Practical Python

AuthorMagnus Lie Hetland
PublishedAugust 6, 2002
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Note: My more recent book, Beginning Python is an expanded and revised version of this book.

From the back cover: Practical Python offers a highly useful guide to the Python programming language. In disarmingly readable prose, author Magnus Lie Hetland guides readers through those concepts of most importance to the budding Python developer. Following a succinct overview of the installation process, Hetland brings the reader up to speed regarding the general programming precepts common to every high-level language, including datatypes, conditionals and looping, abstraction, and modularity. Notably, Hetland takes great care to provide a thorough introduction to Python’s potentially confusing datatype offering, including lists, tuples, and dictionaries, providing numerous examples aimed towards familiarizing the reader with their subtle, yet important differences.

Primed with the language’s foundational knowledge, readers are then introduced to Python’s file-handling, database, GUI, and string- handling capabilities. Additionally, readers are treated to an excellent review of Python’s object-oriented, functional, and exception-handling capabilities. All chapters are peppered with references to Python’s useful built-in functions, which is done with the intention of demonstrating the considerable features offered by the default Python distribution.

Hetland devotes the second half of the book to project development, taking great care to choose a series of ten increasingly complex applications that are of timely and wide-ranging interest to burgeoning and expert developers alike. Project focus includes automated document conversion, newsgroup administration, graphical PDF document generation, remote document maintenance, the creation of a peer-to-peer system with XML-RPC, database integration, and GUI and game development.