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Python: Pocket Primer Paperback – June 1, 2014

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Editorial Reviews

Review

Primarily for self-learners, Campesato explains the basics of the Python software. Readers will have an easier time the more background they have with other scripting languages and other programming languages, he says. He covers conditional logic, loops, and functions; Python collections; regular expressions; files and streams; working with JSON and XML; data visualization and graphics; built-in functions and custom classics; Python and databases; and miscellaneous topics

There are three good primers in Python. The classic Learning Python by Mark Lutz, Zed Shaw's opinionated set of learning exercises, and for the complete novice, Think in Python. While all three are good reads, they all have specific limitations. Lutz's book is 1600 pages(!), Shaw's book teaches by assigning numerous small projects, and the Think volume is truly aimed at non-programmers. The Python Pocket Primer fills the yawning need for a concise guide written for programmers who need to get up to speed quickly on the language. It is supremely hands-on and wastes little time on non-essentials: From the opening chapter on setting up an environment, it speeds along with topic after topic explained clearly with supporting code and examples from the REPL. By page 60, you're into Python collections; by page 100, you've covered file handling; by page 140, you've worked with JSON. The remaining 50 pages cover more-involved topics such as working with databases and even some minimal concurrency.

The only missing topic is the set of considerations around building large projects in Python. Given that this book is a primer, though, this omission seems entirely reasonable.

Unlike other books that teach languages via the code snippets and REPL/console listings, this book seems to get the balance between explanation and demo exactly right. As a result, you can cruise along and quickly get to the point of using Python ably. The good explanations and the care with which they build successively on each other mean that it's comparatively easy to retain just-learned material as you push forward into new topics.

In sum, I think this unassuming little book is one of the fastest ways of getting up-to-speed in Python...(I)t's truly a bargain.

Primarily for self-directed learners who want to learn Python, this book and DVD serves as a starting point for deeper exploration of Python programming. Includes source code and tutorial videos; provides a solid introduction to Python via complete code samples; contains a chapter devoted to Jython; and includes latest Python developments.

About the Author

Oswald Campesato (San Francisco, CA) specializes in D3, Java, Android, and CSS3/SVG graphics. He is the author/co-author of twenty books including jQuery, CSS3, and HTML5 for Mobile and Desktop Devices, and Python Pocket Primer (Mercury Learning).
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Product Details

  • Series: Pocket Primer
  • Paperback: 200 pages
  • Publisher: Mercury Learning & Information; Pap/DVD edition (June 1, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1938549856
  • ISBN-13: 978-1938549854
  • Product Dimensions: 0.8 x 6 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #232,486 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Matthew Vattes on August 7, 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book is just what I was looking for. Something to highlight the extremely useful bits and pieces of the core Python language and the standard library. This book doesn't teach every fine little detail of the language, though. For that consult 'Learning Python' by Mark Lutz.

Only thing I'd like more is to have an eBook copy. Oswald, can you make that happen?
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