Murach's Python Programming by Michael Urband and Joel Murach
As in the past, I have recently received a copy of Murach's Python Programming - their first foray into the language and was asked to review it.
For the book they are using IDLE as their IDE, and this is for python 3.
Off the bat - I think Murach really has refined a great learning paths with their books and this is no exception.
The chapters are laid out as follows:
1. Introduction to python as a language
2. Writing a basic python program
3. Control statements
4. Functions and modules
17. Database (SQLite)
Appendix for windows setup
Appendix for Macosx Setup
Take a step back and see where they put testing/debug. Chapter 5. I love the placement! Folks going through the book get python installed, receive positive returns with some basic code, and then take a breather with testing/debugging before more complex things come their way.
The book follows the time honored Murach tradition of code on the right and text about it on the left facing page.
Each chapter does a really great job succinctly explaining the concept, why you would use it, have relevant code, and great summary/exercises to reinforce the area.
The code is clean, well formatted, and uses great naming conventions. Things hopefully not lost on the reader.
The basics are all covered in depth and peppered with hints, details, and differences needed to flesh out the concepts.
I was impressed in later chapters where the book goes into three-tier architecture (data layer, business layer, and presentation layer) - an often over looked concept and hard for folk starting out. Not to mention relational database 101.
Over all I found this to be a fantastic book for taking folk with no python knowledge to a good firm grasp to develop their own projects as well as folk with some knowledge but wanted to shore up the gaps. Not only have they been exposed to basic concepts, but complex ones and even given the tools to debug/solve errors that come up with more complex projects.
Speaking of - the projects and examples in the book are spot on. Tower of Hanoi, gas mileage converters, movie databases, etc are all common homework or compartmentalized examples of useful projects.
As a moderate python user I definitely learned a few new tricks, and reduced some complexity in my code. I have no qualms recommending this book for folk looking to pick up python and use it!
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