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The ACCU passes on review copies of computer books to its members for them to review. The result is a large, high quality collection of book reviews by programmers, for programmers. Currently there are 1918 reviews in the database and more every month.
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Title:
Python Essential Reference 2ed
Author:
David Beazley
ISBN:
0 7357 1091 0
Publisher:
New Riders Pub.
Pages:
396pp @£27-50
Price:
Reviewer:
Silvia de Beer
Subject:
python
Appeared in:
13-6
This is a reference for Python 2.1. If you have any programming experience you could use it to get started with Python. The first 100 pages are formed by a short tutorial introduction and cover all the basics; lexical conventions and syntax, types and objects, operators and expressions, control flow, functions and functional programming, classes and object-oriented programming, modules and packages, input and output and the execution environment. The book does not contain many examples, so if you would need more support to learn, you need to consult another book. It is interesting to compare an OO scripting language with a language like C++ and consider when you would use one or the other. I am always hindered by the non-type safety of scripting languages, but this might be an advantage for other types of applications.

On pages 100 to 297 you find appendix A, which covers most Python libraries in a summarising way. For example, there are many Python library functions that offer access to Unix and Posix system calls. You would really need a background understanding in those system calls, before you could use the Python functions correctly.

Appendix A is possibly useful to get an idea what type of libraries exist, but finally it does not offer much extra information than that you could get at the Python website. The layout of appendix A is poor, because it is just a long continuing list of unnumbered subsections. The table of contents is out of date; the topics are consequently 3 or 4 pages out. The index is correct.