April 8, 2005
"Python Cookbook, Second Edition": Recipes from the Python Community
Sebastopol, CA--Python is known as a robust and elegant language, with
support for both functional and object-oriented programming styles. When
programmers choose to use Python, however, they get more than just another
programming language--they become part of an incredibly enthusiastic and
supportive community of Python users who reach out to help each other
learn and grow in their use of the language.
The Python Cookbook, Second Edition (O'Reilly, US $49.95) is a
manifestation of that community. It's not a typical book written as a
cohesive manuscript by one or two authors. Rather, it's a bold attempt at
applying some principles of open source development to book authoring.
Over many years, members of the Python community contributed to the online
Python Cookbook hosted by ActiveState. Thousands of people
read the recipes, tested them, and added comments, so over time, the
recipes matured and grew. Using content from the site, coeditors Alex
Martelli, Anna Martelli Ravenscroft, and David Ascher conducted the
process of selecting, merging, ordering, and editing the material that
eventually became this new edition.
"It's a vastly collective work," says Alex Martelli, "The recipes come
from hundreds of authors who freely donated them for the good of Python,
and so the book inherently deals with what current Pythonistas consider
useful, interesting, and important."
Covering Python 2.3 and 2.4, the Python Cookbook, Second Edition is
packed with rigorously reviewed recipes organized by topic area. Each of
the chapters begins with an introduction written by a well-known Python
luminary such as Facundo Batista, David Beazley, Donn Cave, Fred L. Drake,
Jr., Paul F. Dubois, Mark Hammond, Raymond Hettinger, Jeremy Hylton,
Fredrik Lundh, Mark Lutz, Andy McKay, Gustavo Niemeyer, Tim Peters, Paul
Prescod, Aaron Watters, and Greg Wilson.
"Not everyone has had the good fortune of working side by side with real
experts of the Python language," says Martelli. "The Python Cookbook
gives them the same know-how such experience would give."
More than just a collection of tips and tricks, the Python Cookbook,
Second Edition covers topic areas spread across more than three hundred
recipes, including searching and sorting, text manipulation, working with
files, object-oriented programming, multithreaded programming, system
administration, web programming, processing XML, debugging and testing,
metaprogramming, and more.
"All in all, the breadth and depth of this collection are impressive,"
says Guido van Rossum, Python's creator, in his foreword to the Python
Cookbook, Second Edition. "This is a testimony to Python's wide range of
application areas, but also to its user community."
Praise for the previous edition:
"I have no reservations recommending this book."
--Tim Penhey, Cvu
"The Python Cookbook is superb. Demonstrably so, in fact. Most book
reviews are matters of judgment and discrimination, dependent on the taste
and wisdom of the reviewer. PC's quality is so unique that it deserves a
different, more objective style of review...PC is so good that it's hard
to go wrong buying a copy for yourselves or others. I write that with
confidence because the words aren't mine. Shortly after PC hit the
bookshelves at the end of summer, Python programmers began talking about
it--at interest group meetings, over lunch, and in all sorts of online
forums. Agreement was near universal that the book is extraordinary."
--Cameron Laird, UnixReview.com
"I can recommend the Python Cookbook wholeheartedly to anyone who has
passed into the advanced stage of language learning and is willing to
actually sit down and work through the code. Anybody who is looking for a
deeper understanding of Python, solutions to common coding problems, or
starting points for their own projects will also profit...The editors have
done a good job of nailing the parrot."
Python Cookbook, Second Edition
Alex Martelli, Anna Martelli Ravenscroft, and David Ascher
ISBN: 0-596-00797-3, 807 pages, $49.95 US, $69.95 CA
O'Reilly Media spreads the knowledge of innovators through its books, online services, magazines, and conferences. Since 1978, O'Reilly Media has been a chronicler and catalyst of cutting-edge development, homing in on the technology trends that really matter and spurring their adoption by amplifying "faint signals" from the alpha geeks who are creating the future. An active participant in the technology community, the company has a long history of advocacy, meme-making, and evangelism.
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