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July 20, 2006

Python in a Nutshell, Second Edition: No Python Library is Complete without It

Sebastopol, CA--Known for their ruthless efficiency and almost fanatical devotion to their language of choice, Python programmers seem to have it all: a language that's elegant and pragmatic, simple and powerful, and is high-level yet doesn't intrude between programmer and code when one needs to fiddle with the bits and bytes. Furthermore, Python is relatively easy to learn, making it a boon for novices, but powerful enough to take on the expert's most ambitious programming challenges. To top it off, salary statistics show that Python programmers are paid on the average at least ten percent more than programmers who use other languages. (As author and Python expert Alex Martelli points out, "The productivity of a Python developer is about forty percent higher than others. Hence it is natural to get ten percent out of the profit as salary.")

With all this bounty, what do Python programmers need? Only a clear and concise reference to the language, with the appropriate measure of guidance in how best to use Python's great power. The new edition of Alex Martelli's book, Python in a Nutshell, Second Edition (O'Reilly, US $39.99) fills this need.

In the tradition of O'Reilly's In a Nutshell series, this book offers Python programmers a single place to look when they need help remembering or deciphering the syntax of this open source language and its many modules. The book makes it easy to look up all the most frequently needed information--not just about the Python language itself, but also the most frequently used parts of the standard library and the most important third-party extensions. Updated to cover the current 2.4 version of Python and the soon-to-be-released 2.5 version, it is a reference whose time has come.

"Python has grown and developed in many significant ways, from the 2.2 version which was covered in the first edition of Python in a Nutshell, says Martelli. "Its importance continues to grow, as it keeps getting embedded in ever more applications and used more often for programming of applications and websites." For example, he points out that Washingtonpost.com is now programmed with Django, a Python web framework. It's also now embedded for scripting in software as varied as SPSS and games such as Civilization IV.

Revised and expanded, the new edition contains all the details on Python's new subprocess module and breaking news about Microsoft's new IronPython project. It also includes:

  • A fast-paced tutorial on the syntax of the Python language
  • An explanation of object-oriented programming in Python
  • Coverage of iterators, generators, exceptions, modules, packages, strings, and regular expressions
  • A quick reference for Python's built-in types and functions and key modules
  • Reference material on important third-party extensions, such as Numeric and Tkinter
  • Information about embedding and extending Python
  • Throughout the book, Martelli's expertise and keen understanding of the language shine through. This is as it should be, considering the important part Python plays in Martelli's life. "My wife Anna, although not officially credited except in the acknowledgements, contributed hugely to this book," notes Martelli. "This is not surprising considering that she was my coauthor for the second edition of the Python Cookbook, and that we had connected online in the Python community, and that right after our marriage (July 2004) we flew immediately to Portland so OSCON (the O'Reilly Open Source Convention) was the start of our honeymoon! Most book authors are thankful for forbearance from their families. I'm such a lucky fellow that my wife is at least as keen as I am about the subject of my (I should say 'our') books."

    Additional Resources:

    Python in a Nutshell, Second Edition
    Alex Martelli
    ISBN: 0-596-10049-9, 695 pages, $39.99 US
    order@oreilly.com
    1-800-998-9938; 1-707-827-7000

    About O'Reilly

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