Quiet - Learning Python project

Sunday, July 25 2010 @ 01:12 PM CEST

Contributed by: Jerry Rocteur

Sorry the site has been dead for the last few months but I've spent ALL of my spare time learning Python !

I wanted to learn Python because of the positive things I was seeing on the web and then one of my colleagues encouraged me to do it and so I did!

I've read Learning Python, Fourth Edition by Mark Lutz which I found a bit long winded and repetitive, it will make a good reference book for the future but I'm not sure that it is the best style for me to learn a language. I like the style of Randal L Schwartz but of course he writes about Perl and not Python!

I have also bought Mark Lutz Python Pocket Reference, 4th Edition which I think is OK for the price, handy to have around but sometimes not the easiest to find things. Often it seems you need to know more about what you're looking for to get the information you really need. As I was learning I was sometimes confused about the difference in printing beween Python 3 and Python 2.6 and earlier, I ended up having to write the formats myself in the book to have all the information in one place.

If you're into UNIX I recommend Python for Unix and Linux System Administration By Noah Gift, Jeremy M. Jones which I have just finished reading. I like the book very much, I learned a lot from this book and I had a lot of fun reading it and trying things out. I learned about Ipython which I recommend highly if you work at the shell you may use Ipython more often than your favourite shell, the writing style is very different to what I've read before and sometimes feels like it is your mate sending you an email with a story but at the end it will whet your apetite and you'll spend hours trying things out. A lot of the examples and stories are not complete and so you have to get your fingers dirty to learn more about things but that is fine, otherwise the book would be 2000 pages and you'd get bored like I did with Learning Python's verbose style.

Next step is the Python Cookbook which I will start reading this week. 

When the new versions of Python in a Nutshell and Programming Python come out I will also buy those.

There is a lot of resource on the web but I like reading books when I'm learning a language or a new technology!

If you're buying an O'Reilly book in Europe, I found it is cheaper to buy the book from Amazon UK and then getting the PDF version from the O'Reilly site using the Ebook discount code. I find Safari way overpriced and prefer having the PDF on my memory stick. You can also download the ebook in other formats at no extra charge. One thing that is formidable is that if the book is updated due to errata, O'Reilly will send you an email offering you to download the updated version.

For those who know me and are curious! Yes I still like Perl and I still do some things in Perl but I find Python more to my liking for all the reasons that you can read about on the web or in the books!

I still type Perl one liners but now that I use iPython and always have a iPython shell open I am doing Perl one liners less and less.

What do I hate about Python.... I hate the difference between the different versions and the drastic changes and incompatibilities in Python 3. But I'm still a Python newbie and that will be less important in time but for the moment it annoys me. For example, I learn about optparse from reading Python for Administrators and then I go to  the Python documentation I see "Deprecated since version 2.7: The optparse module is deprecated and will not be developed further; development will continue with the argparse module." This shows that the language is evolving but what happened with Python 3 is that some things are NOT backwards compatible.

Future project. Use Django for this site instead of Geeklog. But first I learn Python well, then I'll learn Django.

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