Book Recomendations

Jeff Schwab jeff at
Sun Mar 2 22:27:20 CET 2008

 > Ira Solomon wrote:
 >> I am an experienced programmer (40 years) . . .
 >> I'm interested in learning Python

 > js wrote:
 >> I wonder why nobody mension Python Cookbook yet . . .
 >> and Python Standard Library

Because cookbooks are not supposed to be language introductions.  They 
are collections of non-obvious techniques, for use by people already 
familiar with a core language and its standard libraries.  Python in 
particular offers a lot for traditional programmers to wrap their minds 
around before considering cookbooks; Programming Python, for example, 
purports to help programmers think Pythonically, and probably belongs 
chronologically between the introductory books and the cookbooks.

Many programmers coming from different languages tend (at first) to 
write code that makes experienced Pythonistas cringe.  Effective use of 
the language depends on an understanding of its extremely dynamic 
nature, which can be tough to grasp for those of us coming from compiled 
language backgrounds.  It seems to me, based purely on discussions seen 
in comp.lang.python, that even folks coming from relatively dynamic 
languages like Lisp often underestimate the level of run-time 
indirection provided by Python.  One of the neat things about the 
Nutshell book is that it shows how even the process of resolving object 
attributes is potentially complicated, and how the new 'type' metaclass 
helps to at least make the process more consistent than with old-style 

Experienced programmers first have to learn that an expression like 
"a.x" means something very different in Python from what it means 
elsewhere; then, they can begin leveraging these language features to do 
the sorts of things illustrated in the cookbooks.

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