Wednesday, April 01, 2009

So You Want To Learn Python?

First, let me congratulate you on wanting to give Python a try! I have used many languages but always return to Python as it is the easiest to read, the fastest to programme, works on any platform and is bug-free. It's very much like an easier Java, in the same way that Java is an easier C++. There are many tutorials and books available to ease you into the language. Read on and I'll recommend my favourites.

Learning Python depends on what other programming experience you have. If you are already comfortable with coding, start with Instant Python, a one-page crash course. Bit-heads can manage with that and the official docs.

For those of us without a computer science degree, I recommend the thorough tutorial Think Python. This is a free book you can also buy on paper as Python for Software Design.

Of the made-from-trees books that are generally available, I have had great success teaching using Learning Python (Third Edition).

Once you get more into the language, the Python Cookbook (Second Edition) is an invaluable source of problems and solutions. I would say this even if I wasn't one of the contributors! The Python recipes at ActiveState are another good source of solutions, but rather more mixed in quality.

P.S. How many languages have I used? I can recall Basic (loaded from cassette tape!), Fortran (punch cards!!), Perl, Visual Basic, Pascal, Java, C, C++ and 8086 assembler. Or rather, I cannot recall them, which helps me sleep sounder at night


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