Python Programming for the Absolute Beginner, 3rd Edition 3rd Edition
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From the Publisher
- Perfect for the beginning programmer who wants to learn Python--a powerful, flexible, and concise programming language.
- Each new concept is taught using a simple example program, and an end-of-chapter project ties together all of the concepts learned.
- Each end-of-chapter project is game-based, making programming fun and accessible.
- The accompanying website contains all of the software needed to write and run the programs in the book.
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I am very disappointed.
On another note...I notice that people are having problems finding the files that go with the book. If you take the link recommended it the book and then go to downloads it is rather confusing, but if you go to the link recommended in the book and then do a search for python and then take the link for this book, another screen will come up that will give you an option to view available downloads. Harder than it needs to be admittedly, but that is how I found them.
The Python language environment is available for free at python dot org. To get the latest version, this is where to get it from.
It comes pre-installed on Mac's, and most versions of Linux. HOWEVER, this book (3rd edition) requests that you do the exercises in version 3.1.x.
The Mac, and most Linux machines come with version 2.5.x or 2.6.x right now. So you will want to download 3.1 even if Python is pre-installed on your machine.
Windows doesn't come with Python pre-installed, so just select the 3.1.x version for x86 computers. The installer is EXCELLENT.
I tested it on WinXP, Vista, Win7, Mac OS X, and Ubuntu Linux, and all are usable.
Note that with WIN and Mac, when you save a file, you must put the .py extension when saving. Linux does it for you.
The digital version exercises are hard to find. The book points you to the website, but not where they are on the site. One of the menu picks on the bottom of the screen will get you headed in the right direction. This is why I gave it 4 stars. Something like that should not be busted on a fairly new book.
I was a commercial programmer from 1977-1992. So I had some experience with programming and know several languages. My children are 10 and 12 with no programming exposure. I wanted to teach them programming since it is not offered at their school. I picked Python since it's a high-level language that supports OOP (object oriented prog) yet can be used without it.
From the first day, it had the kids begging for more, and Dad wasn't bored either. Yes, some of it is a bit (yawn) for me, but it was necessary for the kids to avoid confusion. The tasks use games as examples, which makes the lessons less tedious, if not outright fun. There are homework challenges at the end of each chapter, and working source code for the lesson tasks should you get lost.
Whether there is a better book, I cannot say. But I do know it's about as good of a textbook as they come in my experience.
If you are an experienced programmer, just make your tasks a bit harder, but do read every page. There is often a bit of humor, or a little insight that makes it worth the read.
Top international reviews
The main issues were with pygame and livewires package. Installing was a nightmare. Essentially the book is slightly outdated and the packages don't work with the new version of python. After installing the older version and still being unable to get it to work I essentially gave up and moved on so chapters 11 onwards were useless for me. The explanations in the book are poor when it comes to getting these to work well.
I think this is a good book to learn the absolute basics of python from but don't be expecting to code exceptional games, more like hang man and tic tac toe with no graphics.
If you stick with this book it will give you a good grasp of basic Python which you will be able to do some powerful stuff with. I bought it to help with extracting data from screen scrapes for work and I was able to start doing that fairly quickly.
This title is a bit misleading and the book's chapters are not very well designed in terms of an "absolute beginner". You can't expect an absolute beginner to go and search for wheels and eggs to install libs that can't be found. The OO chapter is especially bad in terms of examples.
The book is written by a games programmer and it really shows in the complicated examples picked to explain simple concepts.
Don't recommend it although the first few chapters will set you on a good path to learn some of the basics of Python.
However if you are still deciding which language to learn : C or Java or Python this book even becomes better. In Chapter 1 Michael explains why Python is a good language for beginners and non-beginners ( even the ones who did not find much success with other languages). I learnt Java as a part of my college courses but never understood it. Tried various books. Most of the books throw heavy jargon at you and tell you to learn it and move further by understanding it. I have always found it hard to learn by facts and abstract theories.
A friend recommended me to start with Python. So I reluctantly picked up this book for its high rating. Left the book rest in peace in my drawer for the next 2 months trying to gain courage to learn programming only to realise if you are scared of programming books then this one is a must read.
Best of luck !! Go on buy it now :)
I was told it is a good book for beginners during the first few chapters. Which I can confirm.
It teaches the basics well.
The book is kind of outdated, support does not really work for it anymore.
Mentioned Web Downloads not available anymore.
Too much referring to Web Download resources which is as I said not available anymore.
The biggest no for me, I hardly got this book 1 week ago and as you can see on the picture it is already falling apart.
This book was a big waste of money for me like this.
I would recommend buying something else if possible.
Secondly the tasks make some assumptions that shouldn't be made e.g. when you download and run Python you're presented with a different interface from that shown in the book. It doesn't say that, to get the same interface, you need to run Python IDLE.
I'm sure I'll encounter more such problems as I progress through the book, but the above is only from the first chapter.
Would recommend highly for anyone who has no previous programming experience as each step is explained in detail and you can see quite easily where your mistakes are (such as loops not ending!)
There is one piece of advice I would give to someone and that is make sure you get the right book for the version that you want to use as some code works in v3 but not in v2 and vv.
For those poor souls unable to locate the supporting downloads they are now to be found at [...]
Hopefully Amazon will not remove this link! If they do then google search delmarlearning and the ISBN number of the book.
This book tends towards the second category, but is nowhere as bad as some. And you won't get lost. Keep a notebook and pen handy and jot down the main points from each section as you work through. Otherwise you will find yourself having to flick back through dozens and dozens of pages to check on some point that you know you have read, and now can't find again. First reading of any section is very clear, finding something you know is there is a bit of a pain. You need to take notes so that the essentials are highlighted for revision.
One minor difficulty relates to the web downloads of book related software and source code. The book repeatedly tells us this is available at [...]. And it is. Sort of.. Going to that URL you are redirected to [...] There is a long list of choices down the left of the web page, none of which gets you to the downloads you want. You have to use the search box, then select the book from the next page, then select downloads from the left hand side of the page after that. Hardly intuitive. You could avoid all this by going direct to [...] but they don't tell you that in the book.
That said, not a bad book. I'm happy with it and would recommend it to a starter.
I bought this book at age 15, after deciding that I was going to teach myself programming. My fascination for computers has always been great, and this book proved the perfect way into coding. Being project oriented, the book takes you through the basics of programming in Python, while making simple games. At the end, you are able to write more advanced games.
What is more important, is that this book teaches you to think like a programmer, rather than making Python the main focus. Python is just a tool, programming is what you learn. As most programmers know, that ought to be the main goal of any introductory book; to teach programming and not a language.