Beginning programming with Python

Aahz Maruch aahz at
Thu Nov 11 23:02:03 CET 1999

In article <sng0ychgwt.fsf at>,
Aaron Ginn  <aaron.ginn at> wrote:
>First, I know Perl very well, but I know nothing about Python.  I've
>heard from many sources that Python is the best language to teach
>someone with no programming experience because it emphasizes
>fundamentals and the correct (i.e. best) way to program.  Could anyone
>comment on how the two languages compare in this aspect?  Also, I will
>need to learn Python as well if I choose to go that route.  I am very
>literate with Perl and Tcl/TK.  How quickly can I expect to pick up

Python is definitely easier, both from the standpoint of writing code
and from the standpoint of *reading* it.

>Secondly, if I choose to use Python for this, I would like to supply
>each student with a reference book on Python.  I've narrowed it down
>to a choice between the two O'Reilly books, "Programming Python" and
>"Learning Python".  PP apears to have a lot more meat to it, but LP
>appears to be more suited to the beginner.  Assuming the audience
>includes kids that have never programmed before, should I go with LP,
>or will I miss out on anything by not getting the more detailed book?

If you're talking "low-income" and you don't have a fat corporate
partner, I'd strongly suggest that you try the on-line Python docs
first, which includes a tutorial.  Not as good as some of the books (and
I'll add to Ivan's plug because I'm tech-editing his book ;-), but it's
free.  You might get a couple of copies of each of the other books to
fill in the gaps.

Go ahead -- try it for yourself!  (I have at various points in my life
been an expert in BASIC, Pascal, FORTRAN, and Perl (plus a few
proprietary languages), and I like Python best.)
                      --- Aahz (

Androgynous poly kinky vanilla queer het    <*>
Hugs and backrubs -- I break Rule 6  (if you want to know, do some research)

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