Simple Practice Programs

Brian van den Broek bvande at po-box.mcgill.ca
Tue Jun 29 07:27:50 CEST 2004


Peter Hansen said unto the world upon 29/06/2004 00:23:

> Brian Martin wrote:
> 
>> If I have gone through several beginner python tuts and understand 
>> basics, what's next?
>> It seems there are very many very beginning tutorials but after that 
>> there is a large absence as far as tutorials.  Any suggestions for a 
>> simple program to write?
> 
> 
> The best simple program to write is always (IMHO) the one which
> actually gives you back some value.  What do _you_ want to use
> your programming skills for?  Pick some particular task that you
> want to automate (CD collection, waking you up in the morning,
> whatever) or a game idea you have or the world's Next Great
> Editor or something, and start writing it.
> 
> A couple of universal truths exist though:
> 
> 1. You won't actually ever finish it.  Don't let that stop you.
> 
> 2. You'll learn an awful lot more than if you just follow
> someone else's idea of what I envision you mean by "practice program".
> 

<SNIP>

Hi all,

Unlike Peter, I count my programming experience in months, not years. :-)

The advice above (and the snipped alternative, too) seem good counsel. At 
first, though, many of the things that I would want to be able to program 
seemed a bit too big to me. If that is where you are, I'd suggest you pick 
one or two (reasonably) small things on your computer that bug you and 
make them better. I at least was helped by aiming at a few fairly small 
such tasks.

An example from my learning: I have a proprietary information management 
application which exports files to a multi-directory HTML file system. The 
HTML is really messy, defaults to opening links in new browser, and a 
bunch of other stuff that bugs me. So I wrote a Python script to walk the 
tree and fix the HTML, etc. issues. I learned a lot. (Enough so I now have 
taken on one of the sort of "you are not going to finish that" projects 
that Peter recommends.) A task where you can learn a few aspects rather 
than try to mix together all the things you've read about is what helped 
me anyway.

Last, in case you didn't know, there is a similar thread on the Tutor list 
right now. (And if you are learning, that's a good list to read and post 
to; very patient folks :-)

Best to all,

Brian vdB





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