Is Python Dead? Long Live Python!

Bengt Richter bokr at
Fri Jul 13 22:34:04 CEST 2001

On Thu, 12 Jul 2001 21:30:43 -0700, Paul Prescod <paulp at> wrote:

>Peter Hansen wrote:
>> ...
>> Well, maybe if we could measure, sometime in the future when the
>> user base of Python and PHP is identical (not sure which is
>> actually larger now, mind you), publisher revenues from the books,
>> I might still be sort of right... I can't believe Python will
>> end up with the volume of five-inch thick books that PHP and
>> its ilk have barfed forth.
>I still think that you have too much faith that the actual technical
>features of the topic have any real effect on the structure of the books
>(or the market). Once you move past the first ten books written by
>zealots and early adopters, the rest are written by people like "the
>Deitels" who have a structure and are looking for content to pour into
>That isn't necessarily a bad thing -- people who buy a book from the
>Deitels (or the Dummies series or ...) know exactly what they are going
>to get! As long as they don't do too much damage to the content pouring
>it into their form, it doesn't seem so terrible. Sometimes books by the
>"writing experts" are better than those by the technical experts. And
>sometimes they are worse. 

I have a theory that a fair number of books (and computers!) are bought for the
rabbit's-foot effect. I.e, if you just own it, it will give you magical powers.
Publishers try to cash in on that by the kind of design and cover hype that will
trigger an impulse purchase. 

The other kind of book is for actual use by professionals (or amateurs as in
Olympics rules). The hallmarks tend to be good indexing and cross referencing,
unobtrusive but pleasant and effective layout, conciseness and clearness, and
also good physical characteristics: coated paper, handy size, good fonts.

For my money, David Beazley and New Riders deserve a plug for hitting close to
the mark with the Python Essential Reference. I hope the new edition is as good.
(That's not to say it's the best book for everyone, but it is the kind I like).

More information about the Python-list mailing list