Customer Review

19 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A steep learning curve, but excellent for both beginners and programmers migrating to Python, 13 Jan 2012
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This review is from: Python Programming for the Absolute Beginner (Paperback)
This is actually among the best teach yourself programming books I've read for any programming language, not just Python.

I've done a fair bit of programming before, in various versions of BASIC, PHP, JavaScript etc., so I was able to skim-read most of the first half of the book, the 'absolute beginner bit' which begins with the first principles of programming such as variables, loops, and functions, just to work out what Python's unique quirks are (above all, it's the first language I've come across where indentation is vitally important rather than just tidy). The section on dictionaries and tuples I had to read carefully, as I found Python's approach to arrays a bit fiddly compared to other languages I've used, but most of it was straightforward.

If you've really never programmed a computer before, I think it would be a fairly steep learning curve- this'll be a good book to choose, but you should take things very slowly, absorb each page carefully, and reinforce what you've learnt by trying the extra programming challenges at the end of each chapter. If you don't do this and just plough through from one chapter to the next, then before long it may start going over your head if you're not careful.

The second half of the book is generally excellent too, and worth reading if you're new to Python, even if you're not a new programmer. Object Orientated Programming is explained and adhered to nicely, and by using some of Python's pre-prepared libraries, you can jump from simple text manipulation to complex-looking Windows-style applications and games without much trouble.

Michael Dawson has a very understandable writing style. Occasional flashes of humour (not too flippant) and some well-chosen example programs that are actually engaging and useful make you want to carry on reading. It's very well ordered and thought-out, and the progression from one challenge to the next, although quite steep in parts, is sensible and just feels right.

I'd recommend this highly both to people new to programming, and programmers new to Python.
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