what should I do after reading through the Python tutorial?

James J. Besemer jb at cascade-sys.com
Thu Aug 15 10:00:13 EDT 2002

lion wrote:

> I am a beginner in Python Programming and I have readed through Python
> tutorial . To improve my experience and technique in Python
> Programming, what should I do?

1. Purchase the following references:

    Python Essential Reference by Beazley

    Python Pocket Reference by Lutz

        both readily available from Amazon and elsewhere

        you may want two of the pocket refs, one for home
        and one for work

While waiting for those to arrive...

2. Skim the Library Reference manual.  Your objective should
not be to absorb all the material therein but to familiarize yourself
with the wide range of tools available.  Then you'll know to look
there later when you are presented with a relevant problem.

3. Then you might want to zoom in and study the following
sections a little more closely.  You'll need to master at least parts
of them sooner or later:

    2 builti-ins
    3.1 system objects (i.e., Python system)
    4.1 string ops
    4.2 regular expressions
    6.1 os (i.e. your native operating system)
    6.2 os path (filenames and related)

4. Start programming some projects that are of interest or value to you.
This will naturally lead you through those parts of the language and
library that are most relevant.  If you're at a loss, try some CGI scripts
the CGI module (section 11.2) has examples and lots of powerful
functions to get you started.

If you have other official responsibilities, you can squeeze python
learning in during breaks between your "real" work.  Python and its
extensive library allows you to quickly create fairly sophisticated
applications in fairly short order.

E.g., the other day I got frustrated how klunky and hard to use
the output my Linux "man" page was.  So I wrote a little CGI that
does the search and converts the output to HTML.  The hard part
was coming up with regular expressions to translate some of the
brain-dead encoding in the man output into reasnable HTML.
E.g., some pages use "X\bX" for bold "X" while others use
"X\bX\bX\bX".  Sheesh.

The cool thing is it was easy to get started with a trivial subset
and then fix cosmetic encoding issues one by one as I
encountered them.

Anyway, here's my online man page:


Here's the source code:


Final thought: several have suggested that you should strive to
read a lot of Python code.  This is good advice for any language.
LOTS of Python code all around, on python.org and elsewhere
on the net.



p.s. people on this list tend to get on your case if you ask questions
for which there already exists a Python FAQ.  So it would be good
to read the various FAQs at least onec right away and perhaps again
after you have spent some time getting acquainted with the language.

James J. Besemer  503-280-0838 voice
http://cascade-sys.com  503-280-0375 fax
mailto:jb at cascade-sys.com

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