Beginning with Python; the right choice?

Dave Angel davea at
Sat Jun 27 20:07:29 EDT 2009 at wrote:
> Hi,
> As you can imagine, I am new, both to this group and to Python.  I
> have read various posts on the best book to buy or online tutorial to
> read and have started to go through them.  I was wondering, as someone
> with virtually no programming experience (I am a photographer by
> trade), is Python the right language for me to try and learn?
> I do vaguely remember learning what I think was BASIC on some old
> Apple's back in elementary school (circa 1992).  Would something like
> that (the name at least makes it SOUND easier) be more feasible?
> If I do choose to learn Python, are there any tutorials for the
> absolute beginner.  I do not mean beginner to Python, but rather,
> beginner to programming.  Someone who hasn't a clue what object
> oriented whatcha-ma-whoozit means.  I ask again because I understand
> that content is always evolving and there might be new tutorials out
> there.
> Thanks!
> -Daniel Sato
I am also a photographer (portraits, weddings, parties, ...).  But my 
previous career was computer software (9 patents).  So I know a bit 
about both.

I only learned Python in the past year, having used 35 languages 
professionally previously.  And although Python wasn't the easiest to 
learn, it was in the top 3, and it has the best ratio of power to 
difficulty of learning.

The real point is that unless you're trying to make a career in 
software, you're unlikely to need any of these "more powerful" 
languages.  And you can probably write a useful utility in your first 24 
hours with the language.  Don't worry too much about "object oriented" 
at the start.  And don't worry much about using "old tutorials."  Until 
Python 3, the language has been quite stable for many years.  So my 
advice would be to download Python 2.6 for your operating system, and 
start playing.

Pick something simple for your first tasks, preferably something useful 
in your main career.  For example, try writing a utility that examines a 
directory tree of image files, looking for some anomaly that you come up 
with.  For example, I use Nikon cameras, so my raw files have a .NEF 
extension.  I never delete the NEF file, but instead move it into a 
subdirectory "Culled."   So I could write a script that searches all 
subdirectories of directory   images/2009-05, looking for gaps in the 
filenames found.  Or look for .psd files that don't have a corresponding 
.NEF file above them.  Or check the .xmp files to make sure the business 
copyright is in all  files.

I don't know what operating system you're using, but it would be a big 
help if you're familiar with the use of the command prompt.

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