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30 of 32 people found the following review helpful
on December 15, 2009
I had not programmed for 30 years and wanted to do a bit for a small project. After trying several Python books I found this one. I suspect that no one programming book will appeal to all, but this one was a great book to get me started again. Well-written. Good examples. Clear explanations.
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29 of 33 people found the following review helpful
on February 8, 2010
I entered a graduate program in computational linguistics with a linguistics background with no computer science or programming experience. All of my specialization courses use Python and, unfortunately, my university doesn't offer Python courses. Discovering that I wasn't all that wonderful at self-teaching myself to program, I resolved to take an introductory Java programming course offered by my university's computer science department. The course served as an excellent foundation and made this text, which I think is already very clear and accessible, that much easier to follow. My opinion is that this book would make an excellent text for an introductory course in Python programming or a wonderful resource to someone who knows a bit about programming but would like to understand Python. I had tried other Python books in the past, but found myself either lost or bored. The authors of this book know how to hold their audience's attention.
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38 of 47 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon May 14, 2009
As a result of superior pedagogy and a language that includes built in features like lists and dictionaries, and a standard library that comes with everything; this instructional book provides an introduction to Computer Science and Data Structures which excels using the modern programming language Python. This text is much more than a learn to program in "XXX" book, it gives a firm foundation for all subsequent courses in Computer Science and practical examples of how Data Structures are employed in real world problems involving graphics and databases. It also gives the necessary demonstrations of algorithms for Searching and Sorting, and a modern introduction to Object-Oriented programming.

In short, this volume provides an excellent foundation text in Computer Science, while incorporating instruction in the Python Language and giving practical examples of how to employ the Algorithms and Data Structures in real-world situations. It will give the student a strong basis for all further study in Computer Science and Programming.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on April 22, 2012
I'm technical by nature and have programmed many years ago and wanted to get back into it. I got Learn to Program by Chris Pine which uses Ruby and this Practical Programming book which uses Python. I'm half way through both books. In comparison the Ruby book was smooth, easy to follow and few to none errors. I found the structure of the Ruby book excellent as each chapter built on the next. This book in contrast I'm finding much more of a chore. It does serve the purpose and will be a good intro to Python, BUT .... There a lot of errors in this book, small typos and such. Some exercises at the end of the chapter use methods from chapters that are further out and haven't been covered yet. Plenty of inaccurate page number references. Only the answers for the even exercises are found on the web, while the Ruby book gives all the answers. The Python book just doesn't seem as clear and easy to follow as the Ruby book. If you are just looking for a book to get into programming and not sure or care about language; I highly recommend the Ruby book over this one. If you need a Python intro I would say this book is okay, but leaves something to be desired and I feel the way the material is presented creates a slight unnecessary struggle. I haven't tried any other Python books to compare. And I will be continuing on and finishing this book even though I'm not raving about it. I'd say the python book reminds me of a mediocre college textbook with errors and a lack of clarity that might require an instructor to decipher. The Ruby book is smooth and easy to follow at home. Note this review is for the first edition, Publication Date: June 4, 2009 | ISBN-10: 1934356271 | ISBN-13: 978-1934356272 | Edition: 1 .. the same one selling here on Amazon.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on January 10, 2011
While taking an online course (MIT OCW) that uses Python and had no book, I picked up this book as a reference for python specific syntax issues. It is a really great book (I got through the whole thing rather quickly), and I am sure it will stay near my workstation. The authors cover a broad range of topics in a rather short book. There are a ton of free ebooks on programming and Python, however, if you prefer to read a physical book: this is a great choice.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on July 30, 2013
This is an excellent introduction to Python. It covers plenty of the more general computer science concepts (that is, not Python-specific) missing from oft-recommended online "workbooks" like Codecademy and Learn Python the Hard Way, so it's proven very useful to me in my attempt to move from imitation to independence.

That said, the editing isn't quite up to par. An uncomfortable number of the raw code examples look like this (p19):

def <code:bold>function_name</code:bold>(<code:bold>parameters</code:bold>):

The parts in <tags> are not something you'd type into Python, but just leftover markup code from the manuscript. It should read much more simply:

def function_name(parameters):

There's something like that every twenty pages or so. I can easily see a beginner trying to type it all in and being bombarded with errors.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on August 21, 2013
2nd Edition of this great beginner's book, covering Python 3, is in beta. Here's the URL for the 2nd Edition from the publisher's Web page:


Blurb says the projected release date of the 2nd Edition is 19 Sept. 2013.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on January 8, 2015
It is one thing to understand a particular language, even if it is Python, yet it is another to understand the underlying concepts of these languages and how to program against any type of language. This book gives very easy to understand explanations that are a wealth of knowledge for a beginner and a refresher for the advanced. I have gone through the book from cover to cover and have also picked it up at times just to look at a particular topic in the book. I love having books that can be read in both ways, and this book does that. AWESOME and informative.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on April 4, 2011
This book is a great way to get a feel for what computer science and programming are all about. Python is a great first language to learn because of its simple, english-like syntax. If you are new to either CS or programming and want to get started right away then buy this book. The only issue I could see with this book is it brushes over a lot of topics without a whole lot of depth but that should be expected with "introduction" in the title. If you enjoy this go buy a more advanced text once you've gotten comfortable with everything in this book.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on September 11, 2013
This 1st edition of Practical Programming starts out slow with strings and moves on to lists and functions, modules, etc. The book is well written with tons of examples. The book is dated however because it's based on Python 2.7 and doesn't even mention the IDLE shell. For a student or self-learner trying to learn Python 3.0 this book might be more confusing than it's worth. The second edition is so reasonably priced it would be the better choice.
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