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Beginning Python: Using Python 2.6 and Python 3.1 1st Edition

2.5 out of 5 stars 13 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0470414637
ISBN-10: 0470414634
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Editorial Reviews

From the Back Cover

Create a robust, reliable, and reusable Python application

As an open source, object-oriented programming language, Python is easy to understand, extendable, and user-friendly. This book covers every aspect of Python so that you can get started writing your own programs with Python today. Author James Payne begins with the most basic concepts of the Python language—placing a special focus on the 2.6 and 3.1 versions—and he offers an in-depth look at existing Python programs so you can learn by example. Topics progress from strings, lists, and dictionaries to classes, objects, and modules. With this book, you will learn how to quickly and confidently create a robust, reliable, and reusable Python application.

Beginning Python:

  • Introduces the concepts of variables for storing and manipulating data

  • Examines files and input/output for reading or writing data

  • Reviews examples of often-overlooked features of Python

  • Delves into writing tests for modules and programs

  • Addresses programming with a graphical user interface in Python

  • Places special focus on XML, HTML, XSL, and related technologies

  • Explains how to extend Python

  • Shares numerical programming techniques

  • Offers an inside look at Jython, a version of Python written in Java

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Wrox Beginning guides are crafted to make learning programming languages and technologies easier than you think, providing a structured, tutorial format that will guide you through all the techniques involved.


About the Author

James Payne is Editor in Chief of www.developershed.com, a network of high-technology sites that serves millions of unique visitors every month who are seeking tutorials, advice, answers, or articles.

Product Details

  • Paperback: 624 pages
  • Publisher: Wrox; 1 edition (February 2, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0470414634
  • ISBN-13: 978-0470414637
  • Product Dimensions: 7.4 x 1.2 x 9.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.3 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 2.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #451,461 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By JoshE on November 20, 2011
Format: Paperback
Before I tell you how I feel about this book, you should know that I've programmed in Visual Basic, and Java, and was exposed to Python (via Learning Python by Mark Lutz) before reading this book. I'm currently up to the chapter on Classes and Objects in the Beginning Python book, by James Payne.

That being said, this book is a disaster. There are some pretty blatant errors in the code. For example, when he uses the method value() or key() on a dictionary, where the actual method is values() or keys(). For a complete beginner, just coping the code from this book and trying to understand it, this kind of overlook by the editor can be extremely frustrating. Some of his code is incorrect given what he probably wants it to accomplish, and makes me question how much experience the author has as a programmer (his custom methods work for a specific case, but not for all cases that the method should be able to handle). His explanations of what's going on with the code, and what different parts of programming are, (specifically classes and objects) are just not very good, especially in comparison to Gaddis (Java) and Lutz (Python). One would expect this to be a professional piece of literature, geared towards people who are new to programming, but it just isn't.

If you're new to programming, I highly recommend that you look for another book. If you're an experienced programmer, just sorting through his many errors may be too much for you to deal with.

I'm typically reluctant to recommend Learning Python by Mark Lutz, mostly because it is extremely dense, expensive, and doesn't show what you're currently learning in a fully functional program (it only uses IDLE, for the most part). Lutz's book, however is a much better option than this one, if you can get through it.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The first book I read on Python was "A Byte of Python". You can find it on the net. It is free. That book was compact, effortless, useful, but, still, a rather basic intro.

I was looking for a something, which would take me further. We had quite a few Python books scattered around the office. Long story short, I liked none of them. Then I chanced upon James Payne's book, and I cannot praise it enough!! Very well structured, very readable, actually, engaging! Full of useful, clear, elegant examples, it covers a lot of subjects, but not at the expense of basics or clarity. Every new subject, whether it is network or database access, continues to teach you the language itself. It is quite good as a reference too.

It is not for absolutely clueless, but if you have even minimal experience with programming, I bet, you will find it remarkably useful. It is a book Python deserves.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book is the most mistake riddled programming text I have ever come across.

The mistakes are not just minor typographical errors in the prose, a common and easily negligible mistake in any book, rather the mistakes are riddled throughout the example code. Huge, large, glaring mistakes.

For example, in trying to demonstrate the use of "assert" and AssertionError in python, the author shows some example code in which an AssertionError is certain to emerge. Fine. What is so shocking, in fact even comical, is that the resultant printed output doesn't show the expected AssertionError, no, it shows a NameError, indicating the author made a typo in his own code, and printed this mistake in the book as if it's the intended behavior!

Don't believe me? Since this text is searchable as a preview in amazon (at now a disadvantage of the author) , do a search for 'Assertions' and look at the result on page 208. The case I am talking about is there staring you in the face.

Want another? Easy.

On page 198 a subroutine is defined to indicate the use of regular expression.

The example code shows the definition of the subroutine, but the use of the subroutine, presumably nested in a for loop, is left out!In fact, the example code stops before the body of the for loop is even provided:

Do a search for 'scan_pdf.py' and view the result on page 198 to see what I mean.

How can the author or even the publisher feel justified in charging around $30 for this book? In truth, the author should be paying me, and nay you, the reader, for proofreading this thing!

On a positive note, I will say the breadth of topics offered, like GUI's, using Django, and the like are appealing, but this book is not ready for print.
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Format: Paperback
I have not read this book in its entirety, but I read the sections which were of particular interest to me, like intro to Django, Web services programming and DB programming. Although it is a book labeled as introductory, it does take the reader beyond introductory material in a progressive, clear and concise way, leaving all the cruft out and providing great explanations as to the "why" the technology works the way it does. The book is a great find and will help a novice avoid unnecessary confusion.

The only caveats are:

1) Some of the examples in the book seem to work with Python 3.0, so if you want to make them work with either Python 2.6 or Python 3.1 you will need to make minor adjustments. The labor of finding the adjustments is however a learning exercise per se.

2) If you're using Windows as your primary environment, some of the examples, i.e. cgi, require you to have handy a *IX box. This is also not problematic as you can run Ubuntu or other *IX in a VM.
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