the best book for learning python !?

Discussion in 'Python' started by post400, Feb 16, 2004.

  1. post400

    post400 Guest

    Hi ,

    I was just wondering ( yeah I know it's not the first time this
    question pops up )
    what would be the best 2 or 3 books for someone who wants to learn
    Python , already experienced in other non-OOP languages .It takes time
    to browse endlessly on the net , in a bookshop or a library for THOSE
    books that are really useful !

    Thanks ,
    post400, Feb 16, 2004
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  2. The new second edition of Learning Python is outstanding. Not because of
    the fact that it's recent (2004), but it just simply surpassed the first
    edition in coverage. Exceptions covered in 3 chapters, is one of my
    personal reasons.

    I actually put my Quick Python and Python in a Nutshell back on the
    bookshelf, just for now, and stopped doing anything with my current Python
    app (a backup program), until I've read this edition of L.P. and inhaled
    the concepts better.
    You asked for books, specifically, so I won't mention the tutorials
    available on the net.
    Have fun,
    python newbie, Feb 16, 2004
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  3. I just picked up a copy of Learning Perl by Lutz/Ascher (OReilly). This is
    the best intermediate/expert reference I've seen to date on Python. I can
    highly recommend this effort. Thanks to Mark and David.

    Arthur Billingsley, Feb 17, 2004
  4. Learning Perl? A Freudian slip perhaps?
    Timo Virkkala, Feb 17, 2004
  5. Am Mon, 16 Feb 2004 13:13:06 -0800 schrieb post400:
    I recommend the Python Cookbook.

    Thomas Guettler, Feb 17, 2004
  6. Hi,

    I got the second edition of "Learning Python" a couple of weeks ago
    and found it very disappointing. I had been expecting something along
    the lines of "Learning Perl", which is an excellent book for newbies.

    My main gripe with "Learning Python" is that it is too long and
    detailed. As a newbie, you don't want that detail initially. For
    example, the "Hello, world" program doesn't appear until page 142!

    Having said that, the book is really good if you already know a bit of
    Python. The explanation of some of the language features is really
    revealing and I did learn a lot from it.

    For a newbie, I'd recommend "Practical Python".

    Cameron McCloud, Feb 17, 2004
  7. I was just wondering ( yeah I know it's not the first time this
    Read the Python Tutorial included with Python, and browse through the
    standard library.

    - Josiah
    Josiah Carlson, Feb 18, 2004
  8. I see three types of books; one type for initial learning, one for
    reference, and one for advanced topics, exploring and obtaining further

    For me, as a book for learning, Mark Lutz And David Ascher's "Learning
    Python" can't be beat in the book arena (although there are a lot of free
    online tutorials that occupy the same space and do the task very well,
    too; but you asked about books).

    With all respect to Lutz and Ascher, I would recommend seeing if you can
    borrow the LP book, rather than purchasing it, or purchase a used copy.
    Again, I found it great for learning, but once I learned Python, never had
    any urge to look at it again.

    (LP is now recently in its second edition, so the chances of borrowing or
    buying used a copy of the current edition is probably pretty slim;
    however, I had no problem learning python from the 1st edition, even while
    using Python 2.x; the core of the language is not changed much, and the
    changes can be picked up from looking at the "What's New" files, other
    books, and participation in fora like this one. On the other hand,
    there's nothing like getting a good take on the current language from the
    start. Depends on your patience, mind-set and budget, I suppose.)

    There are a few candidates for reference books. The one I like (a *lot*)
    is Alex Martelli's "Python in a Nutshell." However, the real reason I
    like it so much is that, while it's mostly a reference book, it begins the
    slide toward an advanced topics book. This makes it great for learning
    new areas (like debugging, unit testing, Internet programming, etc.), as
    well as serving as a pure reference. The downside, I guess, is that it
    probably is not quite as good as a pure reference would be (or else it
    would be several times the size and cost that it is); but it hits the
    sweet spot for me.

    There are other books in this category, too. One is David Beazley's
    "Python Essential Reference," a borrowed first edition of which I used
    when I was just starting in Python. The Beazley book is also very, very
    good. My preference is for the Martelli book, because it's less of a pure
    reference, but that same attribute may be a point that would drive you to
    the Beazley book. Personal preference.

    There are others that I haven't read, too: Martin Brown's "Python: the
    Complete Reference," and Dave Brueck and Stephen Tanner's "Python 2.1
    Bible." I've never seen Brown's book, so I can't comment on it. I have
    browse Brueck and Tanner's, and it looks very good, as I recall, giving
    more detail on GUI and things like that. If I didn't already have a
    pretty full python library, I'd probably have bought it.

    In the third category, I like the Python Cookbook, edited by Alex Martelli
    and David Ascher. I keep that one in my bathroom and read random short
    Python recipes. The Cookbook is great for giving examples of useful
    working code in a number of areas.

    A popular candidate here is Mark Lutz's "Programming Python," but I found
    it useless for me. What I disliked about it is the inability to look up
    things by topic and find a useful discussion of that topic. The book is
    highly integrated, and if you open it to, say, Chapter 5, you'll need to
    have read chapters 1-4 to follow the discussion in chapter 5. I think PP
    might be a good book as a course textbook, where there is a sequence of
    topics treated in a structured environment; but for self-directed
    education *for me*, it fails.

    I want to emphasize the *for me* in the above; there are a lot of people
    in this newsgroup who love this book, so its usefulness is a highly
    personal judgment. It might be great for you.

    Also in that third category, you might find yourself drawn to some
    specific topic in Python, and want a less general advanced book. Examples
    are Jones and Drake's "Python and XML," if you're interested in XML; or
    Grayson's "Python and Tkinter Programming," if you're particularly
    interested in GUI programming using Tkinter.

    I'll also join in in recommending the various excellent and free web pages
    that provide a lot of good Python information. But you were asking about
    books, and I understand the appeal that a book has over an online
    resource, so I'm limiting discussion to books.
    Terry Carroll, Feb 18, 2004
  9. post400

    post400 Guest


    thanks for your opinions !

    Terry , you're saying that you keep The Pyhton Cookbook in your
    bathroom !? That's why I asked about books ! It's a lot easier to keep
    them in bathrooms and read while doing stuff ! PDAs , laptops or
    listings are not exactly perfect for bathrooms !

    post400, Feb 18, 2004
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