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Python Programming: An Introduction to Computer Science Paperback – December, 2003
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"Introduces Python and computer science concepts in a style that beginning students find appealing and easy to understand." -- Dave Reed, Capital University
"Provides clear explanation of introductory programming concepts, and shows why Python is an excellent choice for a first language." -- Russell May, Morehead State University
Top Customer Reviews
This was the third version of CS1 I've taught, and the first using Python instead of C. The use of Python definitely contributed to the smashing success of this class (as did an exceptionally strong group of students), but much of the credit must go to this book.
Honestly, Zelle just nailed it. The examples are illustrative and convincing: his is one of the few books that manages to avoid the trap of silly and unreal examples that therefore provide no context for a student. His writing is crystal clear and very well organized, replete with very helpful diagrams and illustrative examples (did I mention the examples?), and he has obviously paid a lot of attention to the aspects of programming that students find most difficult.
And the exercises: wow. This is the first time I haven't felt the need to write my own (although I did anyway, because it's fun). They are fair but challenging (sometimes very), and for those of us on the teaching end, you'll be happy to know that the instructor's resources come with _complete_ sets of working solutions to all of the exercises.
Three chapters stand out in particular. First is the chapter on graphics (Ch. 5). Students love graphics, and Zelle has included a very nice wrapper on top of the TKinter library, which makes for a GUI package that students can actually use. Second, there's the final chapter that actually introduces recursion and some of the interesting algorithms from the science (searching/sorting, permutations, etc.).Read more ›
There is a convienient Quick Reference serving as an Appendix. It quickly lists the operators, functions, techniques, etc, presented i each chapter, so I didn't need to dig back through the chapters when a concept for function name slipped my mind.
MOST importantly for me are the exercises at the end of each chapter. Sure, most books have sample-code, too, but this book gives you a fair number of problems to solve using the tools you have just learned.
So, if you are new to computer science and interested in learning to program in any language, I'd STRONGLY recommend this book. It's a great introduction to Python, but it's also a GREAT introduction to computer programming concepts.
This book defines all the terms and parts to programming that other "Learn Python" books seem to assume you already know. If reading the tutor section of the Python documentation that came with the language ([...]) was not completely clear to you, this is the best book to get you ready to program.
There are plenty of example programs to keep this book interesting to intermediate programmers, but there is doubtfully anything surprising to experienced programmers. Everything in this book is very clearly explained and organized.
I found this book difficult to follow right from the introduction. On page 12 the author introduces the concept of 'chaos'. I found this to be a rather strange concept for an introduction (he never explains what 'chaos' represents or why it is usefull at this point in the book). The author immediately uses programming concepts such as for loops without any explanation of loops. Again, how is this usefull for a total beginner?
The second chapter on 'writing simple programs' is somewhat better but still moves very quickly without adequate explanation. Chapter 3 on 'computing with numbers' tend to be over-complex in my opinion and I found the exercises to be nearly impossible to do with the topics presented to that point.
In summary: This book is going to be difficult to use if you are interested in self-study and you have little to no programming experience. The topic examples tend to be dry and difficult to follow, and with no explanations to any exercises, even harder to guage how you are doing. This book, in my opinion, requires an instructor to present topics clearly. However, please read the 1 Star review to hear about that teacher's opinion of this book for use in the classroom.
I have since purchased Michael Dawson's book 'Python programming for the absolute beginner' and have found it much much better for self-study.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Absolutely phenomenal textbook for the uninitiated. I assisted in teaching an introductory programming course using the 2nd edition of this book for two years, I could not... Read morePublished 1 month ago by BB
good for its prize, the examples themself are bad though , not the best way to learn whithout having someone to teach youPublished 12 months ago by Luke
I've been doing front-end web development for 15 years and taught myself how to script and manage FileMaker databases to solve some basic and immediate business needs. Read morePublished 17 months ago by Robert
A very necessary book for beginners like me. Before I read this book I already knew a little about objective oriented programming, and a little about on how to make a Class, an... Read morePublished 20 months ago by Zuwei