[Tutor] Why I'm learning Python (OT and long)

Rob uselesspython@yahoo.com
Fri, 31 Aug 2001 11:21:45 -0500

dman wrote:

> On Thu, Aug 30, 2001 at 10:27:42AM -0400, Bill Tolbert wrote:
> | I spent some time reading Useless Python last night and went to bed
> | totally depressed. I feel that even Useless is above my skill level. So,
> | what follows is the story of why I'm trying to learn Python. Perhaps some
> | will understand; some may be in a similar situation; some may want to send
> | me money. Maybe it can become an installment for the soapbox on Useless.
> [...]
> As Javier said, you learn it little by little.  You read docs, you
> experiement, and practice and you end up knowing the stuff that is
> interesting to you.  None of us know everything.  In fact, computers
> and software are so complex nowadays that nobody can ever know
> everything about any given system, and certainly not everything about
> all (or even several) systems.  Just keep on working and learning
> things as you go.  Study the things that you find interesting.  You
> can learn a lot on the web or mailing lists like this, and even
> discuss the exact issue you are having difficulty with.
> If you want to learn SQL, get a Linux sytem and try out PostgreSQL or
> MySQL.  (I don't think they are availble for Windows, but they are
> Free).  

I recently managed to get mySQL installed (painlessly, to my surprise) 
on Win 98 SE and on Win2K. The Win98 SE box had to be rebooted several 
times per day of mySQL use, which isn't surprising (since 98 was 
designed with home users in mind), but this was really not a problem.

> Then you can tinker with it with no fear of losing data (only
> store data you want to tinker with and don't care if you accidentally
> destroy it).  Get the manuals and tutorials and work it one step of
> the way.  Find something the you think would be useful and try and get
> it to work.  For example, take some snippet of a database that you
> work with at work and try toying with it in a SQL database.  There are
> even python bindings for PostgreSQL and MySQL.  Little by little
> you'll start to understand it.  I read/skimmed through the Postgres
> docs, and I understand very little right now.  However I know where I
> would start if I had a need (or stronger desire) to learn SQL.

One good way to learn some SQL is to let Access help you out. Access 
2000 (not sure about earlier Access versions) uses a fairly standard set 
of SQL language. You can take the queries you created in Access, and 
choose to view them in *SQL View* (or something like that). Look at the 
SQL statements Access generated from your queries, and try to determine 
which parts mean what. This should prove easier than it even sounds. 
devshed.com and a host of other sites on the web have good SQL and mySQL 
tutorials and references available. It's a short-ish hop from there to 
using Python to interface with your SQL database.

> Whenever you sit back and think of all the things that various gurus
> who have had formal training and decades of experience know you will
> invariably realize that there is lots you don't know.  However if you
> consider the things you do know that the "average" person doesn't, you
> will realize that it is significant.  The ability to read docs and
> learn (by trial and error usually) goes a long way to increasing your
> knowledge and experience in incremental steps.
> If you have some python code that you think could be designed better
> don't hesitate to share it and illicit other people's opinions and
> styles.  (Unless you signed some sort of NDA regarding it ;-)).
> -D


A {} is a terrible thing to waste.
Useless Python!