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What books are good for learning Python? What editor should you use when writing Python? What exactly is Python? All these questions, and more, are answered in this great new article.

  1. Essential Resources for the Python Professional
  2. What Can You Do With Python?
  3. Web Sites
  4. Books
  5. The Python Community
  6. Development Environments
By: Boudewijn Rempt
Rating: starstarstarstarstar / 5
October 25, 2000

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There was a time (not long ago) when only one Python book existed: O'Reilly's Programming Python, by Mark Lutz. When Internet Programming with Python was published, two books existed. Nowadays there are many good books to choose from, and the venerable Programming Python is going into a second edition. If you buy Python books, consider supporting the PSA by making a purchasing them from the PSA Bookstore.

Recommended Books

Internet Programming with Python
by Aaron Watters, Guido van Rossum, and James Ahlstrom.
Published by MIS Press/Henry Holt.

Audience: Beginning Python developers.

Description: Almost as venerable as the language itself, Internet Programming with Python has a notable distinction: The creator of Python is one of its authors. The layout of this book is horrible, but its contents are valuable. This book deals with the ins and outs of the language, and goes on to teach you about several important areas of Python programming: text handling, CGI scripting, network programming, GUI building. It ends with extending and embedding Python. This book spends a fair amount of space warning you that Python doesn't work as you might expect; this can be a bit off-putting, but the explanations are generally clear, concise, and correct.

Python and Tkinter Programming
by John E. Grayson.
Published by Manning.

Audience: Every developer of GUI interfaces.

Description: This is the definitive reference to the aging standard GUI of Python, Tkinter. Even though you might decide not to use Tkinter for your GUI—after all, far better options are available—you will want to buy this book. This resource provides good, general coverage on GUI building and GUI design. Its tone is light, the explanations are exceptionally clear, and the author consistently explains why he did things one way rather than the other. This book covers all aspects of GUI design, including even the latest trend of "real-world metaphors", in which an application looks like its counterpart in the real world. You can even download sample chapters in order to get an idea of what the book is like.

. Python Programming on Win32,
by Mark Hammond and Andy Robinson.
Published by O'Reilly.

Audience:Windows developers who want to use Python.

Description: Try the sample chapters for yourself. If you're going to use Python to build Windows-specific applications, you will need this book. Python is a great tool for scripting COM objects, and is even more robust than Visual Basic. Mark Hammond and Andy Robinson are technical experts who are also able to write about complex concepts, such as COM, in a clear style.

Books of Note

Learning Python,
by Mark Lutz and David Ascher.
Published by O'Reilly.

Audience:Beginning Python developers.

Description: This is a very good introduction to the Python language. If you find that the online tutorial is lacking, supplement it with this book—it seems that everybody who has read it raves about it. Try the sample chapters to see whether the style fits you. If this book isn't right, you may prefer The Quick Python Book.

The Quick Python Book,
by Daryl Harms and Kenneth McDonald.
Published by Manning.

Audience:Good for non-programming professionals who need a programming language for their work.

Description: Learning Python is a book for people who already know one or more programming languages. The Quick Python Book is suited for people for whom Python is their first programming language. This is not to say that the book doesn't present the reader with advanced subjects such as COM and Zope—it does. Sample chapters on file handling and modules are available online.

Python Essential Reference,
by David Beazley.
Published by New Riders.

Audience:All Python developers.

Description: Although the typeface in this book is very small, it is a good reference for all the Python modules and is better organized than the online library documentation.

(The eff-bot Guide to) The Standard Python Library,
by Fredrik Lundh.

Audience:All Python developers.

Description: This is an electronic book, usable only with US versions of Acrobat Reader on Windows. Being a collection of 320 examples from years of Usenet postings to comp.lang.python, it's supposed to be good. It might be worth your time if you prefer to learn programming by looking at snippets.

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Copyright 2000 InformIT.
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