Introducing Python
Modern computing in simple packages
Publisher: O'Reilly Media
Released: February 2014
Pages: 250

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With Introducing Python, Bill Lubanovic brings years of knowledge as a programmer, system administrator, and author to a book of impressive depth that’s fun to read and simple enough for non-programmers to use. Along with providing a strong foundation in the language itself, Lubanovic shows you how to use Python for a range of applications in business, science, and the arts, drawing on the rich collection of open source packages developed by Python fans.

Developed to be easy to read and maintain, Python is a boon to anyone who wants applications that are quick to write but robust enough to remain in production for the long haul. Introducing Python focuses on the current version of Python, 3.x, while including sidebars about important differences with 2.x for readers who may have to deal with programs in that version.

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oreillyIntroducing Python
 
3.4

(based on 8 reviews)

Ratings Distribution

  • 5 Stars

     

    (1)

  • 4 Stars

     

    (3)

  • 3 Stars

     

    (2)

  • 2 Stars

     

    (2)

  • 1 Stars

     

    (0)

63%

of respondents would recommend this to a friend.

Pros

  • Easy to understand (7)
  • Well-written (7)
  • Helpful examples (5)
  • Accurate (4)
  • Concise (3)

Cons

  • Too basic (3)

Best Uses

  • Student (6)
  • Novice (5)
  • Intermediate (3)
    • Reviewer Profile:
    • Educator (4), Developer (3), Sys admin (3)

Reviewed by 8 customers

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2.0

Half-price for half the book

By Bill

from Montreal,Quebec

About Me Educator, Sys Admin

Verified Buyer

Pros

  • Easy to understand
  • Well-written

Cons

    Best Uses

    • Novice

    Comments about oreilly Introducing Python:

    OK for basic sensible Python, but the early release only half the book. Maybe we should wait for the rest before we start to read it.
    Just not what I expected. Like buying code, that is full of stubs.

     
    3.0

    Not a standalone beginner's guide

    By absolutepybeginner

    from Berlin, Germany

    Verified Reviewer

    Pros

    • Accurate
    • Useful As A Reference

    Cons

    • Too Dry

    Best Uses

    • Novice
    • Student

    Comments about oreilly Introducing Python:

    The author mentions at the beginning that he mixes "cookbook and tutorial styles to explain new terms and ideas", and this is key - the book works well as a 'beginner's cookbook'.

    I'm a beginner in Python programming, and got into it through online coding tutorial sites and a couple of other books. Most of them start with fun code, and then tell you what you just did.

    Introducing Python is different. It goes through terminology and how the language functions, and explains the what and why of each. "Here's a function, here's what it does", "here's the difference between a tuple and a list", rather than "Let's make a rock, paper, scissors game and learn about the code inside".

    Some beginners will find this off-putting and dry. I found it useful, having rushed through an online course, to take time to understand exactly what a function, dictionary, tuple etc. is. But if I was learning it for the very first time, I imagine I would be lost and bored.

    Now, I find myself coding and saying "What was one of those tuple things I learnt about online? Would it be useful here?" and that's where the book is perfect - I look it up, I get a direct answer with a direct example.

    TL;DR - this book is far more beginner's cookbook than tutorial, and that's fine and practical for many people, but some using this as their absolute first python/programming book could find it dry and boring.

    I WOULD recommend this to a friend, but only one who has other Python learning materials at his or her disposal and is looking for a beginner's reference book.

    (1 of 1 customers found this review helpful)

     
    4.0

    Good but check that it is right for you

    By ITECS Ken

    from UK

    About Me Maker

    Verified Buyer

    Pros

    • Easy to understand
    • Helpful examples
    • Well-written

    Cons

    • Too basic

    Best Uses

    • Student

    Comments about oreilly Introducing Python:

    Introducing Python was my first experience of programming with Python and it was great for getting me going with the language.

    The book is written with limited assumed knowledge of programming and has an amiable reading style making it an interesting read on the commute to work.

    I have experience of other programming languages and was looking to learn Python due its wide availability and increasing popularity as an embedded / macro language in some commercial products.

    Due to my experience I found the pacing slow for my tastes and I would of been better off with "Learning Python".

    That said I don't have any regrets as it gave me all the knowledge I needed and I can now read and successfully programme in Python.

    (4 of 4 customers found this review helpful)

     
    3.0

    Still have hopes for the full book.

    By Zoot

    from Illinois

    About Me Designer, Developer, Educator, Maker

    Verified Buyer

    Pros

    • Accurate
    • Easy to understand
    • Well-written

    Cons

    • Too basic

    Best Uses

    • Novice

    Comments about oreilly Introducing Python:

    I was drawn to the book by this sentence in the blurb: "Along with providing a strong foundation in the language itself, Lubanovic shows you how to use Python for a range of applications in business, science, and the arts, drawing on the rich collection of open source packages developed by Python fans."

    As such I was expecting more of a focus on fun real-world examples.

    But the current "Early Release" state of the book has it being yet another basic introduction to all the elements of the Python language. Honestly there are hundreds of these in the world and so I was disappointed.

    Based on the current contents, there's room yet for a lot of good stuff, so I haven't given up yet, but I was really hoping that the book would dive right into fun examples rather than making the reader slog through 100+ pages of bottom-up Python language syntax made of simplistic examples which solve no real-world problem.

    Minor rant:

    I want a book that relegates installing Python to an appendix, and on page one has you type python, import something, and in one to five lines of code does something incredibly cool that makes the reader go "woah!"

    Becasue that's what Python is about for most users these days. Not a "programming language" for writing huge applications, but as a means of invoking the vast functionality that exists in the world of freely available Pyhton modules and its integration into major applications (Blender, etc.). We need a book that shows why it can be amazingly cool to just be a "glue language".

    Doing fun things with Python (even including such advanced elements as pandas and matplotlib) does not require a language-lawyer level of knowledge about Python any more than using Rails requires the same level of knowledge about Ruby.

    When introducing functions for example, it should not be neccessary to spend 11 pages on every aspect of positional vs. keyword parameters, default values, * and **, functions as values, and lambda expressions. Let the poor user get on with it and introduce the optional stuff later.

    I really don't think many users targeted by this book will be willing to memorize 100 pages of dry language specification before being shown that Pyhton can actually do cool stuff for them.

    Dive in. Hook the user and motivate them to experiment with what they've been shown, even if they might get lost or not fully understand what they're doing. Challenge them a little. Trust them to be smart. THEN tell them the minimum level of detail needed to understand what you're showing them. It's OK if you never tell them about half the features in the language.

    G.

    (0 of 1 customers found this review helpful)

     
    4.0

    A great amount of knowledge with humour

    By Cidrolin

    from Reunion island -- Indian Ocean.

    About Me Educator

    Verified Buyer

    Pros

    • Accurate
    • Easy to understand
    • Helpful examples
    • Well-written

    Cons

      Best Uses

      • Expert
      • Intermediate
      • Student

      Comments about oreilly Introducing Python:

      Study with this excellent introduction to Python3 in a quiet place.

      (0 of 2 customers found this review helpful)

       
      2.0

      Incomplete at this point

      By LongInTheTooth

      from White Plains, NY

      About Me Developer

      Verified Buyer

      Pros

      • Accurate
      • Concise
      • Easy to understand
      • Helpful examples
      • Well-written

      Cons

      • Too basic

      Best Uses

      • Novice
      • Student

      Comments about oreilly Introducing Python:

      The book looks promising from the outline, but most of the valuable stuff is in chapters 6-15 and the appendices, which are not in this release.

      What little is included is well presented and interesting. But it's pretty basic.

      It's not clear yet how much attention will be given to interactive programming and standard GUI toolkits such as PyQT. If that's covered, too, then this book will be a 5-star home-run!

      (0 of 1 customers found this review helpful)

       
      5.0

      Very promising early release

      By McDogfood

      from Selby, UK

      About Me Designer, Developer, Educator, Sys Admin

      Verified Reviewer

      Pros

      • Concise
      • Easy to understand
      • Helpful examples
      • Well-written

      Cons

        Best Uses

        • Intermediate
        • Novice
        • Student

        Comments about oreilly Introducing Python:

        I whistled through what there currently is of this early release ebook in about a week. I found it engaging, concise, and clear. The exercises at the end are also great. I was put off Python by other Python books with their 'one language to rule them all' evangelism.

        I'm really looking forward to the rest of this book, so I can learn some more Python instead of being told how great it is for 10 chapters.

        (4 of 4 customers found this review helpful)

         
        4.0

        Very promising intro to Python

        By Simon

        from Medan, Indonesia

        About Me Sys Admin

        Verified Reviewer

        Pros

        • Concise
        • Easy to understand
        • Helpful examples
        • Well-written

        Cons

        • Not comprehensive enough

        Best Uses

        • Intermediate
        • Student

        Comments about oreilly Introducing Python:

        ***This is a pre-release review, the book is available but not finished. Many chapters are missing and this review hopes to give you some idea of how I feel the book is progressing and will end-up. Currently this book ends at Chapter 5 p115, and I paid for it myself (with an early-bird discount).***

        Bill Lubanovic knows his stuff, and the book feels brisk and dense. There are few minced words, subjects are delt with in a brisk, but understandable manner.

        I was happy to see that the author deferred installation to an appendix. If you are ready to go, so is the book. The author does a good job at wetting your apetite. With powerful and concise examples of pythons power and syntax, although the example using the 'requests' library would not run (i know, iknow this is a raw and unedited version).

        *** Correction for the 'requests' example...
        import requests
        import json
        response = requests.get("https://gdata.youtube.com/feeds/api/standardfeeds/top_rated?alt=json")
        print(response.url)
        text = response.text #decode('utf8')
        data = json.loads(text)
        for video in data['feed']['entry'][0:6]:
        print(video['title']['$t'])
        ***

        Each chapter has a 'Things to do' list at the end. This seems to get longer as the topics get more complex. From what I have tried the tasks are well thought out, and encourage the reader to experiment. These are my favorite sections of the book, and essential to sement new ideas in the brain.

        My only dissapointment so far GUI's are (so far as I can see) omited. I hope the finished book mentions tkinter.

        As a chapter list is not yet shown in the description, here is a list of the subjects covered; intro, variables, structures, ': modules, packages, and programs', object-oriented programming, text and binary data, data storage, web programming, systems programming, networking, 'graphics, animation, and games', data visualization, 'NumPy, SciPy, and Pandas', 'general IDE's, development and debugging'. The appendix contains notes on installation, chapter answers, and a cheatsheet.

        Preliminary summary...
        If you are looking for chapters going into depth on GUI's, UNITTEST or MySQL programming etc, it will be disappointing.

        If you want a good tour showing all the main features of python, without getting bogged down in details, this is the book for you. It is a broad and complete introduction.

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