data with search and replace. The rest needs something more. It needs a program that will scan through and find data in wrong places and swap the cells over. And I need to do a few other utilities sort of stuff.

A bit of Googling proved that Python was ideal. It can 'plug' into spreadsheets and databases, has good csv support, and lots of examples and tutorials are available to help me out!

First I downloaded Python 2.7 and printed out a few good tutorials from the internet. Then I played around enough to know I could cope with the language. Being a bit old fashioned, I like to work from a good book about any subject I want to learn. This one had excellent reviews and at a very reasonable price.

As it happens this third edition of the book is written for Python 3 rather than the more common Python 2. This has proved to be no big deal. The differences between the Python 3 and Python 2 don't make much difference at the beginner level. You will cope. Python 2 of course has far more in the way of external and useful modules. Such as Django and the xlrd module which I am using to read Excel spreadsheets. These are not ready for Python 3 yet.

However Python 3 is the future anyway. Both versions have their own advantages for the learner. Don't worry, either is fine.

In order to run both versions of Python on my computer, I installed 2.7 on my PC and Installed the excellent Portable Python 3 version on a USB memory stick, that way I get to play with both!

Python is a great language to learn the basics of programming. It has so many practical uses. It scales well and will give you a firm foundation should you wish to continue with other languages. This is the sort of I.T. our schools should be teaching rather than boring kids with Microsoft Office apps.
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