How did you learn Python?

Harry George at
Fri Dec 3 18:33:23 CET 2004

"Shawn Milo" <ShawnMilo at> writes:

> I was just wondering what the best books were for learning Python.
> Which books are good for getting started, and which should be saved for
> later, or or not useful except as a reference for the learned?
> I have a decent programming background in VB, JavaScript, VBScript,
> Net.Data (IBM's macro language), regular expressions, and a teensy bit of
> Perl. My point is, I don't want something that is going to explain the basic
> programming concepts, but does give a good introduction to Python-specific
> things. Then, once I know how to get the job done, I would like a good book 
> or two at the intermediate to advanced level, to learn how to write really good code.
> I understand that resources such as this list and Google searches have all the answers,
> but it seems like a more structured tool, such as a book or formal class, would be
> of great benefit to me. The other languages I have used were picked up because of the
> need to get a job done. As a result, I am able to get the job done, but any experienced
> coder can show me six more efficient ways to do what I'm doing. I'm new to
> Python, and I want to do this one right. I believe that Python will be
> around for a good, long time, and it matches my values as an Open-Source/Linux
> supporter, while having relevance in the Windows and Mac world, as well. 
> Plus, it looks like it was designed extremely well, and I'm excited about the 
> principles I've read about.
> Thanks,
> Shawn

For those who already know scripting, Beazley's "Python Essential
Reference" is great.  It *briefly* shows you how to do in python what
you already know how to do elsewhere.  Other people tell me
"Essential" is too terse for learning and they are more comfortable
with Quick Python or Learning Python.

For more idioms and design patterns, see the Python Cookbook for
specific tasks, and then read the "example" or "sample" code with the
various add-on modules you happen to install.

For day in and day out reference, have the python html documentation
on your machine and a bookmark to it.  Then read the "Library
Reference" whenever you need to remember the semantics/syntax of a

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