posted by Eugenia Loli on Thu 22nd Jul 2004 06:07 UTC
Icon"Learning Python, Second Edition" was published only a few months ago by O'Reilly. We take a quick look at this promising book.

The book starts with an introduction of Python, it is mostly a big chapter regarding "why python?". I must say that the advocacy doesn't manage to excite me about Python, however I am sure younger/newer programmers might find it more useful.

I like how the two authors explain everything about Python really from step 1, e.g. about how to run python apps, what is the difference between interpreting and compiling etc.

Part II gets into basic concepts of numbers, strings, lists, directories and how they used inside Python. Then, the book discusses the actual language by explaining the loops, how to get around whitespace problems (my only gripe with Python), and it continues into more advanced topics: functions and modules.

The real meat stares at page 300 by diving into OOP and its concepts: inheritance, operator overloading etc. It is also useful for newbies to read about the difference of classes vs modules. Exceptions are discussed after that.

The rest of the book is devoted to generic programming information, e.g. the bindings, Tkinter, jython, and resources. On this last part of the book you will find my favorite chapter: "Common Tasks in Python". This is a chapter that explores common programming tasks and then offers the solution on how to solve them. Think of it as "the little book of answers for specific tasks". Extremely useful and uplifting for new Python programmers.

Truly, I can't find anything wrong with this book. I think this is the best Python book I have seen around (and I own two more). IF I had to pick on something, that would be the fact that the authors don't discuss the Python.NET, PyQt and PyGTK ports with some practical pointers and code samples to further the current 2-line mentioning of the bindings. But even this won't change my opinion on the book: it is highly recommended, mostly for new programmers, however a bit more advanced developers might find some of its chapters useful as well.

If you think on getting into Python, this is the book to get!

Overall: 9.5/10

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