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What was the project that made you feel skilled in Python?

 
 
Ned Batchelder
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      05-19-2013
Hi all, I'm trying to come up with more project ideas for intermediate
learners, somewhat along the lines of
http://bit.ly/intermediate-python-projects .

So here's a question for people who remember coming up from beginner: as
you moved from exercises like those in Learn Python the Hard Way, up to
your own self-guided work on small projects, what project were you
working on that made you feel independent and skilled? What program
first felt like your own work rather than an exercise the teacher had
assigned?

I don't want anything too large, but big enough that there's room for
design, and multiple approaches, etc.

Thanks in advance!

--Ned.
 
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Roy Smith
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      05-19-2013
In article <(E-Mail Removed)>,
Ned Batchelder <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote:

> So here's a question for people who remember coming up from beginner: as
> you moved from exercises like those in Learn Python the Hard Way, up to
> your own self-guided work on small projects, what project were you
> working on that made you feel independent and skilled? What program
> first felt like your own work rather than an exercise the teacher had
> assigned?


IIRC, my first production python projects were a bunch of file parsers.
We had a bunch of text file formats that we worked with often. I wrote
some state-machine based parsers which slurped them up and gave back the
contents in some useful data structure.

Many of the files were big, so I added an option to write out a pickled
version of the data. The parsing code could then check to see if there
was a pickle file that was newer than the text version and read that
instead. Big win for speed.

Then, of course, a bunch of utilities which used this data to do useful
things. I remember one of the utilities that turned out to be really
popular was a smart data file differ. You feed it two files and it
would tell you how they differed (in a way that was more useful than a
plain text-based diff).
 
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Neil Cerutti
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      05-20-2013
On 2013-05-19, Ned Batchelder <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote:
> Hi all, I'm trying to come up with more project ideas for
> intermediate learners, somewhat along the lines of
> http://bit.ly/intermediate-python-projects .
>
> So here's a question for people who remember coming up from
> beginner: as you moved from exercises like those in Learn
> Python the Hard Way, up to your own self-guided work on small
> projects, what project were you working on that made you feel
> independent and skilled? What program first felt like your own
> work rather than an exercise the teacher had assigned?
>
> I don't want anything too large, but big enough that there's
> room for design, and multiple approaches, etc.


I wrote a library supporting fixed length field tabular data
files. It supports reading specifications for such data files
using configparser for maximum verbosity, plus a few other
shorthand specification formats for brevity. Due to the nature of
my work I need this library in virtually all my other projects,
so I consider it a personal success and found it interesting to
build.

Similar packages on PYPI made many different design decisions
from the ones I did, so it seems like fruitful design discussion
points could arise.

For example, two major design goals in the beginning where: 1.
Ape the interface of the csv module as much as possible. 2.
Support type declarations.

The former was a big success. I've had instances were switching
from csv to a fixed file required changing one line, and of
course if a person were learning the library their knowledge of
reader, writer, DictReader and DictWriter would help.

The latter design goal was a failure. Most published fixed-length
data file specifications include data types, so it seemed
natural. But after trying to write programs using an early
version I ended up removing all traces of that functionality.

One advantage of this idea as a project for an intermediate
programmer is that the implementation is not complicated; most of
the fun is in the design.

--
Neil Cerutti
 
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