January 16, 2004
"Learning Python, Second Edition": An Updated Guide to the Core Python Language and Object-Oriented Programming
Sebastopol, CA--Portable, powerful, and a breeze to use, Python is the
popular open source object-oriented programming language used for both
standalone programs and scripting applications. Python is considered easy
to learn, but there's no quicker way to mastery of the language than
learning from an expert teacher. The new edition of Learning Python
(O'Reilly, US $34.95) places readers in the capable hands of two expert
teachers, Mark Lutz and David Ascher, whose friendly, well-structured
prose has guided many a programmer to proficiency with the language.
Learning Python, Second Edition offers programmers a comprehensive
learning tool for Python as well as a thorough introduction to object-
oriented programming in general. The book has been completely updated
for the numerous language and class presentation changes that have
taken place since the release of the first edition in 1999. In this
edition, the authors cover the basic elements of the latest release of
Python 2.3 and guide readers through its new features, such as list
comprehensions, nested scopes, and iterators/generators.
Coauthor Mark Lutz notes that Python has continued to grow in popularity
since the first edition of the book was released, and consequently the
demand for an updated introduction to the language has grown even greater.
"Moreover, there have been some important changes to the language that
make it easier to write certain types of code than in the past," Lutz
adds. "It's important that people coming to the language today get the
current Python picture and adopt modern Python coding styles. The new
edition of our book will help them do that."
Beyond language features, this edition of Learning Python also includes
new content for less-experienced programmers derived from recent Python
classes taught by the authors, including fresh overviews of object-
oriented programming and dynamic typing, new discussions of program
launch and configuration options, new coverage of documentation sources,
and more. Where appropriate, the authors have also included new use cases
to make the application of language features more concrete.
The first part of Learning Python gives readers the information they'll
need to understand and construct programs in the Python language,
including types, operators, statements, classes, functions, modules, and
exceptions. The authors then present more advanced material, showing how
Python performs common tasks by offering real applications and the
libraries available for those applications. Each chapter ends with a
series of exercises that will test the reader's newly acquired Python
skills and measure understanding.
Learning Python, Second Edition is a self-paced book that allows readers
to focus on the core Python language in depth. As they work through the
book, they'll gain a deep and complete understanding of the Python
language that will help them to understand the larger application-level
examples that they'll encounter on their own.
Praise for the first edition:
"If the language had manuals, they would undoubtedly be the texts from
O'Reilly & Associates...Learning Python and Programming Python are
--Andrew Binstock, "SD Times," May 2003
"Without exaggeration, without hyperbole, without unfounded adulation I
can honestly say that this book is one of the best computer language books
I have ever read! I read this book cover to cover without becoming bored
or lost. In fact, I read the first 80 pages in one sitting. The authors
include enough information to be complete without making the chapters
unbearably long. The beautiful thing about this book is that the authors
strike a near perfect balance between providing useful examples and
detailed explanations. Whether you are an experienced computer programmer
or a complete novice, this book is perfect for learning the Python
language. I would also recommend this book as a text for a course in
object oriented programming. Mark Lutz and David Ascher allow the reader
to have fun learning a new language. All computer books should strive to
be as fun to read and informative as Learning Python."
--Andrew Morrison, CedarLug, July 2001
"The computer book of the month is Mark Lutz's and David Ascher's
Learning Python. This is a good general introduction, not only to
Python, but to object-oriented programming languages in general."
--Jerry Pournelle, Byte.com, May 2001
Further reviews can be found at:
Learning Python, Second Edition
Mark Lutz and David Ascher
ISBN 0-596-00281-5, 591 pages, $34.95 US, $50.95 CA
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