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In over 1,200 pages of material, this book offers an extremely comprehensive guide to Python development. Though his book is densely packed with information, Mark Lutz is a lively and witty writer whose focus is on getting things done using the natural strengths of the Python language. To that end, after an introduction and history of the language, the book shows how to use Python for performing automated tasks with files and directories (for example, for doing backups both locally and on Web servers). Not only will this book teach you more about Python, but it will also give you a library of code that you can use as is or adapt for your own projects.
The text covers every conceivable facet of Python and the language's support for networking, files and directories, task management, and even persistence (through its support for shelves). Complete Python programs show how to create e-mail clients, do reporting, and create Web applications (for an online errata database). Chapters on doing graphics programming in Python, as well as coverage of both built-in and custom data structures, are especially good. Because Python is often used for automating installations (in some Linux distributions, for instance), readers will appreciate the sample code and tips for using Python to create bulletproof installs.
Later sections show how get Python to work with C, Java (through JPython), and other languages. The book concludes with useful reference sections summarizing key aspects of Python, like its revision history, relationship to C++, and other material. There aren't many titles on Python, and fans of this up-and-coming language are lucky to have such a solid tutorial and guide available in Programming Python. Perfect for those with just a little previous exposure to the language, it's all you need to master Python in-depth and tap its considerable power for virtually any software project. --Richard Dragan
Mark Lutz is an independent Python trainer, writer, and software developer, and is one of the primary figures in the Python community. He is the author of the O'Reilly books Programming Python and Python Pocket Reference (both in 2nd Editions), and co-author of Learning Python (both in 2nd Editions). Mark has been involved with Python since 1992, began teaching Python classes in 1997, and has instructed over 90 Python training sessions as of early 2003. In addition, he holds BS and MS degrees in computer science from the University of Wisconsin, and over the last two decades has worked on compilers, programming tools, scripting applications, and assorted client/server systems. Whenever Mark gets a break from spreading the Python word, he leads an ordinary, average life with his kids in Colorado. Mark can be reached by email at , or on the web at http://www.rmi.net/~lutz.