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".
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
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
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,
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