Learning Python, 4th Edition
Powerful Object-Oriented Programming
Publisher: O'Reilly Media
Released: September 2009
Pages: 1216

Google and YouTube use Python because it's highly adaptable, easy to maintain, and allows for rapid development. If you want to write high-quality, efficient code that's easily integrated with other languages and tools, this hands-on book will help you be productive with Python quickly -- whether you're new to programming or just new to Python. It's an easy-to-follow self-paced tutorial, based on author and Python expert Mark Lutz's popular training course.

Each chapter contains a stand-alone lesson on a key component of the language, and includes a unique Test Your Knowledge section with practical exercises and quizzes, so you can practice new skills and test your understanding as you go. You'll find lots of annotated examples and illustrations to help you get started with Python 3.0.

Learn about Python's major built-in object types, such as numbers, lists, and dictionaries Create and process objects using Python statements, and learn Python's general syntax model Structure and reuse code using functions, Python's basic procedural tool Learn about Python modules: packages of statements, functions, and other tools, organized into larger components Discover Python's object-oriented programming tool for structuring code Learn about the exception-handling model, and development tools for writing larger programs Explore advanced Python tools including decorators, descriptors, metaclasses, and Unicode processing

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O'Reilly MediaLearning Python, 4th Edition
 
3.3

(based on 17 reviews)

Ratings Distribution

  • 5 Stars

     

    (5)

  • 4 Stars

     

    (4)

  • 3 Stars

     

    (3)

  • 2 Stars

     

    (1)

  • 1 Stars

     

    (4)

65%

of respondents would recommend this to a friend.

Pros

  • Accurate (9)
  • Helpful examples (9)
  • Well-written (6)
  • Concise (5)
  • Easy to understand (4)

Cons

  • Difficult to understand (5)

Best Uses

  • Intermediate (7)
  • Student (7)
  • Novice (5)
    • Reviewer Profile:
    • Developer (11), Sys admin (3)

Reviewed by 17 customers

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(0 of 1 customers found this review helpful)

 
3.0

help()

By Tom O'Bedlam

from Terra

About Me Sys Admin

Pros

    Cons

    • Difficult to understand

    Best Uses

      Comments about O'Reilly Media Learning Python, 4th Edition:

      I've dipped my toes in Python in the past and even owned previous editions of this book. Imagine my surprise when the postal carrier wheeled this vast tome up to my doorstep on a dolly, wheezing and stopping to wipe sweat from her brow. I had to call my wife and we both eventually wrestled the book into the house. After using a spare car jack to open the cover I did find many familiar and easy to understand sections. Until I reached Chapter 7 which contains about 200 pages on the ever-scintillating topic of string formatting, which Python apparently has multiple versions of...After desperately typing all the examples and staring at them until my vision blurred(it may have been the tears of despair running down my face) I just unplugged my computer and went for a bike ride. Maybe I'll just learn Forth of Assembly...

      (3 of 6 customers found this review helpful)

       
      2.0

      Which editor let this one through?

      By Heptite

      from Idaho

      Verified Reviewer

      Comments about O'Reilly Media Learning Python, 4th Edition:

      This book is definitely not up to O'Reilly standards. The author rambles, repeates himself without benefit of added clarity, and is not clear at points. Overall writing has poor flow, which slows down my reading significantly.

      This book is absolutely HUGE. I am glad I have an electronic edition instead of the printed edition, but the benefit is questionable because I just cannot get through this book in any reasonable amount of time.

      (2 of 2 customers found this review helpful)

       
      5.0

      Excellent book to learn from!

      By HJS

      from Long Island, NY

      Verified Reviewer

      Pros

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

      Cons

        Best Uses

        • Intermediate
        • Novice
        • Student

        Comments about O'Reilly Media Learning Python, 4th Edition:

        I'll want to keep this book within arm's reach as a reference. I found the book to be very instructional. There are numerous examples that support the text.

        (6 of 6 customers found this review helpful)

         
        3.0

        Good learning tool, but verbose

        By FyreHeart

        from Irvine, CA

        About Me Developer, Sys Admin

        Verified Reviewer

        Pros

        • Accurate
        • Helpful examples

        Cons

        • Difficult to understand
        • Verbose

        Best Uses

        • Intermediate
        • Novice
        • Student

        Comments about O'Reilly Media Learning Python, 4th Edition:

        Mark Lutz clearly has a vast knowledge of Python, which he shares with the reader. In this book, he gives a solid introduction to the language, but the benefits of the book are obscured by his writing style. He repeats himself so often, I began counting the number of times he said the same thing. On average, he seems to repeat the same concept three times, but unlike other writers who use this technique, he adds no clarification when he restates a concept. This 1200 page book could be 400 pages if another writer or editor forced him to write more concisely. I've found his Python Pocket Reference invaluable simply because the short format forced him to write efficiently.

        (1 of 1 customers found this review helpful)

         
        1.0

        Too much commentary and little examples

        By Al

        from Boston

        About Me Developer

        Pros

          Cons

          • Not comprehensive enough

          Best Uses

          • Student

          Comments about O'Reilly Media Learning Python, 4th Edition:

          I bought this book hoping to learn something about python but I am very disappointed. Its just too much commentary and very little real world examples. He also just skirts important topics that are the core of the python language.

          (1 of 1 customers found this review helpful)

           
          4.0

          Good book.

          By TheNoob

          from LA, CA

          About Me Developer

          Pros

          • Accurate
          • Helpful examples

          Cons

          • Not for a beginner

          Best Uses

          • Intermediate

          Comments about O'Reilly Media Learning Python, 4th Edition:

          Good book to start learning Python, although I wouldn't recommend this book for someone attempting to learn their first language. Having some/good amount of programming experience would (IMO) be required. A beginner will have a hard time with this book because by chapter 6 they are loaded with all this information, but have no idea how to make it all work together. Although, this book does a great job covering python. It's worth the read!

          (1 of 2 customers found this review helpful)

           
          5.0

          This book clear my concept

          By fatfrabbit

          from Fremont, CA

          About Me Developer

          Verified Reviewer

          Pros

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

          Cons

            Best Uses

            • Novice

            Comments about O'Reilly Media Learning Python, 4th Edition:

            This book is best for people who don't know python at all. The author point out a lot of important concept/points while other python book or website fail to point out those important concept.
            Very easy and clear example. Highly recommend this book to new python programmer. It cover 2.6 and 3.0 python

            (11 of 38 customers found this review helpful)

             
            1.0

            You never need this book

            By Rajesh

            from Bangalore

            About Me Designer, Developer

            Verified Reviewer

            Pros

              Cons

              • Difficult to understand

              Best Uses

                Comments about O'Reilly Media Learning Python, 4th Edition:

                Pathetic book. The book goes on and on and on. parts 1-5 could have been condensed into 2 parts at the max. The author should be banned from Writing. Never in my life in any programming language, I learnt Scope before functions. This author does that. Even after you read this tome, you wont be writing practical code. You need to read another book of his. "Beginning Python: From Novice to Professional" is a much better book but then that book is not fully updated for Python 3.X. Dont buy this book. It is a pain for your head.

                (12 of 13 customers found this review helpful)

                 
                4.0

                In a word 'Comprehensive'

                By Joy of Duck

                from UK

                About Me Developer, Educator

                Verified Reviewer

                Pros

                • Accurate
                • Comprehensive
                • Helpful examples
                • Well-written

                Cons

                • Too comprehensive

                Best Uses

                • Expert
                • Intermediate
                • Student

                Comments about O'Reilly Media Learning Python, 4th Edition:

                Firstly, the good bits: This book is the single most comprehensive resource for learning to program in Python. As a very experienced Python programmer, I found it an invaluable reference for getting my skills up to speed on the new 3.X features.

                Now the down side: This book is the single most comprehensive resource for learning to program in Python. If I was starting out it would scare me away to a nice fluffy language like Ruby.

                Mark appears to cover every single nook and cranny of every single Python feature. This is great for programmers, but not so if you are starting out.

                I think that Learning Python should have been split across at least two volumes. The Advanced volume would be my desktop reference and the Beginners volume would be required reading for all my students.

                (10 of 11 customers found this review helpful)

                 
                4.0

                Makes simple concepts hard to understand

                By Nick the Python

                from Iran

                Comments about O'Reilly Media Learning Python, 4th Edition:

                This is a good book but the simple concepts are made too complex. Python is a very powerful and productive language, but to try to emphasize that point by revisiting simple concepts and ideas of the language in practically every page of the book only leads to confusion. Another point is how lengthy some topics get. 185 pages on the topic of modules is just a bit too much. It is the same with lists too with the difference that the almost 400 pages that is devoted to lists is scattered all over the book. Some topics although very important get a passing mention in say one paragraph or half a section under its own title, and the main part of the discussion is referred to some other part of the book under a heading or topic that is entirely beside the point of the chapter or current topic. Another point that a user also mentioned is that the book does make one a slow reader. It is in part due to the author's style of writing and in part due to the how the material is structured.

                Having said that, I have to be fair and admit that Python is not your usual language and I certainly believe that contrary to the popular belief it is much more complex and harder to learn than C. I read Kernigan and Ritchie's book about twenty years ago and I do not remember as being puzzled and lost as I am with Python. Which is not surprising at all. A language that has lists and objects, the most advanced ideas in any programming environment, before chars and integers and floats as its basic types is not an easy language. In addition the freedom that the language provides its users, and by extension its developers, just is a recipe for a product that is impossible to comprehend readily in is entirety. Only programmers that already have a good grasp of the advanced concepts of programming languages can appreciate fully the power of Python. It is the same with other object-enamored, "easy" languages like Ruby for example. Add to that different versions of Python that just destroys the fun one hopes to have after the learning curve flattens and starts to fall. The problem shows in every Python book ever written. I am yet to see a Python book that can even organize the idea of the language well and then proceed to explain different parts of it.

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