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Programming Python [Paperback]

by Mark Lutz
3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)

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Book Description

August 30, 2006 0596009259 978-0596009250 3rd

Already the industry standard for Python users, Programming Python from O'Reilly just got even better. This third edition has been updated to reflect current best practices and the abundance of changes introduced by the latest version of the language, Python 2.5.

Whether you're a novice or an advanced practitioner, you'll find this refreshed book more than lives up to its reputation. Programming Python, 3rd Edition, teaches you the right way to code. It explains Python language syntax and programming techniques in a clear and concise manner, with numerous examples that illustrate both correct usage and common idioms. By reading this comprehensive guide, you'll learn how to apply Python in real-world problem domains such as:

  • GUI programming
  • Internet scripting
  • Parallel processing
  • Database management
  • Networked applications

Programming Python, Third Edition covers each of these target domains gradually, beginning with in-depth discussions of core concepts and then progressing toward complete programs. Large examples do appear, but only after you've learned enough to understand their techniques and code.

Along the way, you'll also learn how to use the Python language in realistically scaled programs--concepts such as Object-Oriented Programming (OOP) and code reuse are recurring side themes throughout this text. If you're interested in Python programming, then this O'Reilly classic needs to be within arm's reach. The wealth of practical advice, snippets of code, and patterns of program design can all be put into use on a daily basis--making your life easier and more productive.

Reviews of the second edition:

"...about as comprehensive as any book can be."
--Dr. Dobb's Journal

"If the language had manuals, they would undoubtedly be the texts from O'Reilly...'Learning Python' and 'Programming Python' are definitive treatments."
--SD Times

Editorial Reviews


"It's the industry standard publication on Python, but don't be put off if you're a beginner. It takes a lot of shelf space, but it's worth it!" .NET, February 2007

Book Description

Powerful Object-Oriented Programming

Product Details

  • Paperback: 1552 pages
  • Publisher: O'Reilly Media; 3rd edition (August 30, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0596009259
  • ISBN-13: 978-0596009250
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 7.1 x 2.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4.3 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #546,437 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Mark Lutz is the world leader in Python training, the author of Python's earliest and best-selling texts, and a pioneering figure in the Python community since 1992. Mark can be reached on the web at

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
28 of 29 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Definitely not a "get started quick" guide July 8, 2009
Wow. I have mixed feelings about this book. On the one hand, it's enormous. It took me almost a year to go through the whole thing, although I did stop and work through every single example. On the other hand, like "Learning Python", there are a lot of sidetracks that seem targeted at beginners which I felt could have easily been left out.
This book should be considered volume 2 of "Learning Python". "Learning Python" (or "volume 1") covers the core Python language in quite a bit of detail, but doesn't talk much about the library. "Programming Python", in turn, covers the Python library, but doesn't talk about the syntax of the language (you're expected to know all that already).
Even with 1500 pages, it would be impossible to do justice to the _entire_ Python library, so a useful subset is covered. The book is actually divided into seven subsections, and sections 2 (System Programming), 3 (GUI Programming), 4 (Internet Programming), and 5 (Tools and techniques) could each have legitimately been a book in their own right. Part 6 (Integration) was a bit weak compared to the others - it covered only two chapters, and was the only section of the book that included incomplete examples. Of course, Parts 1 & 7 were an introduction and an epilogue.
In terms of the Python standard library, "String Services", "File and Directory Access", "Data Persistence", "Generic Operating System Services", "Interprocess Communcation and Networking", "Internet Protocols and Support", and "Graphical User Interfaces" were covered indepth. "Internet Data Handling" and "Structured Markup Tools" were both touched on, but not really examined. Other Python-related topics such as Jython, Zope, ZODB and SWIG were discussed as well, along with examples.
The main strength of this book was its examples.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A great resource for the python programmer. November 4, 2008
The only thing I regret about buying this book is not getting the hardcover version - it's a huge, comprehensive book.

It's got the best section on GUI programming in python that I've seen so far, and all the examples given throughout the book are practical, useful thing - unlike a lot of other programming books that only give you proofs-of-concept.

If you're already comfortable with python, and are looking to solidify your knowledge of it to a great degree, this is the book for you.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good enough I suppose February 15, 2008
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
One thing I really wish O'Reilly would have made clear on the cover is the version of Python which was current at the time of publication. In this case, it's 2.4, so if you're looking for information on things like function decorators or the new generator abilities that 2.5 brought along, you're going to be as disappointed as I was.

Aside from the fact that some of the information is dated, it's still a good overview of practical solutions to realistic problems which can be solved in the language. It does tend to spend way too much time developing TkInter GUIs (which I do not personally care about one bit) and overusing the usual array of extremely unfunny Monty Python references (which I personally stopped caring about around 1984). If you cut out both of these things the book would probably require about half as much paper per copy, and it'd be a good deal more digestible to boot. There's also lots of Windows-specific silliness and the author continues to operate under the assumption that OS X does not exist (every mention of the Mac platform refers to information that hasn't been accurate for nearly 10 years at this point).
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4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars rather terrible. February 5, 2010
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I don't think I've come across a bigger deterrent to learning more about python than this book (although "learning python" runs a close second) . It's very heavy on minutiae, and myopic when it comes to larger design issues. I've had mostly great luck with the O'reilly books, but really felt let down by the Python series. Wish I had an alternate recommendation on hand, but I've just started looking elsewhere.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Great price for the previous version January 6, 2014
By Alan
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I needed a good reference book for Python 2, and since the latest version is geared towards Python 3, this, the previous version, was a great value.
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1.0 out of 5 stars Completely useless for a beginner. October 27, 2012
By Eric
This is the worst O'Reilly book I have ever owned. Unlike the other O'Reilly books Learning the Bash Shell, and Programming Perl, this book provides no information whatsoever for a beginner to learn Python. There are no chapters explaining the basics of syntax, flow control, variables, built in functions or subroutines. It provides little snippets of information on advanced topics of no use to a beginner than goes on to provide programming examples about a completely different topic the very next page. This book assumes that you are already completely proficient in programming python.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Well Done ! February 1, 2011
This book is the ultimate Pythonic reference book, the best fit to this role I have yet seen. You will keep this book in the most cherished spot on your book shelf, or else right at your side on your computer desk, because you can almost instantly find any topic on which you need to brush up, in the midst of a programminng project.

It covers the core language as well as the most popular libraries and extension modules. It is difficult to choose any one portion of the book to highlight for extra praise, as all topics are treated so well. It is a complete book, the new definitive book about Python.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
1.0 out of 5 stars Makes a great doorstop.
This book fails miserably in comparison to "Programming Perl", since it's not an overview of the language and primarily functions as an insanely bloated tutorial, complete with the... Read more
Published 22 months ago by Jeremy
5.0 out of 5 stars Solid
Great book to ease your way into programming using command style OS's. Some of the info in this book will even carry over to Linux so its a great book to have for any geek like... Read more
Published on April 27, 2010 by Okami 13
5.0 out of 5 stars Great companion to the "Learning Python" book!
Get this book along along with "Learning Python" and you'll be set. Lots of handy stuff. My personal favorites are the sections that show you how to program GUIs and databases. Read more
Published on February 14, 2010 by Charlie Brune
1.0 out of 5 stars A total nightmare.
I bought this book assuming that it would be a good guide for python programming.

But I was wrong... Read more
Published on February 4, 2010 by Rick Demings
2.0 out of 5 stars pretty bad book
I'm new to python, not to programming. My programming skill level is beginner, I understand and use classes. Read more
Published on December 15, 2009 by Zhenya
1.0 out of 5 stars There's Better
This book is thicker than it is tall, is comprised of a quarter-acre of rain forest in paper, and is classified as a weapon in some states. Read more
Published on December 9, 2009 by J. Greenland
5.0 out of 5 stars Huge book
This book is one of the biggest books I own. It's amazing that the author was able to fit actual Python code on almost every page. Read more
Published on August 6, 2009 by Ryan Kulla
4.0 out of 5 stars good but irrelevant
The best way to learn python these days is to jump onto [...] and look thru the docs. Lutz provides a decent tutorial-based approach, but my personal learning style works better... Read more
Published on July 19, 2009 by Stephen McQuay
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