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Programming in Python 3: A Complete Introduction to the Python Language 1st Edition

4.0 out of 5 stars 62 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0137129294
ISBN-10: 0137129297
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Editorial Reviews

From the Author

A sample chapter and all the book's examples can be downloaded from the book's web page. (Amazon don't allow URLs so google for "qtrac" to find the page.)

About the Author

Mark Summerfield, owner of Qtrac Ltd., is an independent trainer, consultant, technical editor, and writer specializing in Python, C++, Qt, and PyQt. His books include Rapid GUI Programming with Python and Qt: The Definitive Guide to PyQt Programming (Addison-Wesley, 2008) and, cowritten with Jasmin Blanchette, C++ GUI Programming with Qt 4 (Addison-Wesley, 2006). As Trolltech’s documentation manager, Mark founded and edited Trolltech’s technical journal, Qt Quarterly.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 552 pages
  • Publisher: Addison-Wesley Professional; 1st edition (December 26, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0137129297
  • ISBN-13: 978-0137129294
  • Product Dimensions: 7 x 1.4 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (62 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,501,920 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Kelly D. Painter on January 6, 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I am new to Python and wanted to learn. Prior to purchasing this book, I was reading "Learning Python" by Mark Lutz. I was literally half way through that book and couldn't write even a simple script due to the way that book is structured. I would not recommend that book. I was frustrated and ordered this book due to its coverage of Python 3. I am pleased.

This book takes an approach that gives the reader a quick overview of the language that is complete enough to start using Python by page 40! When the book mentions a topic that is covered elsewhere, there is a little box in the margin that tells the page that topic is covered - foward and backward. Great idea! That is very handy.

I had a little task that I wanted to write a script to do and I was able to do that easily after finishing the quick intro.

I am still reading the book and there is a lot of advanced information that I have not read yet. If the beginning of the book is any indication, it will be quite useful.
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Mark Summerfield's text: "Programming in Python 3" is a very good introduction to the Python programming language for people with prior programming experiance in another language. I came to Python from MatLab and prior to that, C and Fortan. So I'm pleased with the book and find myself refering back to it quite often. Having said that, this is not a "For Dummies" type book. Familiarity with with directory structure, file handling, and command prompt (console) operation is assumed.

The book covers all of the built in types and programming constructs of the Python language. It also introduces some of the useful (batteries included) standard library functinality along with details for working with modules and packages.

Finally, as I'm working my way into the middle of the book, I'm finding that it's a good introduction to object-oriented (OO) programming concepts and techniques in the clean syntax of the Python language. The OO concepts are not obfuscated by a language that is too criptic or too messy. Since this is about where I'm at on my own learning curve, the book is proving quite useful.
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This is a great book that covers Python 3 in a very orderly and concise manner. Readers are quickly introduced to the power of the language in the first 2 chapters, then each of the topics are covered in a more in depth way later in the book. This, however, is why I gave it only 4 stars. These beginning chapters may feel intimidating to some as the may feel as though they have been dropped in the deep end of the pool. More complex concepts like short-circuit logic are given but a few lines of explanation where a more detailed analysis may be warranted. All that said, it is the book I chose as the text for the python course I teach at the college level. I have limited time to get the students up and running, and this book surely does that. It also is a good stand alone reference that many of my students have chosen to keep on their bookshelves rather than return to the bookstore at the end of the semester. In short, it is concise, fast-paced, and in depth - covering enough of the language that the reader can come out the end feeling like they have a fairly good grasp of the language, concepts, and "pythonic thinking."
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A previous reviewer mentioned his experience with Mark Lutz's book. I had a similar experience with Lutz's book too. Unfortunately, after what starts out with a very useful approach (one which should be widely used by other authors) of getting you up and running quickly, Summerfield's book falls into the same problems that Lutz's book had. Namely, it s very densely written, with no obvious separation in the text from what is the useful overall knowledge about a topic and what is the more arcane. I plodded through about the first third of the book, until I realized I was becoming confused about what I already knew about Python..so I quit. To be fair, the book is not intended as a tutorial so much as it is a reference. But I have to say, that it needs a major overhaul before it can be really useful in this context too. For example, more separation using white space, or sub heads, or something, should separate sections within a chapter, and separate examples and illustrations from unrelated previous or subsequent text. A little more use of emphasis or italics to highlight key text would be nice as well. And the font used for text and code is too similar, in my opinion. Especially when the code is inline with the text. That Summerfield knows Python is quite obvious. Too bad he and his publisher are not a bit more aware of how to present that knowledge to the rest of the world.
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This book is clearly targeted at developers who are already experienced programmers in some other language, who wish to migrate their skills over to Python. The book goes through each of Python's language features piece by piece, in a no-nonsense, concise manner. The book is excellent at explaining how Python implements various programming paradigms and different approaches to the "Python way" of doing things. It doesn't "talk down" to you, or spend chapters and chapters going over basic demo programs. This allows the book to cover a lot of topics very thoroughly.

For me, the book was an excellent read and a great way to dive in to Python, and I expect other programmers would have the same experience. However, the pace is probably a bit too brisk for people who are programming for the very first time.
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