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Python Standard Library (Nutshell Handbooks) with Paperback – May 20, 2001

ISBN-13: 978-0596000967 ISBN-10: 0596000960

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: O'Reilly Media (May 20, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0596000960
  • ISBN-13: 978-0596000967
  • Product Dimensions: 7 x 0.8 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,932,521 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews Review

Ideal for any working Python developer, Fredrik Lundh's Python Standard Library provides an excellent tour of some of the most important modules in today's Python 2.0 standard. Mixing sample code and plenty of expert advice, this title will be indispensable for programmers.

The book presents sample script code--written by a frequent contributor to Python newsgroups--for almost 200 of the built-in modules in Python 2.0 and shows how to solve common programming problems in Python. Instead of a function-based reference, you get sample scripts for a wide variety of solutions centering on different Python modules.

Early sections look at core modules for working with the operating system, math, and strings, among other functions. Material on Python's excellent support for files and directories will help you master the file system. Explanations of various encryption schemes will let you add security to your Python scripts.

Getting Python to multitask with multiple threads comes next, along with getting Python programs to communicate using pipes and signals. After the sample scripts for pickling Python objects to and from files, the book delves into modules that are geared toward today's Internet. First, there's coverage of Python's support for XML, HTML, and SGML, followed by a discussion of its extensive networking support for low-level sockets to high-level Internet protocols, including e-mail and FTP. Sample scripts for e-mail will be really useful for any Python programmer.

Later chapters provide coverage of internationalization support in Python and its support for multimedia. The book closes with material on platform-specific modules (which are specific to Unix and/or Windows) as well as modules that are obsolete but necessary to understanding legacy Python code.

There's a lot of expertise on display in Python Standard Library. The code does much of the talking in this example-packed text, which is sure to earn its place on any working Python programmer's bookshelf. --Richard Dragan

Topics covered:

  • Introduction to the Python 2.0 standard modules
  • Core modules (including modules for operating system functions, string, math, time, and garbage collection)
  • File and directory modules
  • Encryption and security modules
  • Threads, processes, pipes, and signals in Python
  • Persisting Python objects (marshalling and pickling objects)
  • Python modules for XML, HTML, and SGML
  • Modules for e-mail and news support
  • Internet programming with Python (including sockets, a chat example, FTP, SMTP, IMAP, POP, and Telnet)
  • Internationalization support
  • Modules for multimedia support (image and sound files)
  • Data storage in Python (with shelves)
  • Python tools
  • Platform-specific modules (including Unix- and Windows-specific modules)
  • Miscellaneous and legacy Python modules


"With useful, witty code examples Python Standard Library is a joy to work through, providing much more meat than any standard reference work." Martin Howse, Linux User & Developer - VSJ, Feb

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

10 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Luke Tymowski on June 18, 2001
Format: Paperback
If you are learning Python, a beginner to intermediate Python programmer, you'll want to get a copy of this book. It won't do as your only Python book, but as a supplement to <i>Learning Python</i> or one of the other introductory Python books, it is invaluable for the non-expert Python programmer. If you bought the first edition of the book, which was available only as an eBook, you'll want this edition as it covers Python 2.0 as well as Python 1.5.2. (The eBook edition covered only Python 1.5.2.)
Each chapter begins with a brief summary of what will be covered. Chapter 4 is summarised as follows: "This chapter describes a number of modules that can be used to convert between Python objects and other data representations. These modules are often used to read and write foreign file formats and to store or transfer Python variables." It's terse, to be sure, but it's not meant for someone who has never looked at Python before.
Frederik assumes you know which module you want to use and gives you some sample code that shows you how to use it. You might ask on a newsgroup how to parse an HTML file. Someone will answer and tell you to look at either the htmllib or sgmllib module. Great. So, umm, how do you use them? A sample script showing you how to do something with either module or both could save you hours of frustration. Frederik also gives you tips on how best to use a module or when not to use it. For example, in describing the htmllib module, he says "If you're only out to parse an HTML file and not render it to an output device, it's usually easier to use the sgmllib module instead."
The book is sprinkled with tips.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By John X Dooley on January 25, 2006
Format: Paperback
I bought this book in 2004 when I was just starting to learn Python. I never once used it. Its not a bad book, just less useful now than in 2001.

The book covers Python 2.0. Anything before 2.2 for any Python book is probably not worth the trouble in 2006 and beyond.

When looking for information about a Python module I look in Alex Martelli's Nutshell book(2.2) and the go to the online Library Reference. The nutshell is good for background and examples and the Library Reference brings things up to 2.4.

If I am not quite sure what I am looking for then the Python Cookbook (2nd edition) is the most help.

Mark Pilgram's Dive into Python is a great, in-depth look at some of the more useful standard library modules.

I hope Alex Marelli updates his Nutsehell book for 2.4.

There are other good books for learning Python but the Nutshell(O'Reilly), Cookbook(O' Reilly), Library Reference(, and Dive into Python(online or an Apress book) do the best job of covering the standard library,
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on June 4, 2001
Format: Paperback
The author knows python, but the book itself is not worth it. It just contains lots of code snippet and little explanation.
The two books that I'll recommend are "Python Essential Reference" by David M. Beazley (a second edition is coming soon) and "Core Python" by Wesley Chun.
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Frank Wilkinson on June 28, 2001
Format: Paperback
This is a nice supplemental text for the Standard Library documentation. Sometimes you find yourself puzzled as to how a module is to be used, even after reading the documentation. This book provides a little extra help in that regards by providing concise examples that point you in the right direction.
I can't give it five stars because it is a little sparse for the price. Please be warned, the book is almost all code. Don't expect a great deal of explanatory text.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Joel Burton on May 23, 2001
Format: Paperback
One of the great things about Python has always been the library that it comes with -- and the Python manual does a fair, if dense, version of documenting this. There are some great books about how to program in Python (such as New Rider's Essential Python), but even these often fail to document the library in a sensible, searchable way.
I had high hopes that this book would be a useful reference for the modules, but in fact, it's much more of a scattered illustration of how some of the modules work. Methods are not listed, modules frequently lack any real explanation, and the examples are often a bit cryptic. There are some useful areas -- the section on how the __builtins__ work, and how to exploit some nifty features about Python importing is pretty cool -- but as any kind of references, or even helpful guide to the standard libraries, this falls far short of my expectations. (Don't let this distract you from other O'Reilly books, though, which are often excellent.)
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