Core Python Programming Kindle Edition

4.0 out of 5 stars 36 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0132269933
ISBN-10: 0132269937
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Editorial Reviews

From the Author

Update for 2012
6:04PM PST, December 11, 2011
Unbelieveably 4 years have passed since my last post. Some of you saw the Amazon page for Core Python Applications Programming with a "3rd edition" tag. I'm sure you'll naturally assume that it's the 3rd ed. of Core Python Programming but may be confused by the name change. To clarify: it is... sort of.

Two things occurred which led us here: the 1st is a shortage of books on the market to help the intermediate Python developer. What do you do after you've learned Python? You may have read Dive into Python, Beginning Python, or Learning Python, and have written some basic tools/apps but have nowhere to turn other than dive deeply into specific topics w/books about game programming, databases, graphics/multimedia, GUIs, networking, etc.

If you want more than one skill you'd have to buy a book on every topic. This is overkill, esp. if you're only interested in expanding your skillset. In those cases you're not ready to dive that deep. You'll spend a lot, read a few chapters, then they'll collect dust (unless you're being paid or want to become an expert). This is the exact reason why I wrote "Part II" of Core Python Programming calling it "Advanced Topics". After spending a year (most of 2000) writing what I thought was the entire book, I asked myself, "Wait, I've just taught all these folks Python, but I didn't really show what they could build with it." Part II was written as a result.

Another thing that happened is that the book grew quite significantly. Originally 810 pages long, it bloomed to 1120 for the 2nd ed. With the new material for the 3rd ed., a massive tome would be difficult & expensive to publish plus would cause an unnecessary burden upon readers (unless getting an electronic edition). Thus I am pleased to announce that those chapters have been extracted to form their own book, Core Python Applications Programming!

The contents have been cleaned up and retrofitted w/Python 3 examples paired w/their 2.x friends as a hybrid to help you learn both 2.x & 3.x. You'll find that many chapters have new material including: NoSQL/non-relational databases featuring MongoDB, more Microsoft Office® examples using Outlook & PowerPoint (including the text-to-slide generator some of you have seen me use at conferences), interfacing w/Twitter, using Yahoo!Mail & Gmail to send/receive email, and even doing social media analysis w/Google+! There are also brand new chapters on Web framework development using Django, an introduction to cloud computing w/Google App Engine, and text processing w/CSV, JSON, and XML. The purpose is to provide comprehensive intros to but not go deep into any particular topic; please adjust any expectations appropriately. We hope you are as excited about the new book as we are!

The material making up "Part I" of the original book will take another couple of years to complete due to all the changes coming from Python 3 and not on the horizon at this time, so if you are a programmer completely new to Python, we still recommend the 2nd edition of Core Python Programming as the best place to go learn Python as quickly and as in-depth as possible. You'll get a great preview of Core Python Applications Programming there too! Also I look forward to meeting some of you at an upcoming conference or in one of my training courses!

Core Python Programming FAQs
1:24 AM PDT, October 30, 2008; last updated 9:17AM PST, December 10, 2012
Wow, I can't believe it's already been 2 years since the 2nd edition was published... thanks for all your support! I'm writing again because many of you have asked about a 3rd edition as well as Python 2.6+ & 3.x.

Q: Will there be a 3rd edition for Python 3.0?
A: I've already added sections on 3.x & 2.6+ to the newest printings, but did not update this book for 3.0 because: 1) if I made updates w/every release of Python, I would no longer be employed nor have a family, 2) as a programmer, I really don't want to put anything on paper (and sell it) for a ".0" release of any software, including Python, and 3) it generally takes several years between editions before there is enough material to warrant a reexploration of the manuscript. 3.x definitely qualifies, so really it's reason #2. Keep an eye out for something after 3.5 though.

Q: Is the book outdated now due to Python 2.6+ & 3.x?
A: No! Some of you who have met me in person or have heard me speak will know that my philosophy is to teach readers the core features of the language and not focus on minor features that come w/every release. (Chances are that you won't be using them anyway!) The book has been created especially to be version-independent. Any important version-specific gotchas are highlighted w/annotations (look for release number markers in the margins). Also in 2009, I added 2 new appendices that discuss 3.x and the role of the final 2.x releases (2.6-2.7). These will only appear in the 5th and newer printings -- look for a red star on the cover.

Q: Why does the book have "a lot of mistakes in it," use thick paper, and have large fonts?
A: There are very few errors in the text now as all of the items on the Errata have been fixed in printings since 2009. The paper was thick only for the 1st edition, and the fonts are slightly larger than normal as it makes the manuscript easier and faster to read.

Q: How's the book selling?
A: Thanks goes to those of you who have made it a bestseller! The book has had 6 printings now and has already completely outsold the 1st book! Now the publisher has asked for a 3rd edition!

It's here!!
2:23 PM PDT, September 14, 2006, updated at 12:29 AM PDT, October 11, 2006
Thanks for tuning in to the Amazon page for Core Python Programming. I'm excited to bring you the latest incarnation of my book.  In it, you will find updates as major as the changes in Python itself from the 1st edition days of 2.0 (2001). The 2nd edition is expanded (300 new pages!) and updated through Python 2.5 (released about the same time as this book[!]), including confirmed functionality for future versions. Also added are new chapters of advanced material. As in the 1st edition, a plethora of exercises can be found at the end of every chapter to hammer the concepts home. At the moment, this is the most complete and up-to-date Python book on the market today.

The book's main focus is comprehensively teaching you the core of the Python language, much more than just its syntax (which you don't really need a book to learn, right?). Knowing more about how Python works under the covers, including the relationship between data objects and memory management, will make you a much more effective Python programmer coming out of the gate. The advanced topics chapters are meant as intros or "quick dives" into a variety of distinct subjects. If moving towards those specific areas of development, they are more than enough to get you pointed in the right direction. We would say that the book is 40% introductory, 40% intermediate (in-depth core Python material plus advanced topics chapters), and 20% reference -- it is not meant to be a substitute for a pure reference such as the Python Essential Reference or Python in a Nutshell.

The material in the book is very much of a community effort (just like Python)! I welcome all comments, suggestions, corrections, feedback, etc., as well as what new chapters to add to future editions. Go to the book's website to download the code or check out the errata. When new versions of Python are released, look there for supplementary material to augment your book, keeping it as up-to-date as possible! I also offer public and private Python training courses and seminars should you feel the need for a "live" experience. I have written the book in an accessible style, reading as if I was having a conversation w/you, or if I was delivering a lecture to you attending one of my courses. Enjoy!

From the Back Cover

Praise for Core Python Programming


"The long-awaited second edition of Wesley Chun's Core Python Programming proves to be well worth the wait–its deep and broad coverage and useful exercises will help readers learn and practice good Python."

–Alex Martelli, author of Python in a Nutshell and editor of Python Cookbook


"There has been lot of good buzz around Wesley Chun's Core Python Programming. It turns out that all the buzz is well earned. I think this is the best book currently available for learning Python. I would recommend Chun's book over Learning Python (O'Reilly), Programming Python (O'Reilly), or The Quick Python Book (Manning)."

–David Mertz, Ph.D., IBM DeveloperWorks®


"I have been doing a lot of research [on] Python for the past year and have seen a number of positive reviews of your book. The sentiment expressed confirms the opinion that Core Python Programming is now considered the standard introductory text."

–Richard Ozaki, Lockheed Martin


"Finally, a book good enough to be both a textbook and a reference on the Python language now exists."

–Michael Baxter, Linux Journal


"Very well written. It is the clearest, friendliest book I have come across yet for explaining Python, and putting it in a wider context. It does not presume a large amount of other experience. It does go into some important Python topics carefully and in depth. Unlike too many beginner books, it never condescends or tortures the reader with childish hide-and-seek prose games. [It] sticks to gaining a solid grasp of Python syntax and structure."

– bookstore Web site


"[If ] I could only own one Python book, it would be Core Python Programming by Wesley Chun. This book manages to cover more topics in more depth than Learning Python but includes it all in one book that also more than adequately covers the core language. [If] you are in the market for just one book about Python, I recommend this book. You will enjoy reading it, including its wry programmer's wit. More importantly, you will learn Python. Even more importantly, you will find it invaluable in helping you in your day-to-day Python programming life. Well done, Mr. Chun!"

–Ron Stephens, Python Learning Foundation


"I think the best language for beginners is Python, without a doubt. My favorite book is Core Python Programming."

–s003apr, Forums


"Personally, I really like Python. It's simple to learn, completely intuitive, amazingly flexible, and pretty darned fast. Python has only just started to claim mindshare in the Windows world, but look for it to start gaining lots of support as people discover it. To learn Python, I'd start with Core Python Programming by Wesley Chun."

–Bill Boswell, MCSE, Microsoft Certified Professional Magazine Online


"If you learn well from books, I suggest Core Python Programming. It is by far the best I've found. I'm a Python newbie as well and in three months time I've been able to implement Python in projects at work (automating MSOffice, SQL DB stuff, etc.)."

–ptonman, Dev Shed Forums


"Python is simply a beautiful language. It's easy to learn, it's cross-platform, and it works. It has achieved many of the technical goals that Java strives for. A one-sentence description of Python would be: 'All other languages appear to have evolved over time--but Python was designed.' And it was designed well. Unfortunately, there aren't a large number of books for Python. The best one I've run across so far is Core Python Programming."

–Chris Timmons, C. R. Timmons Consulting


"If you like the Prentice Hall Core series, another good full-blown treatment to consider would be Core Python Programming. It addresses in elaborate concrete detail many practical topics that get little, if any, coverage in other books."

–Mitchell L Model, MLM Consulting


"Core Python Programming is an amazingly easy read! The liberal use of examples helps clarify some of the more subtle points of the language. And the comparisons to languages with which I'm already familiar (C/C++/Java) get you programming in record speed."

–Michael Santos, Ph.D., Green Hills Software


The Complete Developer's Guide to Python
  • New to Python? The definitive guide to Python development for experienced programmers
  • Covers core language features thoroughly, including those found in the latest Python releases–learn more than just the syntax!
  • Learn advanced topics such as regular expressions, networking, multithreading, GUI, Web/CGI, and Python extensions
  • Includes brand-new material on databases, Internet clients, Java/Jython, and Microsoft Office, plus Python 2.6 and 3
  • Presents hundreds of code snippets, interactive examples, and practical exercises to strengthen your Python skills

Python is an agile, robust, expressive, fully object-oriented, extensible, and scalable programming language. It combines the power of compiled languages with the simplicity and rapid development of scripting languages. In Core Python Programming, Second Edition , leading Python developer and trainer Wesley Chun helps you learn Python quickly and comprehensively so that you can immediately succeed with any Python project.


Using practical code examples, Chun introduces all the fundamentals of Python programming: syntax, objects and memory management, data types, operators, files and I/O, functions, generators, error handling and exceptions, loops, iterators, functional programming, object-oriented programming and more. After you learn the core fundamentals of Python, he shows you what you can do with your new skills, delving into advanced topics, such as regular expressions, networking programming with sockets, multithreading, GUI development, Web/CGI programming and extending Python in C.


This edition reflects major enhancements in the Python 2.x series, including 2.6 and tips for migrating to 3. It contains new chapters on database and Internet client programming, plus coverage of many new topics, including new-style classes, Java and Jython, Microsoft Office (Win32 COM Client) programming, and much more.

  • Learn professional Python style, best practices, and good programming habits
  • Gain a deep understanding of Python's objects and memory model as well as its OOP features, including those found in Python's new-style classes
  • Build more effective Web, CGI, Internet, and network and other client/server applications
  • Learn how to develop your own GUI applications using Tkinter and other toolkits available for Python
  • Improve the performance of your Python applications by writing extensions in C and other languages, or enhance I/O-bound applications by using multithreading
  • Learn about Python's database API and how to use a variety of database systems with Python, including MySQL, Postgres, and SQLite
  • Features appendices on Python 2.6 & 3, including tips on migrating to the next generation! 

Core Python Programming delivers

  • Systematic, expert coverage of Python's core features
  • Powerful insights for developing complex applications
  • Easy-to-use tables and charts detailing Python modules, operators, functions, and methods
  • Dozens of professional-quality code examples, from quick snippets to full-fledged applications

Product Details

  • File Size: 37942 KB
  • Print Length: 1136 pages
  • Simultaneous Device Usage: Up to 5 simultaneous devices, per publisher limits
  • Publisher: Prentice Hall; 2 edition (September 18, 2006)
  • Publication Date: September 18, 2006
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B002VJ9HSO
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #582,244 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By E. Wilson on July 12, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
If you are trying to decide whether to get Core Python or Dive into Python, you will find the answer in the way you like to learn.

Dive into Python if for the impatient programmer, that wants to get started as quickly as possible, knowing that you can always go back to the docs when you get stuck. I tried reading Dive into Python, and I found it unpleasant, because I don't like to learn that way, leaving me with too many questions unanswered.

Core Python is for those of us that like to know the rules before we start playing the game. Mr Chun does an excellent job of communicating the details that you would find in a language specification, but in comfortable language that makes it easy to understand and remember the concepts.

The comparisons to Bruce Eckel (Thinking in Java) are appropriate, Chun and Eckel are similar in style, though Chun seems to me more clear, and less verbose.

The table of contents is well thought out, and when concepts in one chapter are closely related to another chapter Chun helpfully references where you would look to read more on the related topic. The code snippets are appropriately brief, containing the necessary detail for the concept at hand.

This is an excellent book, as Mr. Chun does well what he sets out to do. If you are interested in a detailed exposition that will continue to serve as a great reference, I recommend Core Python.
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Format: Paperback
Summary: Core Python Programming lives next to my keyboard.

Having been programming, in a scientific role, for a decade, I recently took up Python. This book was the text used with a short course on Python I took, and I can see why. As other reviewers have said, Python has excellent documentation; what the Python documentation usually lacks is both practical examples and an explanation of why. This book gives both of those things and in a very readable way. It's been the fastest and simplest way for me to get to grips with object-oriented concepts, and has been a great reference for most things I've needed to do.

Drawbacks: If you've never programmed before, this probably isn't for you - perhaps try Beginning Python: From Novice to Professional, Second Edition, which covers programming fundamentals while teaching you Python. For those with a little more background, I really like Dive Into Python 3 (free under a GNU license, so Google it). For experienced Python programmers, this perhaps doesn't have sufficient depth as it's not specialized in any one area. If you want to learn Python for basic data analysis and visualization (without a need/desire to do more), then go for Beginning Python Visualization: Crafting Visual Transformation Scripts (Books for Professionals by Professionals).

This really is a good CORE Python book. It's not really a beginner's guide, or a specialist text on any given niche topic. It's a great reference and that's it.
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Format: Paperback
I got this book because of its many positive reviews, but I'm not happy with it.

I'm a professional programmer. C++ is my main language, but I know C, Java, Perl, Smalltalk. I have used Python a fair amount in the past; I wanted to go through a Python book because I'm starting a new project in Python and the language has changed since I last used it.

My main criticism of this book (2nd edition, 3rd printing) is its sloppy production. It is loaded with typos, broken code, and other errors. I'm surprised that most other reviewers didn't comment on this fact. The author knows about many of these errors and has corrections posted on the web, where he airily excuses the book's errors as being "due to lack of time or priority during the highly-compressed editing phase." If he or the publisher really cared, many of these errors would have been corrected by the third printing. (Many would not require resetting even a full line of type.)

As other reviewers have said, Chun's writing is rather disorganized and conversational. That's not to my taste, but evidently it suits lots of people. For the length of the book, the depth is not great.

Some reviewers say that this is the best book they have seen for beginning programmers. Maybe they are not familiar with Kernighan and Ritchie's classic, _The C Programming Language_. That book, in my opinion, is the standard of excellence.

Overall I prefer Beazley's _Python Essential Reference_ 3rd edition to Chun's book. The Reference is terse and maybe not suitable for a novice, but it is thorough, accurate, well organized, and carefully produced. Chun does provide exercises after each chapter; that is the book's main positive feature, in my opinion.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
As an intermediate programmer(mainly familiar with adapting scripting languages like bash and perl to perform basic - and much more complex - tasks on my computer ranging from sys admin stuff to creating my own database systems - foolishly), finding Core Python was a revelation for me, and is absolutely THE book I'd recommend to anyone who wants to learn the language. I've read 1000's of pages of Python texts, and paid hundreds of dollars, and wasted months and months doing so. Core Python would have saved me these grotesque expenditures, and only bothered writing this in the hopes of sparing other intermediate and beginning programmers from my fate. Here's the deal:

My background:
20 years in computing, 7 in linux, *no* background in object-oriented programming, know *very* *basic* Java, once wrote a small program in C++ by following instructions in high school (to whit: NONE), bunch of web-design, and have comprehensive and extensive understanding (both practical and theoretical) of MIDI/music technology in general, with which I have been working for the past 14ish years (including writing my own parsing programs and building front-ends for numerous practical applications), almost a year of building my own database programs from scratch (to read: bash... from nothing). So, I'm totally no one I'd brag about (not a code jedi or anything), but I do know how to program, and know how to learn a new language... and, if you're at all like me, then you will love Core Python. But, I'm getting sidetracked. I think it's always important to know WHY someone wanted to learn a language before reading their review of a survey course in the language so...
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