[Tutor] Looking for some guidance.

Michael Janssen Janssen at rz.uni-frankfurt.de
Thu Feb 5 13:59:32 EST 2004

On Thu, 5 Feb 2004, Joshua Banks wrote:

> Right now I feel it little overwhelmed with all the documentation that I
> have. I'm sure that I'm not the only one that has felt this way.

After reading the "official tutorial" I felt more like "such few
concepts can't be programming already, can them?". Indeed it took me
some time to accept, that doing a little for-loop, some if-thingies and
firing up string and list methods is already the half way to write a
script that actually do something what one might expect a script to do.

Learnig how to do functions a week after has greatly improven my
style ;-)

> The
> frustrating part of my initial step towards learning Python is, almost
> all of the tutorials that I have seem to wiz through all of the
> concepts and symantics without reinforcing the newly learned concepts
> with exercises, exercises, exercises....examples, examples and then the
> examples explained.

So you probably can make up the examples for yourself. Just fire up
interpreter and do something. In my first month I spent a lot of time
with the interpreter cutting&pasting code between it and editor and
testing every step I take. Perhaps not the most efficient way to code,
but my script I wrote in my second week still do some valueable stuff
(and would cost me some hours to write nowadays...)

> I'm finding myself jumping from book to book, tutorial to tutorial
> feeling like I'll find something eventually that will fit. This is why
> I'm asking for guidance. At this point I don't know if I'm being to
> anal retentive thinking that I need to understand every little thing I
> read, or that maybe there's a tutorial that I'm missing. Is there a
> proven structured path to Enlightenment??
> I guess what I'm asking for is a suggestion of how a non-programmer can
> best progress from a non-programmer to starting to put these Python
> concepts to use. Do I just plow through a tutorial and goto the next
> eventually at some point slowly understanding?

I would suggest after reading two or three tutorials look out for a
small task and try to code it down. The good thing is that python isn't
that hard. Another good thing is that the python community is known as
newbie friendly :-) So, whenever you're stuck ask for help.

Such a "small task" is an important step on the path to programming,
because you won't learn it well without actually trying. One tricky
thing is to determine, which task is small but the rest is done with
functions, for- and while-loops, if-clauses, string-, lists- and
dicts-methods and some helpful functions from os, time, re and sys


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