Book Image

Getting Started with Python

By : Fabrizio Romano, Benjamin Baka, Dusty Phillips
Book Image

Getting Started with Python

By: Fabrizio Romano, Benjamin Baka, Dusty Phillips

Overview of this book

This Learning Path helps you get comfortable with the world of Python. It starts with a thorough and practical introduction to Python. You’ll quickly start writing programs, building websites, and working with data by harnessing Python's renowned data science libraries. With the power of linked lists, binary searches, and sorting algorithms, you'll easily create complex data structures, such as graphs, stacks, and queues. After understanding cooperative inheritance, you'll expertly raise, handle, and manipulate exceptions. You will effortlessly integrate the object-oriented and not-so-object-oriented aspects of Python, and create maintainable applications using higher level design patterns. Once you’ve covered core topics, you’ll understand the joy of unit testing and just how easy it is to create unit tests. By the end of this Learning Path, you will have built components that are easy to understand, debug, and can be used across different applications. This Learning Path includes content from the following Packt products: • Learn Python Programming - Second Edition by Fabrizio Romano • Python Data Structures and Algorithms by Benjamin Baka • Python 3 Object-Oriented Programming by Dusty Phillips
Table of Contents (31 chapters)
Title Page
Copyright and Credits
About Packt
Stacks and Queues
Hashing and Symbol Tables

About Python

Before we get into the gory details, let's get a sense of why someone would want to use Python (I would recommend you to read the Python page on Wikipedia to get a more detailed introduction).

To my mind, Python epitomizes the following qualities.


Python runs everywhere, and porting a program from Linux to Windows or Mac is usually just a matter of fixing paths and settings. Python is designed for portability and it takes care of specific operating system (OS) quirks behind interfaces that shield you from the pain of having to write code tailored to a specific platform.


Python is extremely logical and coherent. You can see it was designed by a brilliant computer scientist. Most of the time, you can just guess how a method is called, if you don't know it.

You may not realize how important this is right now, especially if you are at the beginning, but this is a major feature. It means less cluttering in your head, as well as less skimming through the documentation, and less need for mappings in your brain when you code.

Developer productivity

According to Mark Lutz (Learning Python, 5th Edition, O'Reilly Media), a Python program is typically one-fifth to one-third the size of equivalent Java or C++ code. This means the job gets done faster. And faster is good. Faster means a faster response on the market. Less code not only means less code to write, but also less code to read (and professional coders read much more than they write), less code to maintain, to debug, and to refactor.

Another important aspect is that Python runs without the need for lengthy and time-consuming compilation and linkage steps, so you don't have to wait to see the results of your work.

An extensive library

Python has an incredibly wide standard library (it's said to come with batteries included). If that wasn't enough, the Python community all over the world maintains a body of third-party libraries, tailored to specific needs, which you can access freely at the Python Package Index (PyPI). When you code Python and you realize that you need a certain feature, in most cases, there is at least one library where that feature has already been implemented for you.

Software quality

Python is heavily focused on readability, coherence, and quality. The language uniformity allows for high readability and this is crucial nowadays where coding is more of a collective effort than a solo endeavor. Another important aspect of Python is its intrinsic multiparadigm nature. You can use it as a scripting language, but you also can exploit object-oriented, imperative, and functional programming styles. It is versatile.

Software integration

Another important aspect is that Python can be extended and integrated with many other languages, which means that even when a company is using a different language as their mainstream tool, Python can come in and act as a glue agent between complex applications that need to talk to each other in some way. This is kind of an advanced topic, but in the real world, this feature is very important.

Satisfaction and enjoyment

Last, but not least, there is the fun of it! Working with Python is fun. I can code for 8 hours and leave the office happy and satisfied, alien to the struggle other coders have to endure because they use languages that don't provide them with the same amount of well-designed data structures and constructs. Python makes coding fun, no doubt about it. And fun promotes motivation and productivity.