Welcome to Part 2. By now you should have a good idea what Python is and the general techniques for integrating Python into a Windows environment. Part 2 focuses on developing an advanced Windows application using Python and COM. Over the next few chapters, we’ll build the core of an application, put an industry-standard Visual Basic GUI up front, demonstrate how to access it from other Office applications, show how to give the users a macro language and their own scripting capabilities, and introduce distributed processing.
In this chapter, there won’t be any Windows specifics. Instead, we’ll design and build a Python engine that is sophisticated enough to do some interesting and useful work; we’ll then develop and integrate this further into Windows over the next few chapters. If you are new to Python, this chapter should also strengthen your understanding of object-oriented programming in Python and of manipulating basic data structures such as lists and dictionaries. Although this is just an example application, we’ll touch on how you would optimize for both performance and robustness in a commercial environment.