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[Discuss] learning python - formal training opportunities

+1 for Beazley's "Python Essential Reference".

- Steve

> Date: Wed, 12 Jun 2013 11:33:29 -0400
> From: Kent Borg <kentborg at>
> To: discuss at
> Subject: Re: [Discuss] learning python - formal training opportunities
>         ?
> Message-ID: <51B894C9.6080207 at>
> Content-Type: text/plain; charset=UTF-8; format=flowed
> On 06/12/2013 10:00 AM, Stephen Goldman wrote:
> >          Would the community know if a scripting language such as Python
> would be offered at a community college ? If not other means .. other than
> buying a book?
> Classes are a great way to drive focus and have a place to ask
> questions. So if you want to do that, cool.
> As for "other means" a neat thing about Python is that I can sit at a
> Linux shell prompt, type "python" and get an interpreter that lets me
> start playing with real code, right away.  With something like C I need
> to declare and initialize so damn much stuff before I can begin to do
> anything interesting. In Python typing "import somenewlibrary" instantly
> gets me into a usually interesting place.
> I use Python when I can, and certainly a real program requires an
> editor, but I still use the interpreter frequently, pasting in code
> fragments, verifying syntax (making sure I have my "slice" specified
> correctly), etc. Something about the design of Python lets me do real
> stuff quickly.
> Whether you find a good class or not, I encourage you to play with
> Python. Look for excuses to use it for little things.
> As for books...a few years back I spent a few hours at the Harvard Coop
> looking at all their Python books and decided upon "Python Essential
> Reference" by David M. Beazley. A key feature is that it was about
> Python, not about computers via Python.  (I think Python is a great
> beginner's language, but I am not a beginner.)  I went through the book,
> making something completely trivial out of most of the described
> features or libraries, then proceeded on to the next chapter.
> While on the topic of books, the O'Reilly "Python Pocket Reference" is
> great. Really small (and so handy), it can keep reminding you of correct
> syntax. "And what the heck are the available string methods again?"
> Bring it to your class...
> One thing that might be particularly useful about a physical class is
> wrapping your head around what it is to be "pythonic". (You don't want
> to write Python as if it were C, you want a different style.) In looking
> at potential classes, try to figure out whether the instructor
> him/erself understands what it is to be "pythonic"...
> -kb

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