Will "Python in a Nutshell" be too short?

Hamish Lawson hbl at st-andrews.ac.uk
Tue Sep 17 14:46:21 EDT 2002

O'Reilly doesn't yet list the forthcoming "Python in a Nutshell" by Alex 
Martelli, but according to Amazon.com's page for the book, it will have 400 
pages. Is that indeed the plan? I know that O'Reilly aims to keep fat out 
of its books, and that Alex is striving to be comprehensive yet concise, 
but I worry that the book's proposed length will simply be too short to 
cover the material I'm hoping will be included.

I regularly consult David Beazley's "Python Essential Reference", but the 
usefulness to me of this otherwise excellent book is compromised by the 
number of (platform-independent and not obsolescent) standard modules and 
packages that had to be left out of the book's 380 pages (htmllib, 
telnetlib, urllib2, CongigParser, unittest, tkinter, xml, etc.).

Many of us were hoping that "Python in a Nutshell" would not only be a 
comprehensive reference of pretty much all of the modules in the standard 
library that aren't obsolescent or platform-specific, but would also cover 
some of the most popular third-party libraries - e.g. DB-API, PIL, 
mxDateTime, Numeric, win32all, wxPython, mod_python, ReportLab.

My congratulations to Alex and O'Reilly if they reckon they can somehow 
manage to fit this all into just 400 pages; but if this won't be possible, 
as I worry must be the case, then may I make a plea for the book's length 
to be reconsidered. It would be good to have a one-stop Python reference 
book that would be a suitable companion to the task-oriented "Python 
Cookbook" - I'm hoping "Python in a Nutshell" can still be that book.

By comparison, O'Reilly's "Perl in a Nutshell" is 800 pages and has the 
following chapters: Introduction to Perl; Installing Perl; The Perl 
Executable; The Perl Language; Function Reference; Debugging; Packages, 
Modules, and Objects; Standard Modules; CGI Overview; The CGI.pm Module; 
Web Server Programming with mod_perl; Databases and Perl; XML and Perl; 
SOAP; Sockets; Email Connectivity; Usenet News; FTP; Lightweight Directory 
Access with Net::LDAP; The LWP Library; Perl/Tk; Win32 Modules and 
Extensions; OLE Automation; ODBC Extension for Win32.

Hamish Lawson

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