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32BitsOnline: Review of O’Reilly’s Learning Python

“The book is divided into two parts. First comes “The Core
Language”, describing basic aspects of the language such as syntax,
types, and conditional statements. This part of the book is meant
to teach the reader necessary but somewhat abstract concepts like
control-of-flow and object-oriented design. Second comes “The Outer
Layers”, which describes a few ways to extend Python in common
directions, like through CGI, a Tk GUI, Microsoft COM, and Java
Python (JPython). The second section of the book takes the theory
learned in the first section and puts it into practice.”

“In the Core Language section, the authors give a rock-solid,
seamless explanation of the Python language. They first cover the
built-in object types (strings, lists, etc.), then go on to
describe functions, modules, classes, and exceptions. Here you
learn that Python, like most languages, concerns itself at the most
basic level with “doing things with stuff”. First the things
(types) are covered, then the stuff (functions) is brought into the
picture. But that’s not the end of it. The authors go on to cover
in great detail Python’s namespace rules, object-oriented
capabilities, and other, more advanced facets of the language. By
the end of the section, you understand the fundamentals of every
facet of the Python language–knowledge you’ll need in the second
section.”

They say that if you ever want to know something well, you
should try teaching it to someone else.
Lutz and Ascher are
competent teachers (they also teach Python courses), so the first
section reads smoothly, progressing from one lesson to the next,
with each lesson building on the one before. The book looks slim,
but don’t confuse that with being lightweight.”


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