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Python Pocket Reference (Pocket Reference (O'Reilly)) Paperback – March 6, 2005

ISBN-13: 978-0596009403 ISBN-10: 0596009402 Edition: 3rd

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Product Details

  • Series: Pocket Reference (O'Reilly)
  • Paperback: 148 pages
  • Publisher: O'Reilly Media; 3 edition (March 6, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0596009402
  • ISBN-13: 978-0596009403
  • Product Dimensions: 7.2 x 4.3 x 0.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,364,867 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

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. He is also the author of O'Reilly's Programming Python and Python Pocket Reference, and Learning Python (all in 4th Editions). Mark can be reached on the web at www.rmi.net/~lutz.

Customer Reviews

3.8 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By C. M. Lowry on June 26, 2005
While this is not the tool for learning Python, it is a valuable reference. It is amazing how much information that is packed into this small format. Toss it into your laptop bag for a quick reference, particularly since the third edition contains an index and covers Python 2.4.

With so many useful applications using Python as a macro language (e.g. Testmaker), this handy reference will earn its keep. I wonder if O'Reilly has a Ruby on the way, since they have mastered the format.

Of course, there is always the online documentation, if you are online.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By J. A. Rodriguez on November 21, 2007
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I read various reviews complaining about the lack of an index. Well, it does have one now and it complements perfectly what is a fantastic quick reference for many of your Python needs, from built-in modules to regular expressions. Of course, it does not include the formal grammar of the language, a complete reference of libraries available or anything other than quick pointers for someone who already knows what Python is but is not a guru yet (although anyone can forget how to open a file from time to time).
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By wiredweird HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWER on September 24, 2007
This is a great book for anyone who uses Python, especially for programmers at that level of Python competence after the beginner stage but short of a master's fluency. It provides a brief but clearly organized summary of Python basics: the language, primitive data structures, printf and other control codes, and the basic, everyday subset of the support libraries. And, since the editors apparently listened to criticism of earlier editions, the third editions includes a useful index as well as table of contents.

Some readers will be disappointed that it's not the book that it never meant to be. It never meant to be a tutorial or text book, it never meant to be a full specification of the language and libraries, and it never meant to be an encyclopedic description of the many available libraries. Decide what you want: if that's a quick reminder of Python's most useful basics, then this book will meet your needs.

-- wiredweird
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Austin Salgat on September 2, 2007
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This reference book is great for any beginner. I have recently picked up Python as my first language and have found myself commonly grabbing my reference book, going to the index, and looking up what I need. This along with the Python in a Nutshell book are my saving grace.
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9 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Paolo on September 23, 2008
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(Note: This review covered the 3rd edition so the complaints about being out of date don't stand anymore)

After reading the excellent C++ Pocket Reference, I decided that this book was worth a try, but I was disappointed.

The last half of this book is a list of module functions, that are MUCH more easily accessed thrugh the online documentation. I wish it was more a reference about the language than about the built-in modules. I don't remember (and I can't find it in the book index!) reading explicitly how to add an attribute to a class, or other language-specific operations.

Being a pocket reference, the language should be concise, but sometimes it is so obscure to be nearly incomprehensible.

Let me also point out that it is more than three years old, so it was not updated to cover Python 2.5, and of couse the upcoming 2.6 and 3.0. Furthermore it tries to cover many versions, with even some references to the 9-year old 1.5 release. I believe the latest would have been enough.

In no way this can replace the modules online documentation, not even as a quick reference.
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By Kojo baloo on April 22, 2005
This is the third edition of the book. Content structure:
<ul>
<li> The first few pages summarize how to run Python (command line
args, environment variables, etc).
<li> The next 80 pages describe the core language itself (syntax,
builtin types and functions, builtin class attributes, etc).
<li> The following 50 pages describe the most essential modules of the
Python standard library.
<li> Finally, 5 pages summarise essential Python idioms and hints, and
the 10 page index.
</ul>
The biggest changes from the 2nd edition are:
<ul>
<li> the index, which according to 2nd ed reviews was sorrily missed,
<li> the significant additions (20 pages worth) to the core section
<li> coverage of Python 2.4.
</ul>
The first (and possibly only important) question that comes to mind is, given the high quality of the online documentation that comes with standard Python, is the book worth having? The big attraction of the book is its coverage of the core language, in an easy to understand and compact "reference" style. Contrast this to the online version of the "Python Language Reference". Not only is the latter a full rather than a summary reference, but it is written in a comparatively terse style. Another advantage of the "pocket reference" is that you don't have to wade through a lot of information to find what you need - it's the bare bones, easily accessible from index.

The coverage of some of the most important standard modules is interesting but I don't think it offers much over the online docs. Actually, I would even replace those 50 pages with more extensive coverage of the core language, including class hierarchy diagrams (e.g.
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