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Programming Python 4th Edition

3.7 out of 5 stars 55 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0596158101
ISBN-10: 0596158106
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Editorial Reviews

Book Description

Powerful Object-Oriented Programming

About the Author

Mark Lutz is the world leader in Python training, the author of Python's earliest and best-selling texts, and a pioneering figure in the Python community since 1992. He has been a software developer for 25 years, and is the author of O'Reilly's Programming Python, 3rd Edition and Python Pocket Reference, 3rd Edition.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 1632 pages
  • Publisher: O'Reilly Media; 4 edition (January 10, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0596158106
  • ISBN-13: 978-0596158101
  • Product Dimensions: 7 x 3 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (55 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #71,583 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Programming Python is a book designed to take people who know Python and guide them on how to actually make it do things in the real world. It's important to note that the material in here (In the December 2010 4th edition) is for 3.X versions of Python and only deals with 2.X to the extent that the versions overlap, so you'll be better off with an earlier edition of the book (or another book designed to deal thoroughly with both versions) if you're working on a project that needs to work uusing earlier versions of Python.

The amount of information here is gigantic, and includes sample code to some degree on practically every page. I was working from an ebook that O'Reilly gave me access to as a review copy, and I can imagine how unwieldy the actual physical book must be given the 1600+ page count. If you prefer to buy hard copies of books, this is definitely not going to be the quick reference book that you carry around in your back pocket.

Since it's so focused on how to actually use Python code to accomplish specific tasks, the best thing about Programming Python is that it comes from O'Reilly. It shares their usual policy for programming books that you're welcome to reuse the code samples in your own projects, and the publisher also provides errata for all of their books at their website.

If you need a guide on how to do just about anything from creating a GUI to interfacing with an SQL database, Programming Python is a remarkably thorough resource.
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Format: Paperback
I've programmed in Python before, but haven't used it for a couple of years. I was looking for a refresher, as well as some example applications.

Firstly note that this book isn't an introduction to Python, nor is it a reference. The author makes that clear in the preface, instead referring you to the other titles he has written. Also the book covers Python 3.x. Perhaps those who are interested in earlier versions should get the previous edition of the book. On the other hand while there are some changes between the two versions, reading the book wouldn't be a waste of time if you are interested in Python 2.x

I liked this book in the sense that if I looked up a particular topic, I often found his discussion reasonable and could get some useful idiomatic python code to use.

On the other hand, the author intends this book as a tutorial. When I tried to read through it as a tutorial I just found it falling a bit flat. Also at around 1600 pages I doubt I would have the endurance to read through it from beginning to end.

I guess the main problem with the book is that you are interested in one particular area to use Python, say web development, or interfacing with databases this book would probably have insufficient detail, and you would want a specialist book in that area. Also I found the authors writing style somewhat verbose. Another issue is that those people who want to build a GUI for instance may not be interested in his choice of tool Tkinter.

In conclusion, this book does have some useful information, I didn't really like it. While it is hard to pin down the reasons for my dislike, I guess it is because he tries to cover so many topics, that not all of them are covered that well.
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Format: Paperback
This is, by far, the biggest O'Reilly book I have ever seen. Maybe there is some Java book that matches it; I don't know. This one weighs 4 lbs 14 oz, and is almost 3 inches thick. Here is what you should do, if you buy this book:

1. Get a hacksaw and cut through the binding at page 355. Now you have a 3/4" thick book, from the front, containing a deep "introduction" to Python. This nice little rambling tutorial will be too confusing for a beginner, incomplete enough to be worthless as a reference, but very good if you are a PhD Computer Scientist interested in theoretical Object Oriented design, Python Internals, and a particularly confusing dive into python data structures. And parsing Windows directory trees. Read this little book once, and then chuck it into your nearest recycling bin.

2. Make your next hacksaw cut through the binding at page 768. This, oddly enough, produces another 3/4" thick book. Seal the binding with electrical tape. Label this book "Python/Tk GUI Programming" and stick in on your book shelf to collect dust. Reach for it some Sunday you are feeling nostalgic for the days when anyone cared about raw Windows or Linux GUI interfaces, instead of web interfaces.

3. What you have left is a hefty 830-page (!) O'Reilly book on Programming Python. This is the second half of the original book. This will now be on par with the other O'Reilly standards on Java or Perl already on your bookshelf -- measured by pure dead tree weight. This trimmed-down volume is a nice tome on Python client/server programming, Internet protocols, threads, textual data parsing theory and examples, database connections, and still some more Tk GUI stuff (the author can't seem to resist).
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Format: Paperback
For those looking to further their Python abilities, Programming Python by Mark Lutz is a great tool in achieving that goal. If you're new to programming and trying to learn Python, you'll want to start with Learning Python by Mark Lutz as that will give you the necessary foundation. Then you can move to this one.

I was interested in learning the language and didn't realize there was a Learning Python so I got Programming Python instead. Luckily, I have experience with a couple of languages so I was able to go through the book and learn what I needed to know. There are many good examples given that explain what you are trying to learn. As with other O'Reilly books, this also has plenty of code to help you through all the topics covered in the book. The index is well done and is great as a reference for later on when you need to look something up in a pinch.

What I found really interesting is Chapter 20 about the integration of Python with C. Seeing that a lot of industry uses C for a lot of operational systems, that chapter was particularly useful as it helps to learn how to interface the two languages together. I have worked primarily with MATLAB throughout school and work. MATLAB is also able to interface with C and it's great, but expensive. Python is a great open source language so it allows anyone on a tight budget to do similar things as MATLAB and the ability to interface with C is great and this chapter will get you going on that.

I highly recommend this book to anyone wanting to delve further into Python. If you have prior programming experience, especailly in OOP, then you should be fine with this. If you don't have that experience, like I said, start with Learning Python. You'll be better off that way.
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