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Sams Teach Yourself Python in 24 Hours (Teach Yourself -- 24 Hours) Paperback – May 15, 2000


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Product Details

  • Series: Sams Teach Yourself
  • Paperback: 510 pages
  • Publisher: Sams Publishing; 1st edition (May 15, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0672317354
  • ISBN-13: 978-0672317354
  • Product Dimensions: 1.2 x 7.5 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 2.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,171,185 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

In the crowded field of scripting languages, Python has found a niche as the best tool for learning object-oriented design principles. Several elegantly produced books in the past few years, notably David M. Beazley's thorough Python Essential Reference and John E. Grayson's durable Python and Tkinter Programming, have established a foundation of documentation that makes Python a buildable platform for rapid prototyping, as well as good programming practice.

The appearance in April 2000 of a Sams Teach Yourself Python in 24 Hours is evidence of mainstream support. Author Ivan van Laningham has the happy task of teaching an eminently teachable language, and his passion for Python is evident throughout. The 24-chapter recipe is arbitrary, but the book has a well-chosen tripartite subdivision into sections on basic operation, object-oriented design, and GUIs, each of which fulfills its mission. Each "hour" chapter ends with a summary, a Q&A period, a quiz with answers, and, for the ambitious, exercises.

The first hour asks the essential question, "Why Python?" The answer is a collection of flattering adjectives--flexible, extensible, embeddable, elegant, clear, simple--but the author fails to provide a comparison of Python with Tcl, Java, and Perl. Python has a competitive advantage, as found in Part II on object-oriented design basics and strategies. While other languages use o-o principles, none has subsumed it into the mind of the language as much as Python.

Van Laningham's book is illustrated with visually uninteresting black-and-white screen dumps from his Windows Python shell. An early lesson on adding '1' to the decimal representation of a googol (10^100) reveals that Python can print the answer in decimal notation. (Try it with Perl to see what happens.) The modular nature of Python is introduced transparently by incorporating the trigonometric math library.

Teach Yourself Python in 24 Hours is weakest in its editing. Mistakes in cross-referencing are distracting, and Van Laningham's loose, informal English often obfuscates his points. Code snippets in the early chapters grow into major listings by the middle, and proper annotation begins to slacken. A 950-line listing in chapter 16--which is downloadable from the inscrutable www.pauahtun.org--has few annotations. May future editions be shorter, sharper, and cleaner, but just as passionate. --Peter Leopold

From the Back Cover

Sams Teach Yourself Python in 24 Hours presents 24 hands-on, one-hour lessons that guide you through all the steps needed to learn the Python programming language. The lessons begin with basic Python syntax and language features, and move up through object oriented design and programming. The book ends with a series of chapters covering GUI programming (using Tkinter), Python as a system administration tool, and Python as a programming language for CGI applications.

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Customer Reviews

Even the French translation seems to be very low, corresponding to the criticism done in English.
YONTER
This book could not possibly teach you python in 24 hours, nor will it do anything but confuse and frustrate the inexperienced programmer.
Dave Leeper, Plowshares Director
Definitely not recommended... This book is not written for beginners and I doubt if it will help experienced Python programmers.
"haydaremre"

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

15 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Maria Erb on May 16, 2000
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I bought this book hoping it would be a gentle yet thoroughintroduction to the Python language which I had hoped to use for webapplications. And the book started out along that track. Easy to read and lively and with lots of examples. The big problem I have with the book (and I only made it to hour 12 before I had to quit) is that there is no way for the reader to practice and learn the concepts in the book. There aren't any practice exercises or drills. There are screen dumps of code, but I didn't find the examples useful since I was looking for web-based applications rather than more mathematical types of examples. The examples also get very big and complex early on in the book. Experienced programmers will probably be able to follow along, but then they might not be buying this book in the first place. I'm still looking for a good, step-by-step way to learn Python.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on May 3, 2000
Format: Paperback
What I like: - Easy to understand. The author did a good job. - Casual writing style. (You learn a thing or two about Zen.) - Includes enough ref info on its topics, but not too detailed/technical.
What I don't like: the editorial works. - Sample codes/output are presented as computer screen dumps. The color (gray scale) is hard to read, and characters are small. - The book description touts CGI as one of the book topics, but it's only covered lightly and briefly to add much value. - Chapter/hour 1 and 2 should be combined as 1. Too brief & too light.
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10 of 13 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on February 2, 2003
Format: Paperback
...this book is garbage, and that's exactly where the book is now. In the garbage. The author needs to go back to school and get educated in the english language. He is very knowledgable in programming, he lacks the ability to put his thoughts in english that others can understand. He stops his thought half way through sentences. He has run on sentences, typo's, combined with the fact that he NEVER explains a single piece of code in the book completely, he famous lines in the book are "we'll discuss that later" which never happens, and "do you remember this?" NO, BECAUSE YOU NEVER EXPLAINED IT!!! Very frustrating, and i'm an undergrad student that has been punching out code in Java for 3 years, and I'm totally lost, how is that possible? 2 simple words for this book, don't bother. Get this book, it's much better: ISBN# 0-13-026036-3 - Core Python Programming by Wesley J. Chun
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By "wenpep" on December 26, 2000
Format: Paperback
Although the book claims to be written for the novice programmer, I don't think it is really suited to such a reader. Throughout the book, the author introduces things without explanation. This is particularly a problem with the code samples. Most of the code in the book is taken from other projects that the author had worked on and is often not very illustrative of the points he is trying to make. Also, much of the code has parts that are unexplained. If I had not already been familiar with a few other languages, I don't think I could have followed this book at all.
Finally, although Python is often used for text processing tasks like sys admin, cgi, etc., almost all the examples in this book revolve around calendrical calculations. Maybe fascinating for the author, but agonizingly dull for me.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By W. J. Vovil on January 7, 2002
Format: Paperback
This book is OK. The author gets lost in his pastimes, such as Mayan culture. I didn't mind this though because I was entertained by his tangents. There is a better one, namely Learning Python (Lutz).
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Rosiher Sibaja on August 13, 2002
Format: Paperback
I have tried making my way through this book many times. But I cannot get past the author's incessesant penchant for the mayan calendar. I did not find any use in going through code snippets (which are very hard to read, they are screenshots in small font)that taught me how to manipulate dates (leap years, mayan calendars etc.) I found this approach extremely boring. Infusing text with an occasionally comment of marginal wit, does not make it entertaining.
The only redeeming portion of this book it that it does include a good introduction to Tkinter. I just wish someone with a better understanding of instructional writing had written it.
Like so many other Python books, does every introduction to subjects such as funtions, classes, objects and methods have to be about spam? I know where python got its name...but enough already!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Matt on May 17, 2001
Format: Paperback
This book looked good when I started reading it, and even though I read through the whole thing and learned a few concepts about OO and Python it is definetly not a beginner's book. Hard to follow and the examples are basically all about mayan calendrical calculations. One thing i will say for this book is that the chapters on Tcl/Tk were quite good.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Dave Leeper, Plowshares Director on November 24, 2001
Format: Paperback
You are better off reading the help and intro files at the python website than buying this book. There are numerous times where code is not explained and you have to figure things out more so than you would expect from a book that costs you money.
Though you can understand what the program does, the actual meanings of script and calls are left unexplained; this book lacks the precision needed to explain programming and obscures a simple and powerful language like python. This book could not possibly teach you python in 24 hours, nor will it do anything but confuse and frustrate the inexperienced programmer.
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