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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."
--Nice2Cats, slashdot.org

Additional Resources:

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
order@oreilly.com
1-800-998-9938; 1-707-827-7000

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