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42 of 49 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars extremely disappointed, January 17, 2003
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This review is from: Learning Python (Help for Programmers) (Paperback)
I bought this book because I originally bought the author's Programming Python book mistakenly thinking it would be similar to the Programming Perl book (which is a stellar book, where as the Python equivalent is more like a cookbook). It was immediately obvious that I was NOT going to learn Python from that book so I bought this one. Again, a mistake. It may be a fair overview of Python but it did not give me the tools I needed to be productive right away; and if it did have the information that I was looking for it was not obvious. Simple things like writing to standard error, file tests, executing separate programs and saving the output, parsing text, even how to force a script to bloody exit... basically common things people expect from a scripting language right away were given either little, weak, or *NO* obvious treatment. The appendix is no help either, I could not find most of these simple operations listed there under the usual key words. I'm sorry to say but this is the worst O'Reilly book I've come accross and (together with Programming Python) is a black mark on the series.
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Showing 1-7 of 7 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Jul 28, 2008 1:32:06 PM PDT
That's kinda harsh. I found the book extremely useful when I tried learning Python for the first time. Some of the things you mentioned were in there, but probably not under the same "topics" you were looking under.
The things you are looking for are things you can easily google up ("How do I force a script to exit in python")

The book is more geared at learning python as a language than learning how to do specific things with it. Just my 2 cents, I thought it was a great book and I'd recommend it to anyone starting out with Python.

Posted on Mar 22, 2010 7:10:29 AM PDT
It looks you were actually after a Python Scripting book, which this is not.
It gives a wide overview, with plenty of depth in my opinion (as it is written to be an introdutory book).

I had it borrowed from friend and I'm buying my own copy right now.

In reply to an earlier post on Sep 20, 2010 5:47:46 AM PDT
Fred Manley says:
Three of the five things you've mentioned as not being in the book, I know how to do, and I'm only through chapter four. Saving outputs to a separate file and terminating a run are right in chapter three, stated pretty clearly and given more than a sentence or two.

It really sounds like you were looking for a Python scripting book, as others have said, and gave this book one star because it didn't perform a function it states it has no intention of performing in the first few pages of the preface. It assumes little prior knowledge in computer programming, and is meant as a self study course in OOP with the Python language. He says all this on the first page of the preface, which most of us take the time to read before we buy a book, so we know what it is we're spending money on in the first place.

Posted on Jan 11, 2011 4:10:39 PM PST
mikshir says:
In hindsight after 7 years and reading the comments I admit I was a bit too harsh; the book simply was not what I was looking for nor what I expected being biased by the name and comparison to the Perl books. I did buy the book on blind faith (ordered without ever having perused) and my feelings were additionally colored by having gotten the Programming Python book, which together did not serve my needs adequately. Specific things that I complained about may have been included in the text for someone going through the book back to front, but I was looking for something that would get me up to speed quickly and felt those things not easily accessible. I did find another book that fit the bill and do not have this book any longer. This was just my preference and obviously other reviewers are quite pleased.

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 11, 2011 4:41:19 PM PST
mikshir says:
I didn't specifically state what was not included at all, but that there were many things that were given weak or little or no treatment; the index could have saved it but it didn't and it is my personal opinion that all good programming books should double in some basic ways as reference book anyways. This may have changed in further editions in the past 7 years perhaps. I didn't know there was any real distinction between a Python scripting book and a Python book; Python is a scripting programming language afterall. A quick-ref book may have served my needs better perhaps and I admit I was harsh. As to your comment, I bought the book online and trusted my experience with the series and title rather than reading the preface first; IIRC there was no preview of the preface to read online first back then. Noone's fault but my own, but my personal review stands and I'm not alone. YMMV always applies.

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 8, 2013 12:15:17 PM PST
Kevin Calman says:
So what book did you prefer? I am looking for the same requirement.

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 8, 2013 12:26:01 PM PST
mikshir says:
On recommendation I ended up with this The Quick Python Book which did serve my needs. I see there is a 2nd edition now as well. Mind you, I bought it 7+ years ago and better books may be available, including possibly later editions of the O'Reilly books.
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