Backup Software written in Python

Recommended Python Programming Language Books

Copyright 2010 by Stephen Vermeulen
Last updated: 2010 Apr 17
Interesting Python Cookbook Recipes

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There are quite a number of books on the Python programming language, the ones I have bought, used and recommend are listed here.

  • Learning Python, by Mark Lutz and David Ascher, 2004, ISBN 0596002815, O'Reilly. The first edition was published in 1999 and was subsequently updated to the 2.2 version of Python in 2004. I highly recommend this book as the first book on Python you should get. Its a very readable language reference, with lots of short examples. It also has some chapters on some of the more advanced topics and some of the specialized libraries.

    Slashdot has a review of the new version.

    Even if you have a copy of the original edition I think you should get a copy of the new edition, it has a lot of new material, as well, some of the general sections have been significantly improved.

    Even if you are an experienced C++ programmer you'll benefit from reading this when you start coding Python as Python's object system and language have may built-in capabilities that C++ lacks (so you will be unaware of and probably will not even think to look for).

  • The Python Cookbook, (second edition) by Alex Martelli, Anna Ravenscroft and David Ascher, 2005, ISBN 0596007973, O'Reilly. This is a collected set of recipes for doing all sorts of common (and not so common) tasks in Python. The recipes are grouped into task-specific chapters, so you can often just glance down the list of chapters and then skim the contents of one or two chapters to find what you are looking for. The recipes are usually less than a page long, often short enough to just type into the Python interpreter shell directly to play with, and come with a write up that will cover what the recipe does and go into details about any additional background material you might need to know.

    If you are a lone programmer who's looking to get productive in Python fast, this is a good book to get. Its the sort of thing where you could find a solution in this book in 5 minutes that will save you a few hours of web searching and experimentation. If you've got a few people at work who use Python, then at least get one copy for the office, it'll pay for itself in one use.

  • Python Programming on Win32, by Mark Hammond and Andy Robinson, 2000, ISBN 1565926218, O'Reilly.

    If you are working with Python in a Windows environment and you want to talk to other applications (say by using COM or DCOM) or control or modify the operating system from Python (perhaps using Python as your operating system scripting language), you simply must get a copy of this book. Like the Python Cookbook, each time you use this book it'll save you hours of "interesting" times. I highly recommend this book.

    It's also the sort of book where a programming team needs at least one copy. The sample code and errata page is here.

    An introductory presentation by Mark Hammond and Greg Stein on COM given at a conference. In Feb'06 an announcement of a website dedicated to this was made:

  • wxPython in Action, 2006, by Noel Rappin and Robin Dunn, published by Manning Publications. ISBN: 1932394621. Here's an artical interviewing Robin Dunn. Reviewed on voidspace. Reviewed on Slashdot by Ron Stephens.

    This is a very good introduction to using wxPython to create GUI applications in Python. Currently I've read about 70% of the book and found it quite easy to follow, the examples are quite concise, but still illustrate some powerful concepts (especially the grid table in Chapter 5 and the simple drawing application in chapter 6). Source code to the examples is available from the publisher's web site, but sometimes one learns more from actually typing in some of these that just downloading and running them. That's one of the beauties of Python, you can actually type in some stuff in the Python shell window and interactively experiment with things.

    Incorporating HTML into wxPython. Using PIL (Python Imaging Library) within a wxPython application.

  • Programming Python, Mark Lutz, 2006, ISBN 0596009259, O'Reilly. If you need to integrate Python with a C++ application (embed it or extend the application with Python) this is the book for you. I bought a copy of the first edition from 1999 but I have not really made much use of my copy, especially compared with Learning Python. There are probably some problems where the more in depth coverage in this book will help, but for the sort of coding I've been doing I have only rarely found the need to open this. So I would say browse through a copy before buying. A second edition has been released and a third edition is on the way.

  • Cross-Platform GUI Programming with wxWidgets, 2005, by Julian Smart, Kevin Hock and Stefan Csomor, ISBN: 0131473816. wxWidgets is the toolkit that wxPython is based on, as such this book is not essential for the use of wxPython, but it does help to fill in some of the gaps, If you are considering using wxPython in a major way this book would probably also prove useful to have on hand.

    Of course, if you are using wxWidgets directly, rather than indirectly from Python, then this book would be very useful to have on hand. I got my got of this because the wxPython in Action book was not available at the time I started to use wxPython and found that it was quite useful to have on hand.
  • 2010-Apr-17: For Python 3 there is now: Programming in Python 3, a Complete Introduction to the Python Language by Mark Summerfield, ISBN: 978-0137129294. In 2010 a a href="">second edition of this was published. [6971]
  • 2009-Jul-24: How to use DjVu to produce digitized books with searchable text from using OCR software to process the scans. [8320]
  • 2009-Jul-15: Guido takes a look at a couple of books aimed at beginners to Python. There is also a Slashdot review of Hello World!. Doug Hellmann takes a look at Hello World! too. [8051]
  • 2009-May-28: A recommendation of Beginning Python Visualization by Shai Vaingast, ISBN: 978-1430218432. A Slashdot review of it is here. [7666]
  • 2009-May-22: A review of Rapid GUI Programming with Python and Qt. [8018]
  • 2008-Dec-14: pyisbn is a module for working with 10 and 13 digit ISBN numbers, including checksum calculations and conversion between 10 and 13 digit numbers. [4176]
  • 2008-Oct-15: The Expert Python Programming book is now available. A review of it is here. [6914]
  • 2007-Dec-29: A review of the book: The Definitive Guide to Django. [4534]
  • 2007-Nov-12: A review of the book: Programming Collective Intelligence by Toby Segaran, ISBN: 978-0596529321 which includes sections on similarity calculations, text search engines, optimization, neural networks, document classification and spam filtration, decision trees and genetic programming. [4071]
  • 2007-Nov-12: Snake Wrangling for Kids an introduction to computer programming in Python for kids 8 and up. [4069]
  • 2007-Nov-02: Beginning Game Development in Python and Pygame, will be reviewed here someday. [3917]
  • From Green Tea Press, a free pair of books on programming in Python and Java. [5901]

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