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jodocus 06-30-2003 03:54 PM

new to python - looking for a good book
 
hi,

I am new to python (but not to programming - have programmed in many
other languages like C++/lisp/perl etc.) and I would like to buy a good
book. The local bookstore has no books about Python, so I cannot look
into a book and see whether I like it. That is why I turned to this
newsgroup for advise.

I would like a book with a very complete and correct description of the
language and the built-in features, and things like how to integrate
programs with C or C++. I am not looking for a beginner's handbook with
all kinds of simple examples (since I already know how to program), but
rather a good formal description of all the features of the language
(with a good structure and index, so I can use it as a reference).

I already saw one book at an on-line bookstore that is probably good:
"Programming Python" by Mark Lutz from O'reilly

Would you advise me to order this one or are there other books I should
know about?

TIA,

R.


Ronald Legere 06-30-2003 04:07 PM

Re: new to python - looking for a good book
 
Python in a nutshell is awesome. Has everything you said you
are looking for. Maybe you can't learn python from it though, so
add the tutorial too ;)

CHeers

"



Richard Brodie 06-30-2003 04:25 PM

Re: new to python - looking for a good book
 

"jodocus" <johocus@zonnet.nl> wrote in message news:bdpm5v$g3d$1@info.service.rug.nl...

> I would like a book with a very complete and correct description of the
> language and the built-in features, and things like how to integrate
> programs with C or C++.


If you are looking for a reference work, and only are going to buy one
book, I think most would recommend either 'Python in a Nutshell'
or the Python Essential Reference.

> I already saw one book at an on-line bookstore that is probably good:
> "Programming Python" by Mark Lutz from O'reilly


I don't think that meets your description as well as the ones I've suggested.
See the Python web site for further information:
http://www.python.org/cgi-bin/moinmoin/PythonBooks



Cameron Laird 06-30-2003 05:21 PM

Re: new to python - looking for a good book
 
In article <bdpn36$h1u$01$1@news.t-online.com>,
Achim Domma <domma@procoders.net> wrote:
>"jodocus" <johocus@zonnet.nl> wrote in message
>news:bdpm5v$g3d$1@info.service.rug.nl...
>
>> I am new to python (but not to programming - have programmed in many
>> other languages like C++/lisp/perl etc.) and I would like to buy a good
>> book.

>
>If you are a programmer you should get started very quickly with the
>tutorials from the web. The I would suggest, that you look a 'Python in a
>Nutshell' and 'Python Cookbook', both by Alex Martelli. The first one is a
>complete reference, the second shows how to think in Python.

.
.
.
<URL: http://www.unixreview.com/documents/s=7822/ur0303j/ >
gives the same message, at more length.
--

Cameron Laird <Cameron@Lairds.com>
Business: http://www.Phaseit.net
Personal: http://phaseit.net/claird/home.html

Will Stuyvesant 06-30-2003 09:00 PM

Re: new to python - looking for a good book
 
> [Ronald Legere <legere@ll.mit.edu>]
> Python in a nutshell is awesome. Has everything you said you
> are looking for. Maybe you can't learn python from it though, so
> add the tutorial too ;)


It has not everything. And it is a little *boring*, to my opinion.
Not enough fun examples. The Python Standard Library by Fredrik Lundh
is much better in many ways. And with regard to the Original Poster,
especially it has not:

>> [jodocus]
>> ...a good formal description...


But, now that is smelly, asking for a *formal* description. Do you
really mean a theoretical computer science description? Then the only
thing is the source code of Python itself for you. Because,
unfortunately, the Python language still has no formal semantics. And
even more unfortunately I think it will never have, because we are
seeing more and more "new" syntax for things that could be done
already in earlier Python versions.


--
By now we all know that programming is as hard or as easy as proving,
and that if programming a procedure corresponds to proving a theorem,
designing a digital system corresponds to building a mathematical
theory. The tasks are isomorphic.
-- E. W. Dijkstra

Van Gale 07-01-2003 09:05 AM

Re: new to python - looking for a good book
 
Peter Ballard wrote:
> Why should I buy any of these books when I've got the (free) official
> Python documentation downloaded, and always just a click or two away?


Well speaking for myself, I like to read different viewpoints and learn
insights that different authors are able to express. The official docs
are great, but are purely reference. The Nutshell book goes beyond
simple reference and provides some great insights and covers some areas
outside of stock python (like DBAPI 2.0). Lundh's "Python Standard
Library" goes beyond the official library docs by providing useful
example code for most library modules.

Van


Michele Simionato 07-01-2003 11:59 AM

Re: new to python - looking for a good book
 
pballard@ozemail.com.au (Peter Ballard) wrote in message news:<9d5509fa.0306301704.3234d552@posting.google. com>...
> Every time a thread like this comes up I wonder the same thing, so
> this time I'll ask...
>
> Why should I buy any of these books when I've got the (free) official
> Python documentation downloaded, and always just a click or two away?


The good thing about Python is that you DON'T need a book to learn it.
The standard documentation (together with the more friendly newsgroup
of Usenet) is more than enough. I printed the standard documentation,
posted few questions here and learned Python; nevertheless, now I am
moving
and a reference book is much more portable that a thousand sheets of
documentation (and nicer to read too), therefore I bought "Python in a
Nutshell". I like very much the O'Reilly graphics, too. The price is
reasonable, therefore why not to buy it? And it also provides the
better
documentation for Numerics and other modules which are not in core
Python ...

P.S. if the original poster is looking for a formal definition of the
language, he should look at the language reference
http://www.python.org/doc/current/ref/ref.html


Michele

Martin Maney 07-02-2003 05:51 AM

Re: new to python - looking for a good book
 
Peter Ballard <pballard@ozemail.com.au> wrote:
> Why should I buy any of these books when I've got the (free) official
> Python documentation downloaded, and always just a click or two away?


Because some of them - the Cookbook comes forcefully to mind for me -
cover material that the regular docs don't touch on; the difference
between what the language allows and how best to use those facilities.
Others, even the so-called "Bible" which I found wanting in its
thoroughness of coverage, can illuminate the features and libraries
with well-crafted small examples that are rarely present in the more
reference-like documentation. And even books that are not at first
glance much more than a printed version of the online docs (although
_Essential Reference_ always seemed more useful to me, especially back
when I was working with its first edition and Python 1.5) have some
portability and usability advantages if one is not attached to his
computer at the waist. :-)

At least those are the sorts of reasons that come to my mind.

--
We reject kings, presidents, and voting.
We believe in rough consensus
and running code. -- David Clarke


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