REVIEW - Python Programming Patterns


Python Programming Patterns


Thomas W. Christopher



Prentice Hall (2002)




Francis Glassborow


February 2002



How I wish authors and publishers would stop treating us like idiots. This book is a terrible mixture. Three quarters of the time it is an introduction to Python, and just when you are thoroughly fed up you come across a chapter or section of a chapter that actually makes a serious attempt to meet the expectations of a reader who has taken the title at face value.

I think the book delivers much less than it promises. I have the impression that it has been written by someone who is a Python enthusiast who has done some reading about design patterns (perhaps he has read the GoF book) and then started to write a book aimed at people who do not know much about either.

I find the authors description of various patterns to be inadequate. No member of the pattern movement would give these descriptions even a straight C. The rest of the book is a hotch potch of introductory Python, fragments of design and implementation and examples (not very convincing ones) of applying some common patterns. If you need the introductory material the implementation code for such things as Priority Queue will be beyond you, but if you think that container implementations are worth study you will be puzzled as to what these have to do with patterns. Actually this is a good example of one of the problems with the book. In the text on Priority Queue Implementation it says that before(x, y) is an example of the Strategy pattern. Fine, so I turned to the index to find where the author covers that. The index gives me three references. The earliest is the Priority Queue one so we have a case of the example preceding the description - OK sometimes that is necessary. The next reference also refers to a page where we are told that something is an example of the Strategy Pattern. Finally the third reference gives me a two and a half line, two sentence description.

I think this book needs to be sent back to the author for a complete rewrite. Before doing so he needs to sit down and write a detailed specification of what he is aiming to achieve. Good books, like good source code, are planned meticulously to meet a carefully written specification. This book is an example of what happens when a reasonably knowledgeable domain expert fails to do that.XML& the Web

Book cover image courtesy of Open Library.

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