Python in a Nutshell

A Desktop Quick Reference

Alex Martelli

Publisher: O'Reilly, 2003, 636 pages

ISBN: 0-596-00188-6

Keywords: Python

Last modified: Nov. 9, 2008, 11:24 a.m.

Ask any Python aficionado and you'll hear that Python programmers have it all: an elegant language that offers object-oriented programming support, a readable, maintainable syntax, integration with C components, and an enormous collection of precoded standard library and extension modules. Moreover, Python is easy to learn but powerful enough to take on the most ambitious programming challenges. But what Python programmers have lacked is one concise and clear reference resource, with the appropriate measure of guidance in how best to use Python's great power. Now Python in a Nutshell fills this need. In the tradition of O'Reilly's "In a Nutshell" series, this book offers Python programmers one place to look when they need help remembering or deciphering the syntax of this open source language and its many modules. This comprehensive reference guide makes it easy to look up all the most frequently needed information—not just about the Python language itself, but also the most frequently used parts of the standard library and the most important third-party extensions. Python in a Nutshell focuses on Python 2.2 (and all its point releases), currently the most stable and widespread Python release. This book includes:

  • A fast-paced tutorial on the syntax of the Python language itself
  • An explanation of object-oriented programming in Python, covering both the classic and new-style object models
  • Coverage of other core topics, including exceptions, modules, strings, and regular expressions
  • A quick reference for Python's built-in types and functions, as well as the key modules in the Python standard library, including sys, os, time, thread, math, and socket, among many others
  • Reference material on important third-party extensions, such as Numeric and Tkinter
  • Information about extending Python and embedding it into other applications

Python in a Nutshell provides a solid, no-nonsense quick reference to information that programmers rely on the most. This latest addition to the best-selling "In a Nutshell" series will immediately earn its place in any Python programmer's library.

  • Part I: Getting Started with Python
    • Chapter 1: Introduction to Python
      • The Python Language
      • The Python Standard Library and Extension Modules
      • Python Implementations
      • Python Development and Versions
      • Python Resources
    • Chapter 2: Installation
      • Installing Python from Source Code
      • Installing Python from Binaries
      • Installing Jython
    • Chapter 3: The Python Interpreter
      • The python Program
      • Python Development Environments
      • Running Python Programs
      • The Jython Interpreter
  • Part II: Core Python Language and Built-ins
    • Chapter 4: The Python Language
      • Lexical Structure
      • Data Types
      • Variables and Other References
      • Expressions and Operators
      • Numeric Operations
      • Sequence Operations
      • Dictionary Operations
      • The print Statement
      • Control Flow Statements
      • Functions
    • Chapter 5: Object-Oriented Python
      • Classic Classes and Instances
      • New-Style Classes and Instances
      • Special Methods
      • Metaclasses
    • Chapter 6: Exceptions
      • The try Statement
      • Exception Propagation
      • The raise Statement
      • Exception Objects
      • Custom Exception Classes
      • Error-Checking Strategies
    • Chapter 7: Modules
      • Module Objects
      • Module Loading
      • Packages
      • The Distribution Utilities (distutils)
    • Chapter 8: Core Built-ins
      • Built-in Types
      • Built-in Functions
      • The sys Module
      • The getopt Module
      • The copy Module
      • The bisect Module
      • The UserList, UserDict, and UserString Modules
    • Chapter 9: Strings and Regular Expressions
      • Methods of String Objects
      • The string Module
      • String Formatting
      • The pprint Module
      • The repr Module
      • Unicode
      • Regular Expressions and the re Module
  • Part III: Python Library and Extension Modules
    • Chapter 10: File and Text Operations
      • The os Module
      • Filesystem Operations
      • File Objects
      • Auxiliary Modules for File I/O
      • The StringIO and cStringIO Modules
      • Compressed Files
      • Text Input and Output
      • Richer-Text I/O
      • Interactive Command Sessions
      • Internationalization
    • Chapter 11: Persistence and Databases
      • Serialization
      • DBM Modules
      • The Berkeley DB Module
      • The Python Database API (DBAPI) 2.0
    • Chapter 12: Time Operations
      • The time Module
      • The sched Module
      • The calendar Module
      • The mx.DateTime Module
    • Chapter 13: Controlling Execution
      • Dynamic Execution and the exec Statement
      • Restricted Execution
      • Internal Types
      • Garbage Collection
      • Termination Functions
      • Site and User Customization
    • Chapter 14: Threads and Processes
      • Threads in Python
      • The thread Module
      • The Queue Module
      • The threading Module
      • Threaded Program Architecture
      • Process Environment
      • Running Other Programs
      • The mmap Module
    • Chapter 15: Numeric Processing
      • The math and cmath Modules
      • The operator Module
      • The random Module
      • The array Module
      • The Numeric Package
      • Array Objects
      • Universal Functions (ufuncs)
      • Optional Numeric Modules
    • Chapter 16: Tkinter GUIs
      • Tkinter Fundamentals
      • Widget Fundamentals
      • Commonly Used Simple Widgets
      • Container Widgets
      • Menus
      • The Text Widget
      • The Canvas Widget
      • Geometry Management
      • Tkinter Events
    • Chapter 17: Testing, Debugging, and Optimizing
      • Testing
      • Debugging
      • The warnings Module
      • Optimization
  • Part IV: Network and Web Programming
    • Chapter 18: Client-Side Network Protocol Modules
      • URL Access
      • Email Protocols
      • The HTTP and FTP Protocols
      • Network News
      • Telnet
      • Distributed Computing
    • Chapter 19: Sockets and Server-Side Network Protocol Modules
      • The socket Module
      • The SocketServer Module
      • Event-Driven Socket Programs
    • Chapter 20: CGI Scripting and Alternatives
      • CGI in Python
      • Cookies
      • Other Server-Side Approaches
    • Chapter 21: MIME and Network Encodings
      • Encoding Binary Data as Text
      • MIME and Email Format Handling
      Chapter 22: Structured Text: HTML
      • The sgmllib Module
      • The htmllib Module
      • The HTMLParser Module
      • Generating HTML
    • Chapter 23: Structured Text: XML
      • An Overview of XML Parsing
      • Parsing XML with SAX
      • Parsing XML with DOM
      • Changing and Generating XML
  • Part V: Extending and Embedding
    • Chapter 24: Extending and Embedding Classic Python
      • Extending Python with Python's C API
      • Extending Python Without Python's C API
      • Embedding Python
    • Chapter 25: Extending and Embedding Jython
      • Importing Java Packages in Jython
      • Embedding Jython in Java
      • Compiling Python into Java
    • Chapter 26: Distributing Extensions and Programs
      • Python's distutils
      • The py2exe Tool
      • The Installer Tool


Python in a Nutshell

Reviewed by Roland Buresund

Very Good ******** (8 out of 10)

Last modified: June 12, 2008, 6:51 p.m.

A very good reference of both the language and some modules

Teaches even experienced Pythonistas something. It manages to explains stuff both simple and with a pretty good in-depth view.

If you need a reference book on Python, this is probably it. And it should exist a second edition that could be even better (or at least updated).


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