Re: Yet another Python textbook

Discussion in 'Python' started by Ian Kelly, Nov 20, 2012.

  1. Ian Kelly

    Ian Kelly Guest

    On Sun, Nov 18, 2012 at 10:30 PM, Pavel Solin <> wrote:
    > I would like to introduce a new Python textbook
    > aimed at high school students:
    > The textbook is open source and its public Git
    > repository is located at Github:
    > :femhub/nclab-textbook-python.git
    > Feedback and contributions are very much
    > welcome, every contributor becomes automatically
    > a co-author.

    First impression: I'm opening up the book and reading the
    introduction, and I get to section 1.6, and the very first code
    example given is:

    >>> print "Hello, World!"

    A fine tradition to be sure, but I have to say that I'm a little
    disappointed that a new textbook on Python being written in 2012 is
    focused squarely on Python 2, especially when I just read on the
    previous page that Python 3 was released in 2008. Is there any work
    underway get Python 3 into NCLab?

    The issue comes up again four pages later in section 2.4, when
    division is being demoed, and the text takes a page-and-a-half detour
    to caution about the use of floor division for expressions like:

    >>> 33 / 6

    If the book were teaching Python 3, then this warning would be
    unnecessary, since division in Python 3 is *automatically* true
    division, unless you go out of your way to invoke floor division by
    using the special // operator. I think that the earliness and
    frequency that these differences arise underscore the point that it
    would be best if the book could simply be teaching Python 3 to start

    Getting off that soapbox and moving along, I notice that on pages
    20-22 there are some examples by way of comparison that are written in
    C, which makes me wonder what audience this textbook is really
    intended for. The previous pages and references to Karel have given
    me the impression that this is geared toward beginning programmers,
    who most likely are not familiar with C. The most troublesome is the
    last of these examples, which is led up to with this text:

    The asterisks in the code below are pointers, an additional
    programming concept that one needs to learn and utilize here:

    This seems to suggest that the reader should stop reading here and do
    a Google search on pointers, in order to understand the example.
    Since this is not a textbook on C, and Python has no concept of
    pointers at all, doing this would be a complete waste of the reader's

    Skimming through a few more chapters, I don't see anything else that
    sets my spidey sense tingling. I hope that what I've written above
    gives you some things to consider, though.

    Ian Kelly, Nov 20, 2012
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