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a python book hint

Hello,

I have been programming with Visual Basic and PHP in the last 5 years and some folks had recommended Python a free language....

I had looked for a Python book to start up but found many titles...

so, my question finally is: what book could be for a Python beginner - but NOT a programming beginner - which intends to develop *windowed* Python programms and intends to develop for Windows and for Linux?

for example, look at Thuban software ( http://thuban.intevation.org/ ) which runs on Linux and Win plataforms.

thanks in advance.

Eduardo Patto Kanegae
http://www.consultoria.eti.br - BRASIL
Fórum ptMapServer - http://www.consultoria.eti.br/mapserverptforum/
ClickBrasil - http://www.consultoria.eti.br/clickbrasil/
***************************************
***Fim da Mensagem / End of Message ***
***************************************
Jul 18 '05 #1
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14 Replies
Eduardo Patto Kanegae wrote:
Hello,

I have been programming with Visual Basic and PHP in the last 5 years and
some folks had recommended Python a free language....

I had looked for a Python book to start up but found many titles...

so, my question finally is: what book could be for a Python beginner -
but NOT a programming beginner - which intends to develop *windowed*
Python programms and intends to develop for Windows and for Linux?

for example, look at Thuban software ( http://thuban.intevation.org/ )
which runs on Linux and Win plataforms.


Hetland's "Practical Python" is a good book, particularly if you like
_meaty_ examples (my own "Python in a Nutshell" has less purely tutorial
material, and the examples are small, illustrating single simple points;
thus, it's more of a "concise desktop reference" than an introduction).

Most other books are unfortunately a bit dated, but these two do cover
Python 2.2 (and the current 2.3 has basically no language-level changes
wrt to 2.2 -- it's mostly faster and more robust, with small additions
to the built-ins and more substantial ones to the standard library).
Alex

Jul 18 '05 #2
In article <tj*******************@news1.tin.it>,
Alex Martelli <al***@aleax.it> wrote:
Eduardo Patto Kanegae wrote:

Jul 18 '05 #3
Alex Martelli is too modest about his own book, so let me tout it
here...

Python in a Nutshell is an excellent reference, with quite a bit of
expository material. It has examples, and details of how much of the
standard library works. If you're experienced with other languages, it
and the official tutorial should be more than enough to get you into
the swing of things. The tutorial can be found at:

http://www.python.org/doc/current/tut/tut.html

The Python Cookbook (which Alex edited and contributed to) is still my
favorite Python book. It's chock-full of useful real-world
recipes. Many of them are quite mind-expanding, and demonstrate in
concrete ways how to get the most out of Python.

Nick

--
# sigmask || 0.2 || 20030107 || public domain || feed this to a python
print reduce(lambda x,y:x+chr(ord(y)-1),' Ojdl!Wbshjti!=obwAcboefstobudi/psh?')
Jul 18 '05 #4
In article <m3************@tanelorn.bandersnatch.org>,
Nick Vargish <na*******@bandersnatch.org> wrote:
Alex Martelli is too modest about his own book, so let me tout it
here...

Python in a Nutshell is an excellent reference, with quite a bit of
expository material. It has examples, and details of how much of the

Jul 18 '05 #5

"Eduardo Patto Kanegae" <ed*****@consultoria.eti.br> wrote in message news:ma************************************@python .org...
Hello,

I have been programming with Visual Basic and PHP in the last 5 years and some folks had recommended Python a free language....

I had looked for a Python book to start up but found many titles...

so, my question finally is: what book could be for a Python beginner - but NOT a programming beginner - which intends to develop *windowed* Python programms and intends to develop for Windows and for Linux?

for example, look at Thuban software ( http://thuban.intevation.org/ ) which runs on Linux and Win plataforms.

thanks in advance.

Eduardo Patto Kanegae
http://www.consultoria.eti.br - BRASIL
Fórum ptMapServer - http://www.consultoria.eti.br/mapserverptforum/
ClickBrasil - http://www.consultoria.eti.br/clickbrasil/
***************************************
***Fim da Mensagem / End of Message ***
***************************************


I am sorry to say -- I have the same basic problem...

It appears that if you want to read about
1)--perl
2)--"C"
3)--jokes in a techinical book
4)-- British TV
5)-- Family history stuff
6)-- and so on.....
then purchase any of the sorted books on Python.

But if you want a book like, for example the manuals of the old Microsoft Quickbasic which sticks to the core subject, that presents Python such as;
"This is Python"
the book is hidden in the market place or has not been written yet.
I have search and amoung all I have collected, you still need to use more than one to fully understand or use Python.

Aubrey Hutchison

Jul 18 '05 #6
In article <_f********************@comcast.com>,
Aubrey Hutchison <ab*****@comcast.net> wrote:
Jul 18 '05 #7
Cameron Laird wrote:
In article <_f********************@comcast.com>,
Aubrey Hutchison <ab*****@comcast.net> wrote: ...
It appears that if you want to read about
1)--perl
2)--"C"
3)--jokes in a techinical book
4)-- British TV
5)-- Family history stuff
6)-- and so on.....

... ? I don't think I understand. I believe you're saying that
such books as *Python in a Nutshell*, *Core Python Program-
ming*, *Text Processing in Python*, *Learn to Program Using
Python*, ... fail to "stick to the core subject". Do I have
that right? What do you see as examples of this fault?


"Python in a Nutshell" _DOES_ show how to extend Python
with C (chapter 24, 35 pages out of 636), thus presumably
hitting Aubrey's trigger [2]; does mention and thanks some
relatives in one line in the Acknowledgments, thus presumably
hitting trigger [5]; does take half a page to (e.g.) explain
about HTTP cookies rather than requiring the reader to be
totally familiar with them, thus presumably hitting trigger
[6]. I _think_ my editor managed to find and zap all of my
few attempts at dry humor, and the book surely has nothing
about perl nor British TV, but still, it's not _100%_
Python: I would guess _about_ 93.2% or so (if one considers
"extending Python with C" to be "not Python" -- alas, the
subject is FAR too useful to many readers for me to ever
consider removing it, as, I believe, are the brief capsules
or URLs about not-familiar-to-ALL technologies which I have
before expanding on how Python interfaces to them...).
Alex

Jul 18 '05 #8
Nick Vargish wrote:
Alex Martelli is too modest about his own book, so let me tout it
here...
Heh, first time I've ever been accused of _THAT_ defect -- modesty!

I appreciate the kudos, and I _have_ heard from several people who
actually taught themselves Python with the "Nutshell", but my opinion
is that those people are _pretty smart_ ones (as well, probably, as
experienced). Beginners were _not_ the target audience for "Python
in a Nutshell". Of course, sufficiently smart people can and do
teach themselves subjects from reference books (particularly books that
are reasonably clear and well-structured), even subjects more arcane
than Python, which, after all, IS a language designed to be simple
to learn. However, I suspect they're a minority.

Fortunately is IS quite easy to check: e.g. you can visit
safari.oreily.com, subscribe, and read Python in a Nutshell (and/or
many, MANY other books) online for 2 weeks; be sure to cancel the
subscription within 14 days, though, unless you appreciate the
Safari site enough to pay for it -- only the first 2 weeks are
free! Still, 2 weeks should be plenty for you to determine if
the Nutshell (or any other book you're considering) is in fact
going to be helpful to you personally -- browsing in a store has
the advantage of letting you check the physical layout &c, but
most stores would complain if you kept browsing for 2 weeks!-)

The Python Cookbook (which Alex edited and contributed to) is still my
favorite Python book. It's chock-full of useful real-world
recipes. Many of them are quite mind-expanding, and demonstrate in
concrete ways how to get the most out of Python.


Again, thanks. The Cookbook is on Safari, too, by the way -- so
you don't need to purchase it "blindly" based on favourable reviews,
either; you can check it out for yourself.
Alex

Jul 18 '05 #9
Cameron Laird wrote:
...
Hetland's "Practical Python" is a good book, particularly if you like ...Most other books are unfortunately a bit dated, but these two do cover
... David's book is as current as any, but lacks the
GUI-for-Windows emphasis the original poster ap-
parently wishes.

David Mertz, that is, not David Ascher. If this
were a voice posting it'd be obvious.


True -- silly me; David Mertz's "Text Processing in Python" is indeed
current (and also readable online). I don't think of it as suitable
for beginners, but it IS actually possible to teach yourself Python
from David's Appendix A, at least in theory (it _is_ a bit "short and
impressionistic" for that, as its title suggests, but still...).
Alex

Jul 18 '05 #10
In article <Ok*******************@news1.tin.it>,
Alex Martelli <al***@aleax.it> wrote:
Jul 18 '05 #11
In article <Io*******************@news1.tin.it>,
Alex Martelli <al***@aleax.it> wrote:
Jul 18 '05 #12
cl****@lairds.com (Cameron Laird) wrote in message news:<vr************@corp.supernews.com>...
I've been writing and rewriting a review of *TPIP* since (before?) its
publication (to David's frustration--it'd be better for him if I just
published *something* about it, rather than reworking so much). *I*
don't think it's for beginners, and in fact I think it's going to lose
a lot of the current crop of professionals. I like the book, but I
think it's too demanding for many of the people who might consider it.

I've been surprised, though, how much enthusiasm it's inspired already
in readers I've encountered.

My conclusion: I solicit others' views and experience.


too demanding ???

A book can be too demanding when it requires the reader to follow a
too
hard path, meaning that there is an easier, maybe longer, but
equivalent
path; but a text that take a not-so-trivial matter as text processing
and
make it as simple as it can be, is not at all too demanding. It is
just the
opposite!

One cannot pretend to learn text processing without a minimal effort,
unless
he limits himself to a very superficial study; I found David's text
really
good in the sense of being not more difficult than needed, not too
much
"academic" but also not too much "practical" (here "practical" means
giving
a set of practical recipes without any better understanding behind).

Alex was right not to cite this book to the OP, since it is NOT a text
for
Python beginners; actually, in my view, it is not a Python book at
all. It
is a book on *text processing*: the fact that the chosen language is
Python
is somewhat secondary, the same concepts could have been expressed in
any
other language (even if not as well as in Python, of course ;).

TPiP is a good book for someone who wants to understand (some of) the
theory
behind text processing, as well as the practice (I value very much the
practice, only I think it should not be disconnected from the theory).
It is not a reference book, nor a book of recipes: it is kinda of a
textbook.

IMO, it is especially suitable to "non-canonical" programmers, people
without
a computer science background, which still need or want to learn
something about
parsers, state machines and all the rest, without going trough a real
CS
course. David is well qualified to understand what are the likely gaps
of
non-canonical programmers, since himself has a background in
philosophy,
not in CS and it is clear he learned what it is in his book through
self-study
(David correct me if I am wrong). OTOH, people with a CS background
often give a
lot of things for obvious (who said 'reduce' was obvious ?;) which are
not
obvious to us "amateur" programmers, so they are less effective as
teachers
(outside academia, I mean).

BTW, I read TPiP when it was in fieri, before starting my
collaboration with
David, so my opinion on the book is not affected by my following work
with
him (actually the opposite is true).
Michele Simionato

P.S. I could say equally positive things both for the cookbook and
"Python
in a nutshell", they are *really* good books, but they are *different*
books:
they cannot be put in the same category as TPiP, just because they
share the word "Python" in the title. The same for "Dive into Python"
and "Thinking
as a computer scientists": they are all excellent books, but they have
different scope and aims.
Jul 18 '05 #13
cl****@lairds.com (Cameron Laird) writes:
In article <Ok*******************@news1.tin.it>, [...] I can't now do Amazon's text-search capabilities justice; they are
making for a sea change of the scale of Google or VoIP or other
"epochal" innovations. Briefly, if there's a book that interests
you, and Amazon has it, it's likely you can bring up any of its
pages on-line. You can sample it freely.

[...]

I'm told (bookpeople mailing list) they scanned and OCRed them all,
even though books are now always (well, almost always) in machine-
readable textual form at some stage in their preparation. A bit sad
in terms of duplication of effort, though another recent bookpeople
post told the story of somebody's personal first "perfect" OCR of a
book: fewer errors in the scan than in the original!

The ability to search books is certainly interesting and new (I've
tried to find even a tables-of-contents database for books before, and
the university librarian told me that no such beast existed). Maybe
it's even as important as Google, dunno. It will be missing two
central parts of Google, though: instant, zero-marginal cost access to
the content, and linking information.
John
Jul 18 '05 #14
mi**@pitt.edu (Michele Simionato) wrote previously:
|IMO, it is especially suitable to "non-canonical" programmers, people
|without a computer science background, which still need or want to learn
|something about parsers, state machines and all the rest, without going
|trough a real CS course. David is well qualified to understand what are
|the likely gaps of non-canonical programmers, since himself has a
|background in philosophy, not in CS and it is clear he learned what it
|is in his book through self-study (David correct me if I am wrong).

Thank you Michele for the insightful characterization of my book. I
certainly do not disagree. I suppose it could be called "Text
Processing for Philosophers" equally well (and have almost the same
initials).

In fact, there is a line I put in my book, playing off Larry Wall's
"virtues of programmers" (p.xi in the printed version, or within
intro.txt for the online one). I think most readers either gloss over
it or think I am making a little joke. But I'm actually quite esrnest
in writing:

The goal of this book is to make its readers a little lazier, a
smidgeon more impatient, and a whole bunch more hubristic. Python
just happens to be the language best suited to the study of virtue.

I tried to write a textbook in ethics.

Yours, David...

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Jul 18 '05 #15

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