Learning new APIs/classes (beginner question)

Discussion in 'Python' started by Martin Jones, Apr 6, 2012.

  1. Martin Jones

    Martin Jones Guest

    In a nutshell: My question is: how do experienced coders learn about
    external/third-party classes/APIs?

    I'm teaching myself Python through a combination of Hetland's
    'Beginning
    Python', various online tutorials and some past experience coding
    ASP/VBScript. To start to learn Python I've set myself the task of
    coding a
    viewer/editor for Google Contacts and Google Calendar, mainly because
    I've
    been experiencing some synchronisation anomalies lately. This has so
    far
    entailed getting into Google's Contacts API.

    Although they give some examples, my searches haven't been able to
    pull up
    anything approaching comprehensive documentation on each class/method.

    Can anyone experienced advise on how they would usually go about
    learning to
    use third party APIs/classes like these?

    With thanks,

    Martin
     
    Martin Jones, Apr 6, 2012
    #1
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  2. On Fri, 06 Apr 2012 13:41:23 -0700, Martin Jones wrote:

    > In a nutshell: My question is: how do experienced coders learn about
    > external/third-party classes/APIs?


    Does it have a tutorial? Do it.

    Does it have a manual, a wiki, FAQs, or other documentation? Read them.

    If all else fails, what does help(external_library) say?

    Are there examples you can follow? Do so.

    Does it have a mailing list to ask for help? Subscribe to it.

    Google for examples and sample code.

    If all else fails, read the source code if it is available.

    Otherwise find another library.

    If you can't do that, then you're stuck with learning by trial and error.
    Which is to say, mostly by error, which is a trial.


    > I'm teaching myself Python through a combination of Hetland's 'Beginning
    > Python', various online tutorials and some past experience coding
    > ASP/VBScript. To start to learn Python I've set myself the task of
    > coding a viewer/editor for Google Contacts and Google Calendar, mainly
    > because I've been experiencing some synchronisation anomalies lately.
    > This has so far entailed getting into Google's Contacts API.
    >
    > Although they give some examples, my searches haven't been able to
    > pull up anything approaching comprehensive documentation on each
    > class/method.


    Sounds like this library is documented the same way most third party
    libraries are: as an afterthought, by somebody who is so familiar with
    the software that he cannot imagine why anyone might actually need
    documentation.

    I feel your pain.


    --
    Steven
     
    Steven D'Aprano, Apr 7, 2012
    #2
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  3. Martin Jones

    Martin Jones Guest

    On Apr 7, 1:52 am, Steven D'Aprano <steve
    > wrote:

    > Sounds like this library is documented the same way most third party
    > libraries are: as an afterthought, by somebody who is so familiar with
    > the software that he cannot imagine why anyone might actually need
    > documentation.
    >
    > I feel your pain.
    >


    Thanks Steven, I suspected this might be the case, but wasn't sure if
    I was missing something obvious. Maybe I'll start on a different
    project using better-documented or just the build-in libraries.

    Many thanks,

    Martin.
     
    Martin Jones, Apr 7, 2012
    #3
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