Observation on "Core Python Programming"

John Coleman jcoleman at franciscan.edu
Sun Oct 29 16:24:56 CET 2006


Greetings,
   My copy of the second edition of Chun's "Core Python Programming"
just arrived from Amazon on Friday. What really jumped out at me is an
interesting feature about how it sequences its topics, namely,
(user-defined) functions are not introduced until chapter 11, fully 400
pages into the book. This contrasts strongly with a traditional
"Introduction to language X" book which has a chapter sequence roughy
like:

Chapter 1) Intro - Hello World
Chapter 2) Variables
Chapter 3) If, if-else
Chapter 4) Loops
Chapter 5) Functions and/or subroutines

The exact details vary from book to book and language to language of
course, but usually the above topics are covered in the first 100-150
pages since it is hard to do anything interesting until all of these
tools are under your belt. Chun's book by contrast is able, on the
strength of Python's built-in functions, to cover a fair amount of
relatively interesting things (dictionaries, file IO, exception
handling, etc.) before introducing user-defined functions.

I don't want to read too much into this, but the mere fact that it is
possible to write a Python book in this fashion seems to confirm the
"batteries are included" philosophy of Python. Perhaps there is less
need to learn how to roll your own batteries as soon as possible.

-John Coleman




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