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Dive Into Python Paperback – July 19, 2004

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Editorial Reviews


"...may be one of the thinnest programming language books on my shelf, but it's also one of the best." -- Slashdot, AccordianGuy, September 8, 2004

About the Author

By day, Mark Pilgrim is a developer advocate for open source and open standards. By night, he is a husband and father who lives in North Carolina with his wife, his two sons, and his big slobbery dog. He spends his copious free time sunbathing, skydiving, and making up autobiographical information.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 413 pages
  • Publisher: Apress (July 19, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1590593561
  • ISBN-13: 978-1590593561
  • Product Dimensions: 7.5 x 1 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (50 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #150,459 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

98 of 103 people found the following review helpful By Riccardo Audano on December 29, 2004
Format: Paperback
I am definitely a C++ & Java aficionado (or bigot , you might say) but I think Python is one scripting language that is worth some studying. This book is a very clear, practically oriented introduction, best suited for people who already know how to program in some other language. It gives you a solid knowledge of Python fundamentals with an accent on parsing HTML and XML. Ah I forgot the best part... you do not have to buy the book! It is available for free download at ... but the book is so good and the price so "right" that you might consider buying the hardcopy. Thank you Mark!
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59 of 62 people found the following review helpful By Elderbear VINE VOICE on May 18, 2005
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
If you've never programmed before, Python is an excellent language to learn modern programming techniques. But this book should not be your starting point. Get "How to Think Like a Computer Scientist: Learning with Python" by Allen Downey, Jeffrey Elkner, Chris Meyers and learn the basics. Then dive into this book.

Mark Pilgrim is an extremely accessible author. He teaches by example. Each chapter teaches powerful techniques and Python idioms by creating a useful program. Anybody with programming experience should be able to follow the examples and learn the language - although a few visits to the Python website docs may help along the way.

Each example is brief and annotated. The annotations combine with explanatory text to reveal the power of this incredible programming language. Python runs on virtually any popular platform and can be downloaded for free. Mark's excellent work will help empower the reader to do useful things almost immediately.

One of the early example programs reads through a directory of MP3 files and lists the header information, such as artist, album, etc. This is accomplished with just a few lines of code.

Mark makes the point that everything in Python is an object. While this is not a text on hard-core object oriented programming, it is an excellent opportunity for the OOP beginner to get a handle on it.

Pilgrim also emphasizes good programming techniques, such as documentation and unit testing. In one of the later chapters he even creates a Python unit testing framework that works for testing Python code to see if it performs as expected. Again, this example is annotated, used to develop both the software engineering skill of unit testing AND properties of the Python language.
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28 of 29 people found the following review helpful By Phillip David on May 8, 2004
Format: Paperback
If you are already a programmer by trade, but haven't yet started to learn Python, get this book either here or from the web site (just search to find it), and dive in. Each chapter starts with an small example program that actually does useful stuff, most of which is foreign to you when you start reading. A few pages later, you'll understand the whole program, and get a good feeling for what "Pythonic" programming is all about.
The author really understands the subject matter, and he really understands what is needed by readers who already have a strong programming background. Once you've worked your way through this book, you'll understand 1) Python, 2) Good programming practices in Python, and 3) Why Python has become such a success amongst professional programmers.
NOTE: If you don't already know programming, hold off on this book until later. If the whole topic of programming is brand new to you, go instead for Mark Lutz' book, "Learning Python (2nd edition)". Mark covers in great detail what could go wrong as you try things out. He insures you won't get lost. To do that, he has to be very explicit about everything. Experienced programmers don't need nearly so much detail, as they already know most of the stuff in the Lutz book, and will find themselves skipping trememdous amounts. These are the folks for whom this book is written.
I am finding this to be a great book for evangelization of others to the ranks of Python maniac.
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32 of 34 people found the following review helpful By Inushi on June 6, 2009
Format: Kindle Edition
There are multiple editions of this book, my comment specifically refers to one of the Kindle Editions:
Dive into Python

Briefly: don't get the Kindle edition. The point of Dive Into Python is to dive into code, presenting examples and discussing the examples. The Kindle edition is fatally flawed, in that the majority of the code is misformatted - it is wrapped into paragraphs is if it were text. This makes the code examples nearly unreadable, and they're the whole point of the Dive into Python book.
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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful By W Boudville HALL OF FAMEVINE VOICE on July 26, 2004
Format: Paperback
Today's programming world has a multitude of languages to choose from. One recent up-and-comer is Python. Why? Mark Pilgrim gives a forceful presentation of its virtues.

Veterans of other languages will see here a reimplementation of many nice features of several languages. For example, C++ has its Standard Template Library. And the default Java installation comes replete with an extensive library. So too does Python. Pilgrim covers examples of key libraries in various chapters. Like one that knows HTML and another than can parse XML. So you don't have to go back to writing grungy low level code. And writing an XML parser is very tricky to get right. Java and C# programmers have also found introspection to be vital for writing more flexible and modular programs. So that one class can dynamically find another class's methods at runtime. Guess what? Python lets you do this too.

Python is also fully object oriented. Not bad for a 'mere' scripting language. Unlike some others, that are just weakly OO.

The style of the book is example-driven, with carefully chosen examples that introduce key sections of Python. In some way, like a bottoms-up approach. Pilgrim is forthright about the presentation; deliberately eshewing a more elegant, theoretical layout. Very nuts and bolts.
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