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Python changes

 
 
Craig McRoberts
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      10-28-2010
First off, greetings from a newbie!

Here's the deal. I gained a passable knowledge of Python nearly ten years ago. Then I decided a career in the computer sciences wasn't for me, and I let it go. Now I find myself back in the development arena, and I'd like to pick up Python again. How much has it changed in my ten years' absence? I've already resigned myself to starting over from the beginning, but are my books from that time period even worth using now?

Thanks so much.

Craig McRoberts
 
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Seebs
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      10-28-2010
On 2010-10-28, Craig McRoberts <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote:
>I've already resigned
>myself to starting over from the beginning, but are my books from
>that time period even worth using now?


Impression I get is mostly "no". I think you'll find life overall a lot
better now, though. Programming languages tend to improve, with some
very notable exceptions.

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Neil Cerutti
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      10-28-2010
On 2010-10-28, Craig McRoberts <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote:
> First off, greetings from a newbie!
>
> Here's the deal. I gained a passable knowledge of Python nearly
> ten years ago. Then I decided a career in the computer sciences
> wasn't for me, and I let it go. Now I find myself back in the
> development arena, and I'd like to pick up Python again. How
> much has it changed in my ten years' absence? I've already
> resigned myself to starting over from the beginning, but are my
> books from that time period even worth using now?
>
> Thanks so much.


Ten years ago puts around the time of Python 2.1. Your books are
indeed useless.

Python's documentation contains an excellent summary of new
features and changes dating back to Python 2.0.

http://docs.python.org/py3k/whatsnew/index.html

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Neil Cerutti
 
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Craig McRoberts
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      10-28-2010
Thanks for the prompt replies. Sounds like it's time to hit a bookstore.

Craig McRoberts
 
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Teenan
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      10-28-2010
On Thu, 2010-10-28 at 15:03 -0400, Craig McRoberts wrote:
> Thanks for the prompt replies. Sounds like it's time to hit a bookstore.
>
> Craig McRoberts


You could do a lot worse than getting 'Dive into Python' (There's even a
nice new version just for python 3.0)

hmmm bookstore.. those are the things they had before Amazon right?


 
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Craig McRoberts
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      10-28-2010
Oh, I like to browse brick-and-mortar enough. But it's been forever since I've bought something there.

Craig McRoberts

On Oct 28, 2010, at 15:16, Teenan <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote:

> On Thu, 2010-10-28 at 15:03 -0400, Craig McRoberts wrote:
>> Thanks for the prompt replies. Sounds like it's time to hit a bookstore.
>>
>> Craig McRoberts

>
> You could do a lot worse than getting 'Dive into Python' (There's even a
> nice new version just for python 3.0)
>
> hmmm bookstore.. those are the things they had before Amazon right?
>
>

 
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Stefan Behnel
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      10-29-2010
Teenan, 28.10.2010 21:16:
> On Thu, 2010-10-28 at 15:03 -0400, Craig McRoberts wrote:
>> Thanks for the prompt replies. Sounds like it's time to hit a bookstore.

>
> You could do a lot worse than getting 'Dive into Python' (There's even a
> nice new version just for python 3.0)


Yes, and the thing I like most about the Py3 version is that the XML
chapter has been rewritten completely. It's now based on ElementTree and
even gives lxml.etree an intro.

http://diveintopython3.org/xml.html

That, if nothing else, is enough of a reason to read it instead of the much
older Py2 version of the book.

Stefan

 
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Steven D'Aprano
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      10-29-2010
On Thu, 28 Oct 2010 14:14:43 -0400, Craig McRoberts wrote:

> First off, greetings from a newbie!
>
> Here's the deal. I gained a passable knowledge of Python nearly ten
> years ago. Then I decided a career in the computer sciences wasn't for
> me, and I let it go. Now I find myself back in the development arena,
> and I'd like to pick up Python again. How much has it changed in my ten
> years' absence? I've already resigned myself to starting over from the
> beginning, but are my books from that time period even worth using now?


The one sentence summary: if you're on a tight budget, and want to re-
learn Python on the cheap, you can reuse your old books, plus free
resources on the web, but if you're in a hurry it will be easier to buy
some new books.

Longer version:

Ten years ago would have been around version 1.5 or 2.0, give or take. As
a language, Python has been very conservative. The basic syntax of Python
1.5 still works. If you stick to Python 2.6 or 2.7, there have been
virtually no backwards incompatible changes since version 1.5. The only
exceptions I can think of:

* some libraries have been dropped;
* a change in the way hex() and oct() of negative numbers is displayed;
* nested functions behave differently;
* the occasional new keyword has been added (e.g. yield).

Other than that, you can take virtually any example from Python 1.5 and
run it in Python 2.7 and it should still work. It might not be the best
way to solve the problem, but it should do it.

Most of the changes from 1.5 to 2.7 have involved *adding* features,
rather than taking them away. To learn the new features, read the Fine
Manual, especially the What's New that comes out with every new version,
or go out and buy a book covering the latest version.

If you advance to Python 3.1, you can add to the list of backward
incompatibilities:

* minor differences in the way classes work;
* print is now a function, not a statement;
* strings are now Unicode, rather than bytes;
* various functions and methods which used to return lists now return
iterators;

plus others I've forgotten. That makes a jump from 1.5 to 3.1 rather more
problematic, but it can still be done -- the basic language is still
almost identical, the syntax hasn't changed much, but there's a whole lot
of new functionality that will make your life easier.



--
Steven
 
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Steven D'Aprano
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      10-29-2010
On Thu, 28 Oct 2010 20:16:45 +0100, Teenan wrote:

> On Thu, 2010-10-28 at 15:03 -0400, Craig McRoberts wrote:
>> Thanks for the prompt replies. Sounds like it's time to hit a
>> bookstore.
>>
>> Craig McRoberts

>
> You could do a lot worse than getting 'Dive into Python' (There's even a
> nice new version just for python 3.0)


Not everyone is enamored of "Dive into Python". (Personally, I don't have
an option on it.)

http://oppugn.us/posts/1272050135.html

I can, however, recommend "Learning Python" by Mark Lutz, although in
fairness the version I read was way back in the Dark Ages of Python 1.5.


> hmmm bookstore.. those are the things they had before Amazon right?


Yeah, back when it was possible to buy things without leaving digital
traces that will be around forever.


--
Steven

 
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rantingrick
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      10-29-2010
On Oct 28, 2:16*pm, Teenan <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote:

> hmmm bookstore.. those are the things they had before Amazon right?


hmm Amazon... Is that the place where you buy tutorials when you could
instead get the same info for free with a little Google fu?

 
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