Newbie Looking for direction

Steve Holden sholden at
Fri Sep 13 08:08:05 EDT 2002

"mowestusa" <justnotworking at> wrote ...
> I have never programmed in a language before.
> I have developed complex databases with Access (Office 95 version) just
> the visual tools.

Languages are the only way. Graphical manipulations such as report
generation in Access are all very well, but you hit the limits sooner or

> I would like to learn a computer language or database as a hobby that I
> would use to keep track of things in my real job.
> I have worked through "Non-programmer's Tutorial for Python".
> I'm reading "Programming Python (First Edition, got cheap)" right now.
"Programming Python" is a good book, but its focus is perhaps a little
narrow. There are many online tutorials you can add to your book with, so
you shouldn't *need* to buy anything else.

> Most of the programs that I would like to develop would be relatively
> databases.

Nothing wrong with that. You can create them visually if that's easier. You
just need to learn how to use DB-API modules. For Access I'd recommend
mxODBC, which doesn't have to be licensed for personal use.

> I have Access 95 and Paradox 10 (with runtime).  I'm wondering if I'm
> down the right path in learning Python or if I would be better served by
> just learning to use Paradox 10 well.  The one problem I have with Paradox
> or Access is that they seem so slow. Even if you have a simple database it
> takes a long time to start up and run.  I would also like to make things
> that I could share with colleagues who have no interest in programming,
> could use some of the database tools I would develop for our line of work.
You might also want to cover Gordon MacMillan's installer, to know how to
distribute stand-alone Python applications. If you're going to be creating
databases on the fly then you might have some interesting challenges, but
nothing insurmountable.

> So far it seems like I'm a long way away from being able to be productive
> with Python, but that maybe because my end goal is too complex.
By aiming for the stars you do increase your chances of actually getting off
the ground. I would make sure that you plan a series of steps, though, so
you get to check off some accomplishment each day. Otherwise a project can
seem too daunting sometimes.

regards, and good luck.
Steve Holden                        
Python Web Programming       
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