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Book Reviews – Learning Python

Book Reviews - Learning Python

Key Features
Learn the fundamentals of programming with Python – one of the best languages ever created
Develop a strong set of programming skills that you will be able to express in any situation, on every platform, thanks to Python’s portability
Create outstanding applications of all kind, from websites to scripting, and from GUIs to data science

Book Description
Learning Python has a dynamic and varied nature. It reads easily and lays a good foundation for those who are interested in digging deeper. It has a practical and example-oriented approach through which both the introductory and the advanced topics are explained. Starting with the fundamentals of programming and Python, it ends by exploring very different topics, like GUIs, web apps and data science. The book takes you all the way to creating a fully fledged application.

The book begins by exploring the essentials of programming, data structures and teaches you how to manipulate them. It then moves on to controlling the flow of a program and writing reusable and error proof code. You will then explore different programming paradigms that will allow you to find the best approach to any situation, and also learn how to perform performance optimization as well as effective debugging. Throughout, the book steers you through the various types of applications, and it concludes with a complete mini website built upon all the concepts that you learned.
What you will learn

Get Python up and running on Windows, Mac, and Linux in no time
Grasp the fundamental concepts of coding, along with the basics of data structures and control flow.
Write elegant, reusable, and efficient code in any situation
Understand when to use the functional or the object oriented programming approach
Create bulletproof, reliable software by writing tests to support your code
Explore examples of GUIs, scripting, data science and web applications
Learn to be independent, capable of fetching any resource you need, as well as dig deeper

About the Author

Fabrizio Romano was born in Italy in 1975. He holds a master’s degree in computer science engineering from the University of Padova. He is also a certified Scrum master.

Before Python, he has worked with several other languages, such as C/C++, Java, PHP, and C#.

In 2011, he moved to London and started working as a Python developer for Glasses Direct, one of Europe’s leading online prescription glasses retailers.

He then worked as a senior Python developer for TBG (now Sprinklr), one of the world’s leading companies in social media advertising. At TBG, he and his team collaborated with Facebook and Twitter. They were the first in the world to get access to the Twitter advertising API. He wrote the code that published the first geo-narrowcasted promoted tweet in the world using the API.

He currently works as a senior platform developer at, a company that is revolutionizing the way international students find their perfect home all around the world.

He has delivered talks on Teaching Python and TDD with Python at the last two editions of EuroPython and at Skillsmatter in London.

1. Introduction and First Steps – Take a Deep Breath
A proper introduction
Enter the Python
About Python
Developer productivity
An extensive library
Software quality
Software integration
Satisfaction and enjoyment
What are the drawbacks?
Who is using Python today?
Setting up the environment
Python 2 versus Python 3 – the great debate
Installing Python
Setting up the Python interpreter
About virtualenv
Your first virtual environment
Your friend, the console
How you can run a Python program
Running Python scripts
Running the Python interactive shell
Running Python as a service
Running Python as a GUI application
How is Python code organized
How do we use modules and packages
Python’s execution model
Names and namespaces
Object and classes
Guidelines on how to write good code
The Python culture
A note on the IDEs
2. Built-in Data Types
Everything is an object
Mutable or immutable? That is the question
Complex numbers
Fractions and decimals
Immutable sequences
Strings and bytes
Encoding and decoding strings
Indexing and slicing strings
Mutable sequences
Byte arrays
Set types
Mapping types – dictionaries
The collections module
Named tuples
Final considerations
Small values caching
How to choose data structures
About indexing and slicing
About the names
3. Iterating and Making Decisions
Conditional programming
A specialized else: elif
The ternary operator
The for loop
Iterating over a range
all together
Example 1 – a prime generator
Example 2 – applying discounts
A quick peek at the itertools module
Infinite iterators
Iterators terminating on the shortest input sequence
Combinatoric generators
4. Functions, the Building Blocks of Code
Why use functions?
Reduce code duplication
Splitting a complex task
Hide implementation details
Improve readability
Improve traceability
Scopes and name resolution
The global and nonlocal statements
Input parameters
Argument passing
Assignment to argument names don’t affect the caller
Changing a mutable affects the caller
How to specify input parameters
Positional arguments
Keyword arguments and default values
Variable positional arguments
Variable keyword arguments
Keyword-only arguments
Combining input parameters
Avoid the trap! Mutable defaults
Return values
Returning multiple values
A few useful tips
Recursive functions
Anonymous functions
Function attributes
Built-in functions
One final example
Documenting your code
Importing objects
Relative imports
5. Saving Time and Memory
map, zip, and filter
Nested comprehensions
Filtering a comprehension
dict comprehensions
set comprehensions
Generator functions
Going beyond next
The yield from expression
Generator expressions
Some performance considerations
Don’t overdo comprehensions and generators
Name localization
Generation behavior in built-ins
One last example
6. Advanced Concepts – OOP, Decorators, and Iterators
A decorator factory
Object-oriented programming
The simplest Python class
Class and object namespaces
Attribute shadowing
I, me, and myself – using the self variable
Initializing an instance
OOP is about code reuse
Inheritance and composition
Accessing a base class
Multiple inheritance
Method resolution order
Static and class methods
Static methods
Class methods
Private methods and name mangling
The property decorator
Operator overloading
Polymorphism – a brief overview
Writing a custom iterator
7. Testing, Profiling, and Dealing with Exceptions
Testing your application
The anatomy of a test
Testing guidelines
Unit testing
Writing a unit test
Mock objects and patching
A classic unit test example
Making a test fail
Interface testing
Comparing tests with and without mocks
Boundaries and granularity
A more interesting example
Test-driven development
Profiling Python
When to profile?
8. The Edges – GUIs and Scripts
First approach – scripting
The imports
Parsing arguments
The business logic
Second approach – a GUI application
The imports
The layout logic
The business logic
Fetching the web page
Saving the images
Alerting the user
How to improve the application?
Where do we go from here?
The tkinter.tix module
The turtle module
wxPython, PyQt, and PyGTK
The principle of least astonishment
Threading considerations
9. Data Science
IPython and Jupyter notebook
Dealing with data
Setting up the notebook
Preparing the data
Cleaning the data
Creating the DataFrame
Unpacking the campaign name
Unpacking the user data
Cleaning everything up
Saving the DataFrame to a file
Visualizing the results
Where do we go from here?
10. Web Development Done Right
What is the Web?
How does the Web work?
The Django web framework
Django design philosophy
The model layer
The view layer
The template layer
The Django URL dispatcher
Regular expressions
A regex website
Setting up Django
Starting the project
Creating users
Adding the Entry model
Customizing the admin panel
Creating the form
Writing the views
The home view
The entry list view
The form view
Tying up URLs and views
Writing the templates
The future of web development
Writing a Flask view
Building a JSON quote server in Falcon
11. Debugging and Troubleshooting
Debugging techniques
Debugging with print
Debugging with a custom function
Inspecting the traceback
Using the Python debugger
Inspecting log files
Other techniques
Where to find information
Troubleshooting guidelines
Using console editors
Where to inspect
Using tests to debug
12. Summing Up – A Complete Example
The challenge
Our implementation
Implementing the Django interface
The setup
The model layer
A simple form
The view layer
Imports and home view
Listing all records
Creating records
Updating records
Deleting records
Setting up the URLs
The template layer
Home and footer templates
Listing all records
Creating and editing records
Talking to the API
Deleting records
Implementing the Falcon API
The main application
Writing the helpers
Coding the password validator
Coding the password generator
Writing the handlers
Coding the password validator handler
Coding the password generator handler
Running the API
Testing the API
Testing the helpers
Testing the handlers
Where do you go from here?
A word of farewell

Book Reviews – Learning Python

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