Deitel and Deitel Book...

Ron Stephens rdsteph at earthlink.net
Thu Feb 28 02:51:45 CET 2002


Sorry but I can't wait to give a brief "preview review" of the new
Deitel and Deitel book, "Python How to Program" (I also posted this at
my website at http://www.awaretek.com/plf.html ).
...
Well, let's see, I bought this 1292 page book from Amazon a week ago for
$72. This is the most I have ever paid for a computer book. Heck, it may
well be the most I have ever paid for *any* book ;-))).

I am leaving on a long business trip to Asia in two days, and I just
can't wait until I get back to tell you how much I am enjoying this
book. I have read the first 340 pages, which cover the core language; I
intend to carefully read the remaining chapters, which cover various
more advanced topics, as I fly around the world from 
New York City to Amsterdam, to Singapore, to Taiwan, to Japan, to Korea,
on to Shanghai, China, and finally back home to New York. I am looking
forward to the book more than the trip ;-))))

This book is one of the most enjoyable I have ever read. The pedagogical
approach that the authors use is superb; they have obviously learned
their educational craft well; for me, it actually works. The quality of
the paper is the finest in any Python book yet; the text is large and
clear. The way actual code is highlighted and separated from the text is
extremely 
helpful. Everything is first class.

I actually sort of expected the book to be a second rate effort in the
sense that the Deitels have written several best sellers about other
languages, and I sort of expected them to half-heartedly do a me-too
book by just applying the same old formula to a Python version.

But the book is fresh and clearly thought out. Since I have never read
any other Deitel book, it is possible that those who have done so may
have a different experience.

But I think even Deitel veterans will be pleased. More than anything
else, the book reminds me of a great college textbook, and reading such
a text is something I haven't done in way too many years. But this
educational quality of the text brings it to a whole new level of
sophistication, compared to most computer programming books.

The book includes, at the end of each chapter,  extensive questions and
answers, review lists, and summaries. It actually feels like you are
studying for credit in a college course. The end result is that, after
carefully reading the chapters covering the core language, I feel like I
have consolidated my Python knowledge considerably and that I am both
ready to do some really serious coding (once I get back from Asia ;-)))
and also to successfully attack the advanced chapters while I am on the
planes.

In addition to excellent coverage of the core language, the book covers
CGI, XML, Databases, XHTML (quite extensive) , Data Structures,
Multimedia, OpenGL, Tkinter, CSS, Python Server, Networking, Threading,
Regular Expressions, and Unicode. There are even excellent and extensive
appendixes reviewing Octal, Hexadecimal, and Binary Number Systems;
HTML; and Python version 2.2 Additions. Most of these topics are not
just skimmed over but are covered in great detail. yet the book really
flows well. The exercises and questions and answers are equal to the
very best college text books  I have encountered. Even the summaries
after each chapter are useful; I think I will be reviewing the chapter
summaries on the plane and later again after a few weeks, in order to
consolidate my learning even more. It seem like a good use of my time,
because the summaries are well thought out and very helpful.

I am excited.

I will do a detailed and very thorough review of the whole book as soon
as I return home from my trip. But even based on my reading of only the
first 340 pages, this book is a winner and I think any 
Pythonista who is willing to part with the (admittedly huge) sum of $72,
will be richly rewarded. One could easily get engrossed in this fine
book and wind up absorbing all 1292 pages in 10 days of blissful mind
mongering. (Well, what the hell, its only a preview review and I can
coin an asinine phrase like "mind mongering " if I want to ;-))))

...
By the way, I have studied the code of Hans Nowak's mygale.py well
enough to be confident in making modifications and additions, and I am
really looking forward to doing that as soon as I return  home. I intend
to add more starting point sources for the article searches, to add the
capability to search for any given topic, and also trying to fine tune
the searching mechanisms. I even have some other ideas for the code, but
I'll keep them quiet for now. Quite basic coding of course, the real
work has already been done by Hans and I really appreciate his
open-sourcing of this fine program.

I'm still searching for more tutorials and I'm up to 24 links now. I
have a lot of other stuff I want to add when I get back in mid March. 

Ron Stephens
< a href = "http://www.awaretek.com/plf.html">Python City</a>



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