Help for beginner

Jonathan jonathan at meanwhile.freeserve.co.uk
Fri Jun 4 14:06:42 CEST 1999


Max M. Stalnaker wrote in message <3751885A.DCF055D6 at acm.org>...

>You have to buy all the python books and once you work through those,
(being an
>old-timer) I suggest you work through volume I of Knuth's opus on
programming.
>Other people will have more current suggestions, but no one will complain
about
>a Knuth recommendation.  Embrace the object orientation of python but stay
away
>from GUI implementations for awhile.


Knuth's great, but I *wouldn't* suggest it to someone just starting
programming. It's for people who want to make programming their life's work
and who are happy reading examples in assembly code, happy with mathematical
analyses of algorithms, happy to read thousands of pages of deeply
thoughtful thought, admittedly crystalline but sometimes very dense prose. I
don't think even Knuth would suggest that his books are for beginners.

Get Learning Python if you like the look of it. Then perhaps buy Kernighan
and Pike's Practice Of Programming - it doesn't have any Python in, but
it's an excellent introduction to the issues that matter whatever language
you're using, which is what Max rightly suggests that you need. It gives a
fast intro to data structures and covers program design, debugging,
readability, efficiency. But you can read it in days instead of  the months
and years that Knuth demands to really understand.

Jonathan Coupe, XWare







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