[Tutor] wanting to learn

Che M pine508 at hotmail.com
Thu Jun 12 03:25:13 CEST 2008

Hi Michael,

> Since my background is web, I want to learn Python and how it relates  
> to the web. I have been told that I need to learn and understand the  
> basics in "standard/general" Python before I move onto something like  
> "django" but really, how much Python do I need to know before I can  
> head down the web path?

That's hard to quantify, and I myself don't have that experience yet,
but from what I've been told, web programming in Python is not at all
an easy thing to get started with and so you wouldn't want lack of basic 
Python knowledge to hinder you, especially when you'll be dealing with
the ins and outs of the web framework, like Django.  And so I'd guess
you'd need to understand more than just the very basics of Python, but
not a great deal beyond that.  Trying to quantify it, there is probably a 
"top 50" (100?) ideas in programming that you should be familiar with, 
and so you'd want to learn how Python handles that top 50.  In many
ways Python is a great language to start with as it is very readable,
sensible, and compact compared to others, from what I hear.

For me, the most "aha!" thing to learn in programming was that you 
could name an action and that would then be a storage for the results 
of that action.  For example (from wxPython):

mytext = textControl.GetValue()

now mytext will refer to the text which was got from the GetValue() 
action that the textControl does.  I've mainly only encountered that
kind of thinking in programming.  Of course, there's also classes and
attributes and all sorts of stuff, but one thing at a time.

> Is Python a language a total beginner/tutorial reader like myself can  
> learn or do I need to take classes at a local college? Is their is  
> just too much to learn to do this on my own. 

I started learning Python on my own and although I am far from anything
like a Programmer, have been able to make some applications and
have fun with it.  I've been goofing around with it for just under two years
in my off time.  It's been 100% without classes.  Some books, but mainly
websites, trial and error, reading this and other lists, etc.  Without Google
this would have not happened, I'm sure.  It is amazing how Google can
turn up old forum posts which completely answer my confusion of the
moment.  Or if not, I've gotten great help on this and other lists.

> I am starting to get a bit over whelmed with all of the information I'm finding.

That's not surprising, either.  The key is to tune most of it out at first, and
just pick a few good sources.  There are some very good online tutorials,

Alan Gauld's Learn to Program (great for conceptual basics, and he is a master tutor on this list)

Frederik "eff-bot" Lundh's guide to the Standard Python Library (great for knowing what the Python standard library can do, which is so much of the power of the language) 

ShowMeDo has many excellent instructional webcasts and is very Python-centric.  

I find the official Python tutorial to be usually not very good for beginners 
to programming, though (it's more for those coming from another language I feel).
Back search this list's archives, too.  Lots of good info already stamped into the

> So, can anybody head me in the right direction with my endeavor?
> Since I am on an intel/Mac which IDE should I be using? Which one will  
> be robust enough to take me through my journey? I have started with  
> IDLE but I have been told that it is a bare bones IDE. So, if I need  
> to learn how to use a IDE, I want to learn one that I will not have to  
> discard as I become more familiar with the Python language.

I wouldn't worry about discarding IDLE just yet; sometimes it is better to
start simple, and I still fire up IDLE now and then for testing.  I like using Boa 
Constructor as an IDE but that's also because I do GUI programming.  I believe it 
works for Mac as well.  There are tons of IDEs and people will all have their

Best of luck, and take it little by little,

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