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Python For Dummies [Paperback]

Stef Maruch , Aahz Maruch
3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)

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Book Description

August 29, 2006 0471778648 978-0471778646 1st
Python is one of the most powerful, easy-to-read programming languages around, but it does have its limitations. This general purpose, high-level language that can be extended and embedded is a smart option for many programming problems, but a poor solution to others.

Python For Dummies is the quick-and-easy guide to getting the most out of this robust program. This hands-on book will show you everything you need to know about building programs, debugging code, and simplifying development, as well as defining what actions it can perform. You’ll wrap yourself around all of its advanced features and become an expert Python user in no time. This guide gives you the tools you need to:

  • Master basic elements and syntax
  • Document, design, and debug programs
  • Work with strings like a pro
  • Direct a program with control structures
  • Integrate integers, complex numbers, and modules
  • Build lists, stacks, and queues
  • Create an organized dictionary
  • Handle functions, data, and namespace
  • Construct applications with modules and packages
  • Call, create, extend, and override classes
  • Access the Internet to enhance your library
  • Understand the new features of Python 2.5

Packed with critical idioms and great resources to maximize your productivity, Python For Dummies is the ultimate one-stop information guide. In a matter of minutes you’ll be familiar with Python’s building blocks, strings, dictionaries, and sets; and be on your way to writing the program that you’ve dreamed about!

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Editorial Reviews

From the Back Cover

Use Python to build programs, debug code, and simplify development

Wrap yourself up in the structures, libraries, and advanced features of Python

Looking for a powerful yet easy-to-read programming language? Then slither up to Python! This friendly reference introduces you to Python, the portable, interactive language that combines great power with clear syntax. Get familiar with Python's building blocks; work with strings, dictionaries, and sets; and find out everything you need to write a robust program.

Discover how to

  • Process lists and tuples
  • Direct a program with control structures
  • Build applications with modules and packages
  • Get a charge from the "batteries included" libraries
  • Understand the new features of Python 2.5, including SQLite

About the Author

Stef Maruch got her hands on an original 128K Mac in 1984 and has been writing about computers ever since. She has over fifteen years’ experience in instructional design, writing, and editing end-user computer manuals, including tutorials and user’s guides for Apple Newton, HyperCard and HyperTalk, and DVD Studio Pro.

Aahz Maruch is a writer, trainer, and consultant who has been using Python for more than seven years. He has been using computers professionally for 20 years, and his background includes stints of high-end tech support, systems administration, and programming. Aahz is currently working as a programmer for a company with a Web-based application.

Product Details

  • Paperback: 436 pages
  • Publisher: For Dummies; 1st edition (August 29, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0471778648
  • ISBN-13: 978-0471778646
  • Product Dimensions: 9.2 x 7.3 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #131,577 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
27 of 27 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing April 22, 2008
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I agree with some of the reviewers here, it is definitely disappointing to see a bad seed among the good "... for dummies" series. I have previous experience with programming languages, although this is not my everyday task. I got interested in Python and wanted the book to guide me through the basics. After reading the first 7-8 chapters I started asking myself whether I missed something in the previous ones, as I lost track (and interest) in the book.
I found the examples parsed in the chapters rather useless, and not practical. Since, I have found several useful on-line tutorials on [...] where the user is taken through the chapters in a gradual, progressive way. The examples and exercises in a beginner's book should be based on what is learned in the previous chapters, giving the reader the idea that what is learned is put in practice, thus easily assimilated.

I don't recommend this book for a complete novice, as she/he will lose interest in Python programming very easily! This book has the advantage of presenting the main and most important features of the Python programming language, but it sues a more advanced audience.

The low rating is indeed due to the non adequacy of the book for beginners and for not following the good standards of the "...for dummies" successful series.

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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars And this is good for?.... May 10, 2008
I have read a couple dummies books and usually they are more of an introductory baby steps type of book. This was not the case. It feels they tried to offer more and it ended up coming across as babble.

I found myself getting bored at times. I can program in Perl and I started this book knowing I might be above the topics at times. I was looking to this book as an introduction to Python. The examples given were not as good as I would have liked. Overall, I don't think the presentation of topics were not good. For example, I thought two chapters on OOP was overkill for this type of book and probably should have been reduced to a chapter on the bigger things you may do.

I mention the examples again as I usually like to enter them for the fun of it. However, they really don't give a good feeling for the power of python.

I did like the spider example but it was lightly discussed.

The last two chapters I think were most useful for the links and other modules that were mentioned.

I should say glob was mentioned and I think the book should have talked about it more then just a passing mention.

So will I suggest this book? Probably not. It really depends on the person. I think it has to be a person that is between beginner and somebody who knows how to program.
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14 of 17 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A good intro for getting started with Python... December 24, 2006
Python For Dummies by Stef Maruch and Aahz Maruch is a pretty good introduction to the Python language, while also stressing proper technique and style...


Part 1 - Getting Started: Introducing Python; Getting Your Hands on the Keyboard - Using Help, Interactive Mode; and IDLE; Basic Elements and Syntax; Grand Tour of the Python Language; Working Like a Programmer

Part 2 - Building Blocks: So This Strings Walks into a Bar; Counting Your Way to Fun and Profit; Processing Lists and Tuples; Diving into Dictionaries

Part 3 - Structures: Staying in Control; Fun with Functions; Building Applications with Modules and Packages; Getting Classy; Introducing New-Style Classes; Feeling Exceptional; Tackling Some Advanced Features

Part 4 - Libraries: Using Python's Primary Services; Processing Text; Digging into Disk Data; Accessing the Internet

Part 5 - The Part of Tens: Ten Critical Python Idioms; Ten Great Resources

Part 6 - Appendixes: Getting and Installing Python; Python Version Differences


Python For Dummies starts out by explaining how Python came to be, why it's different than other languages, and what sort of applications are best suited for the Python approach. After that's out of the way, you get coverage of each Python feature and how it works. If you've ever gone through a book on a new programming language, you'll recognize the general layout and approach. The authors don't assume much prior programming experience (typical for a Dummies book), so the material is approachable and the writing is conversational in tone. I appreciated the section on "Working Like a Programmer", as it tries to establish proper development technique and mindset.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Not for Dummies January 21, 2008
This is a pretty decent book for those with some previous programming experience, but is definitely not for beginners (or Dummies) to programming. The first 2 chapters contain terms and concepts that assume an existing knowledge base.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
By jb0t
I have to strongly disagree with the majority of other reviews on this book. I am proficient in several scripting languages and a few years back when I decided to start using Python, I purchased several books and previewed many at book stores. The thing that makes this book a stand out is how it manages to cover so many topics in an easily digestible fashion. It is also very concise. This is the problem I had with the vast majority of the alternatives. Far too many details initially can really hinder getting a handle on the language quickly. This book excels in that respect better than ever other book I've read on Python. Python Essential Reference (4th Edition) is my second favorite and I recommend it as a companion to this book. I don't think just because it's a dummies book that it should teach you about the basics of scripting languages in general. If you have no experience with any scripting you might want to try another resource initially. I cannot recommend this book highly enough. I know several other professional developers who reported the same opinion about this book. I particularly loved the advanced topic chapter. Do yourself a favor and pick this book up as your first Python book! There are more comprehensive books you'll probably want after you finish this.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent introduction
I'm not sure why this book got some bad reviews, because it will get you up and running with python. Read more
Published 3 months ago by orcapod
5.0 out of 5 stars A good option for real beginners
It's really surprisingly difficult for someone who has been programming for a long time to write about programming at a level appropriate for real beginners. Read more
Published 6 months ago by Jonathan Ellis
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book, even if it is a bit dated.
I'm not an expert programmer, but I use python almost daily. I've purchased quite a few Python related books, maybe 4-5, and this is the only book that I consistently use and keeps... Read more
Published 9 months ago by kiel
1.0 out of 5 stars Book only cover obsolete version of Python
Seems to be a decent book. BUT not far into it, you notice that the version of Python that's under discussion is 2.5, and as I write this it is 3. Read more
Published 10 months ago by Steve Bobker
3.0 out of 5 stars so-so
I would have preferred a primer-type book that starts with basic concepts and builds on them. This one seems to jump right in to fairly advanced things like tuples and... Read more
Published 15 months ago by A. Craig
1.0 out of 5 stars this is not the book youre looking for...
although this gives insight into python... this is not the book youre looking for anymore... python 3 has taken over...
Published 16 months ago by Drew A. Arbuckle
3.0 out of 5 stars Oddly organized
This book is helpful for some concepts, and has certainly helped me with a few programming issues I've had, but I am not a fan of the tough in cheek titles for chapters, it is... Read more
Published 16 months ago by K Sheridan-Barbian
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent for starting into the Python programming language.
Great for learning the basics of a very powerful language. Programming experience not necessary but helpful to grasp the concepts more quickly.
Published 19 months ago by Edmond Guptill
3.0 out of 5 stars Interesting, I think I will use PHP more
This is the usual "Dummies" style book that you can use to either learn Python, or learn about Python, the latter being what I did.
Published 19 months ago by Pete Theisen
4.0 out of 5 stars good introduction to Python
I found Python for Dummies by the Maruchs to be a useful introduciton to Python programming. I quickly got to the place where I could write the simple scripts that I need for my... Read more
Published 22 months ago by etcher
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