My bachelors and masters degrees are in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science (dual majors). I have worked for GE Healthcare since 1982. I am a Principal Engineer. I have led, at different times, technical design efforts involving signal processing, image processing, database development, user interface design, report development, internet content development and delivery, and a variety of other kinds of projects. I speak Java, PERL, C, csh, bash, sh, ksh, C++, Pascal, SAS, array processor programming languages for some defunct platforms, assembler for some defunct platforms, RatFor, FortranV, Fortran77, APL (with substantial rust), and a very little bit of French and even less Japanese. I know enough Spanish to order two beers and some enchiladas. Jim has posted 3 posts at DZone. View Full User Profile

"The Quick Python Book" Delivers - A Review

06.14.2010
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Published by: Manning
ISBN: 193518220X

Reviewer Ratings

Relevance:
5

Readability:
4

Overall:
5

Buy it now

One Minute Bottom Line

If you've ever wanted to learn Python or have a convenient desktop reference, this is the book for you.  The author gives you a brief run-through of the language syntax and functional capabilities, then re-explores all aspects of the language as well as libraries and modules that extend Python into the space of practical applications.  Database functions, Object-Oriented Programming, web management, and other in-demand functions are all available - "batteries included," as the author says.

Review

The author has provided a second edition of "The Quick Python Book"- and the resulting content is a wonderful combination of introduction to the language as well as a second pass that goes into all things Python in-depth.

The lead-off chapter, "About Python," sets excellent context for the rest of the book-- why you should use Python, what it does well, what it doesn't do so well, and why you should bother to learn Python.  After that, we're off on a fast, efficient journey - how to install Python (including your choices of GUI vs. command line), brief introductions to data types and control flow, simple module creation, and an intro to object-oriented programming.

After that, the book goes from a light introduction to everything you need to know to a still-very-readable encyclopedic presentation with ample examples and explanations of every aspect of data types, control flow, functions, modules, and dictionaries.  Experienced programmers will find the dictionary discussion quite interesting as the subject matter is treated even more broadly than the context of Python.  Good stuff!

The next phase of our journey takes us into the space of where Python meets the operating system-- using the file system and managing data objects, with an introduction to pickling (Python's take on marshaling and unmarshaling) and shelving (persistent hashmap) objects.

Developers who are experienced with Tcl/Tk will enjoy the chapter that integrates Tkinter into Python for producing GUI objects-- and if this is unfamiliar subject matter, there is an adequate introduction and simple examples that will make the learning process straightforward.

The book also gives great treatment of regular expressions, partitioning of code into packages (and sub-packages), modules (and sub-modules), and a VERY good treatment of creating and debugging object classes.

I particularly enjoyed the author's suggestions regarding Python style, programming and testing practices, and sage advice in the big finish: the Zen of Python.

Published at DZone with permission of its author, Jim Kohli.

(Note: Opinions expressed in this article and its replies are the opinions of their respective authors and not those of DZone, Inc.)

Comments

Timothy Mcclanahan replied on Mon, 2010/06/14 - 7:17pm

Be aware the 'buy it now' amazon link links to the original edition of the book from 2000, not the second edition from 2010.

Jim Kohli replied on Sat, 2011/01/01 - 11:42pm in response to: Timothy Mcclanahan

Thanks, Timothy.  It looks like I had the wrong ISBN number.  It should work correctly now.

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