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Learning Python Paperback – 6 Jul 2013

3.7 out of 5 stars 40 customer reviews

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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: 17.8 x 7.1 x 23.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (40 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 18,497 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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

3.7 out of 5 stars
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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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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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Format: Paperback
After reading 2/3 of this book I was tearing my hair out. It fails to address either beginners or experience programmers properly. I fall into the latter group, being a perl developer of 10 years.

For beginners it doesn't explain any programming concepts. So you will be learning python features without grasping what purpose they fill.

It shows you very methodically the basic forms, constructs and features of the language but not why or how to use them. A good book will show you these features in context early on and walk you through the example code for real use cases highlighting the feature it is showing.

It should not really be comparing why feature x is differnt in python to C or worrying the reader about future changes to the language. It should give the reader just enough information to start playing with the language by showing the reader basic programs, explaining the concepts and providing good exercises that encourage the reader to think like a programmer.

Experienced programmers will feel like they are wasting their time I as did. I'm reading Core python now which is considerably better but even that could be arranged better. I'd prefer a summary of data types, conditionals and looping and then get right to the meat and potatoes of functional and oo programming, followed by a more detailed reference. Detailed tables of of datatypes, file open() options should not be at the beginning, they should be in a reference section.

I got a bit sick of all the monty python references too although it did made me laugh when it asked me what my favourite colour was in one of the exercises - but that unfortunately was it's only redeeming feature.
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