Hobbyist - Python vs. other languages

Mike Driscoll kyosohma at gmail.com
Thu Jul 31 20:58:54 CEST 2008


On Jul 31, 1:32 pm, fprintf <stuart.a.h... at gmail.com> wrote:
> I have been playing with computers since I first learned to program
> moving shapes on an Atari 800XL in BASIC. After many years of dabbling
> in programming languages as a hobbyist (I am not a computer scientist
> or other IT professional), I have never found a way to stick with a
> language far enough to do anything useful.  I learn all about loops
> and data structures and functions/methods etc. but never get to create
> a program that will do anything of value that I can't more easily do
> via freeware. Well, except the slot car timing system I wrote in C++
> for Linux many moons ago.
>
> Honestly Python seems like a breath of fresh air and possibly a way to
> get back to my BASIC roots, you know, programming just for the fun of
> it.
>
> Since I don't have a specific problem to solve, besides
> Pythonchallenge (which I found very cryptic), and Project Euler (which
> I found beyond my mathematics skills), is there a place to go for
> increasingly difficult problems to solve? I have followed a number of
> the recommended online tutorials that contain a logical progression of
> problems and yet they all end at the point where a person has enough
> knowledge of the syntax, but not really enough to do anything.

I've noticed that there's a gap between learning the syntax and
actually being able to do something myself. It's pretty annoying.
However, all you need is to come up with some projects that you'd like
to do, such as inventorying some collection you have (CDs, DVDs,
Clocks, whatever). Then you have a place to start.

The next step is to break the project down into smaller parts until
you have parts to tackle. Let's say you want to inventory your DVDs
for example. First, you'd need to figure out how much data about each
title you want. Examples might include Title, Director, top 3 actors,
price, and purchase date. Once you know what you want to store, you
can learn about data persistence (i.e. databases!).

Or you could join a local Python Users Group or an open source
project. I learn a lot just helping people on this and other Python
lists.

Mike



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