Core Python Programming
Python is an Internet and systems programming language that is soaring in popularity in today’s fast-paced software development environment, and no wonder: it’s simple (yet robust), object-oriented (yet can be used as a procedural language), extensible, scalable and features an easy to learn syntax that is clear and concise. Python combines the power of a compiled object language like Java and C++ with the ease of use and rapid development time of a scripting language. In fact, its syntax is so easy to understand that you are more likely to pick it up faster than any of the other popular scripting languages in use today!
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Rather than strictly a “beginners’” book or a pure, hard-core computer science reference book, my instructional experience indicates that an easy-to-read, yet technically-oriented book serves our purpose the best, and that is to get you up-to-speed on Python as quickly as possible, so that you can apply it to your tasks post haste. We will introduce concepts coupled with appropriate examples to expedite the learning process. At the end of each chapter you will find numerous exercises to reinforce some of the concepts and ideas acquired in your reading.
After the obligatory introduction to Python, but before heading to the core of the language, we take a “quick plunge” into Python with the “Getting Started” chapter. The intention of this chapter is for those who wish to temporarily dispense of formal reading and get their hands dirty with Python immediately. If you do not wish to travel this path, you may proceed as normal to the next set of chapters, an introduction to Python objects. Python’s primitive data types, numbers, strings, lists, tuples, and dictionaries make up the next three chapters.
Python’s error-handling capability is extremely useful to both the programmer and the user, and we address that topic in a separate chapter. Finally, the largest parts of the Python “core” we cover will be functions, modules, and classes… each in its own chapter. The final chapter of the text provides insight on how Python may be extended. The last section of the book is a mini-reference guide in the appendix. There we spill the beans on the core modules of the standard library, highlight the operators and built-in operators and functions for the Python types, provide solutions to selected exercises, and conclude with a small glossary of terms.
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