Learn Python the Hard Way: A Very Simple Introduction to the Terrifyingly Beautiful World of Computers and Code / Edition 3

Learn Python the Hard Way: A Very Simple Introduction to the Terrifyingly Beautiful World of Computers and Code / Edition 3

by Zed A. Shaw
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Learn Python the Hard Way: A Very Simple Introduction to the Terrifyingly Beautiful World of Computers and Code / Edition 3

You Will Learn Python!

Zed Shaw has perfected the world's best system for learning Python. Follow it and you will succeed-just like the hundreds of thousands of beginners Zed has taught to date! You bring the discipline, commitment, and persistence; the author supplies everything else.

In Learn Python the Hard Way, Third Edition, you'll learn Python by working through 52 brilliantly crafted exercises. Read them. Type their code precisely. (No copying and pasting!) Fix your mistakes. Watch the programs run. As you do, you'll learn how software works; what good programs look like; how to read, write, and think about code; and how to find and fix your mistakes using tricks professional programmers use. Most importantly, you'll learn the following, which you need to start writing excellent Python software of your own:

  • Installing a complete Python environment
  • Organizing and writing code
  • Basic mathematics
  • Variables
  • Strings and text
  • Interacting with users
  • Working with files
  • Looping and logic
  • Data structures using lists and dictionaries
  • Program design
  • Object-oriented programming
  • Inheritance and composition
  • Modules, classes, and objects
  • Python packaging
  • Debugging
  • Automated testing
  • Basic game development
  • Basic web development

It'll be hard at first. But soon, you'll just get it-and that will feel great!

This tutorial will reward you for every minute you put into it. Soon, you'll know one of the world's most powerful, popular programming languages. You'll be a Python programmer.

Watch Zed, too! The accompanying DVD contains 5+ hours of passionate, powerful teaching: a complete Python video course!

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780321884916
Publisher: Addison-Wesley
Publication date: 10/15/2013
Series: Zed Shaw's Hard Way Series
Pages: 320
Sales rank: 183,519
Product dimensions: 6.90(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.80(d)

About the Author

Zed A. Shaw is the author of the popular online books Learn Python the Hard Way, Learn Ruby the Hard Way, and Learn C the Hard Way. He is also the creator of several open source software projects like Mongrel, Lamson, Mongrel2, and has been programming and writing for nearly 20 years.

Table of Contents

Preface 1
Acknowledgments 1
The Hard Way Is Easier 1
Do Not Copy-Paste 2
A Note on Practice and Persistence 3
A Warning for the Smarties 3

Exercise 0: The Setup 6
Mac OSX 6
Windows 7
Linux 9
Warnings for Beginners 10

Exercise 1: A Good First Program 12
What You Should See 14
Study Drills 15
Common Student Questions 16

Exercise 2: Comments and Pound Characters 18
What You Should See 18
Study Drills 18
Common Student Questions 19

Exercise 3: Numbers and Math 20
What You Should See 21
Study Drills 21
Common Student Questions 22

Exercise 4: Variables and Names 24
What You Should See 25
Study Drills 25
Common Student Questions 25

Exercise 5: More Variables and Printing 28
What You Should See 28
Study Drills 29
Common Student Questions 29

Exercise 6: Strings and Text 30
What You Should See 31
Study Drills 31
Common Student Questions 31

Exercise 7: More Printing. 32
What You Should See 32
Study Drills 32
Common Student Questions 33

Exercise 8: Printing, Printing 34
What You Should See 34
Study Drills 34
Common Student Questions 34

Exercise 9: Printing, Printing, Printing 36
What You Should See 36
Study Drills 36
Common Student Questions 37

Exercise 10: What Was That? 38
What You Should See 39
Escape Sequences 39
Study Drills 40
Common Student Questions 40

Exercise 11: Asking Questions 42
What You Should See 42
Study Drills 43
Common Student Questions 43

Exercise 12: Prompting People 44
What You Should See 44
Study Drills 44
Common Student Questions 45

Exercise 13: Parameters, Unpacking, Variables 46
Hold Up! Features Have Another Name 46
What You Should See 47
Study Drills 48
Common Student Questions 48

Exercise 14: Prompting and Passing 50
What You Should See 50
Study Drills 51
Common Student Questions 51

Exercise 15: Reading Files 54
What You Should See 55
Study Drills 55
Common Student Questions 56

Exercise 16: Reading and Writing Files 58
What You Should See 59
Study Drills 59
Common Student Questions 60

Exercise 17: More Files 62
What You Should See 63
Study Drills 63
Common Student Questions 63

Exercise 18: Names, Variables, Code, Functions 66
What You Should See 67
Study Drills 68
Common Student Questions 68

Exercise 19: Functions and Variables 70
What You Should See 71
Study Drills 71
Common Student Questions 71

Exercise 20: Functions and Files 74
What You Should See 75
Study Drills 75
Common Student Questions 75

Exercise 21: Functions Can Return Something 78
What You Should See 79
Study Drills 79
Common Student Questions 80

Exercise 22: What Do You Know So Far? 81
What You Are Learning 81

Exercise 23: Read Some Code 82

Exercise 24: More Practice 84
What You Should See 85
Study Drills 85
Common Student Questions 85

Exercise 25: Even More Practice 86
What You Should See 87
Study Drills 88
Common Student Questions 89

Exercise 26: Congratulations, Take a Test! 90
Common Student Questions 90

Exercise 27: Memorizing Logic 92
The Truth Terms 92
The Truth Tables 93
Common Student Questions 94

Exercise 28: Boolean Practice 96
What You Should See 98
Study Drills 98
Common Student Questions 98

Exercise 29: What If 100
What You Should See 100
Study Drills 101
Common Student Questions 101

Exercise 30: Else and If 102
What You Should See 103
Study Drills 103
Common Student Questions 103

Exercise 31: Making Decisions 104
What You Should See 105
Study Drills 105
Common Student Questions 105

Exercise 32: Loops and Lists 106
What You Should See 107
Study Drills 108
Common Student Questions 108

Exercise 33: While-Loops 110
What You Should See 111
Study Drills 111
Common Student Questions 112

Exercise 34: Accessing Elements of Lists 114
Study Drills 115

Exercise 35: Branches and Functions 116
What You Should See 117
Study Drills 118
Common Student Questions 118

Exercise 36: Designing and Debugging 120
Rules for If-Statements 120
Rules for Loops 120
Tips for Debugging 121
Homework 121

Exercise 37: Symbol Review 122
Keywords 122
Data Types 123
String Escape Sequences 124
String Formats 124
Operators 125
Reading Code 126
Study Drills 127
Common Student Questions 127

Exercise 38: Doing Things to Lists 128
What You Should See 129
Study Drills 130
Common Student Questions 130

Exercise 39: Dictionaries, Oh Lovely Dictionaries 132
What You Should See 134
Study Drills 135
Common Student Questions 135

Exercise 40: Modules, Classes, and Objects 138
Modules Are Like Dictionaries 138
What You Should See 142
Study Drills 142
Common Student Questions 143

Exercise 41: Learning to Speak Object Oriented 144
Word Drills 144
Phrase Drills 144
Combined Drills 145
A Reading Test 145
Practice English to Code 147
Reading More Code 148
Common Student Questions 148

Exercise 42: Is-A, Has-A, Objects, and Classes 150
How This Looks in Code 151
About class Name(object) 153
Study Drills 153
Common Student Questions 154

Exercise 43: Basic Object-Oriented Analysis and Design 156
The Analysis of a Simple Game Engine 157
Top Down vs. Bottom Up 161
The Code for "Gothons from Planet Percal #25" 162
What You Should See 167
Study Drills 168
Common Student Questions 168

Exercise 44: Inheritance vs. Composition 170
What Is Inheritance? 170
The Reason for super() 175
Composition 176
When to Use Inheritance or Composition 177
Study Drills 177
Common Student Questions 178

Exercise 45: You Make a Game 180
Evaluating Your Game 180
Function Style 181
Class Style 181
Code Style 182
Good Comments 182
Evaluate Your Game 183

Exercise 46: A Project Skeleton 184
Installing Python Packages 184
Creating the Skeleton Project Directory 185
Testing Your Setup 187
Using the Skeleton 188
Required Quiz 188
Common Student Questions 189

Exercise 47: Automated Testing 190
Writing a Test Case 190
Testing Guidelines 192
What You Should See 192
Study Drills 193
Common Student Questions 193

Exercise 48: Advanced User Input 194
Our Game Lexicon 194
What You Should Test 196
Design Hints 198
Study Drills 198
Common Student Questions 198

Exercise 49: Making Sentences 200
Match and Peek 200
The Sentence Grammar 201
A Word on Exceptions 203
What You Should Test 204
Study Drills 204
Common Student Questions 204

Exercise 50: Your First Website 206
Installing lpthw.web 206
Make a Simple "Hello World" Project 207
What's Going On? 208
Fixing Errors 209
Create Basic Templates 209
Study Drills 211
Common Student Questions 211

Exercise 51: Getting Input from a Browser 214
How the Web Works 214
How Forms Work 216
Creating HTML Forms 218
Creating a Layout Template 220
Writing Automated Tests for Forms 221
Study Drills 223
Common Student Questions 224

Exercise 52: The Start of Your Web Game 226
Refactoring the Exercise 43 Game 226
Sessions and Tracking Users 231
Creating an Engine 232
Your Final Exam 235
Common Student Questions 236

Next Steps 237
How to Learn Any Programming Language 238

Advice from an Old Programmer 241

Appendix: Command Line Crash Course 243
Introduction: Shut Up and Shell 243
Exercise 1: The Setup 245
Exercise 2: Paths, Folders, Directories (pwd) 248
Exercise 3: If You Get Lost 250
Exercise 4: Make a Directory (mkdir) 250
Exercise 5: Change Directory (cd) 252
Exercise 6: List Directory (ls) 256
Exercise 7: Remove Directory (rmdir) 260
Exercise 8: Move Around (pushd, popd) 262
Exercise 9: Make Empty Files (Touch, New-Item) 265
Exercise 10: Copy a File (cp) 266
Exercise 11: Move a File (mv) 269
Exercise 12: View a File (less, MORE) 271
Exercise 13: Stream a File (cat) 272
Exercise 14: Remove a File (rm) 273
Exercise 15: Exit Your Terminal (exit) 275
Command Line Next Steps 276

Index 279

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Learn Python the Hard Way: A Very Simple Introduction to the Terrifyingly Beautiful World of Computers and Code 3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 5 reviews.
yenic More than 1 year ago
I'm a child of the 80s and wanted to be a programmer my entire life, started using BASIC on a Commodore128, moved to a 286 and all the way through. I saw it all, and used most programming languages but nothing ever really clicked with me until I found LPTHW. It really filled in the gaps for me. This after high school and college courses on VB6 and self study on C# and Java in the early 2000s. The author teaches you the right habits from day 1. Use a text editor, use the console, read and type in your code. The hard way IS the easy way! I worked through this book and purchased the videos, best ~$30 investment I ever made in tech. I now follow the author and his new works, which are always a cut above the rest. If there is a mistake, this author will go back, admit it and fix it. This text has been proven online for years where this process has been done over and over. It's basically perfect at this point. HIGHLY recommended to work through no matter what programming proficiency level you may be at. If you whip through it in 30 minutes, great, but I bet you'll find something that you've missed for years this whole time. For versions, well, let me just say I have enough experience to assure you that sometimes the "latest version" of a programming language is not in your best interest. It is not like having an updated version of your web browser or smartphone OS. I'm not going to go into why here, but it's a fact it's not the same thing. It's a big tradeoff. The author has done everything here in the best interest of you, the reader. I have many programming books and this one is the best. Get it!
Russ_B More than 1 year ago
One reviewer is knocking this because Zed isn't using IDLE. When you enter the wild world of programming, IDLE is not going to be in your workflow, so dismiss it now. I have been around the block a few times, and read this several years back. It quickly became the go to book for new programmers in our shop. His other books as just as good, so check them out as well. I used to assign his CLI book to newer coders as well. I also would like to ask a reviewer to share her magic book updating code (the one that changes version numbers in physical books) on GitHub. I could fork that and make millions. Check out his website, which he keeps things fresh. And sorry some people had to actually type out the code... How terrible it must be to actually have to code the code. Nothing infuriates me more than someone who approaches anything as a whiner. For everyone else, Zed approaches coding straightforward, unapologetic, and clear. He has multiple websites filled with all sorts of resources to get you going, if programming is really what you want to do. I highly recommend his style of teaching. You will get a brief run down of the lesson, some examples, then homework. He will ask you, each section, to improve the code or extend it and it's on you to figure it out. There is nothing more inspiring for young and veteran programmers than working something out and seeing it work. My daughter is about to start her journey into Python, and rest assured she is starting here. Thanks Zed!
Pythonista More than 1 year ago
If you're a beginner do not buy Zed Shaw's book. He only teaches python 2 and is directly working against the python community by not helping developers move to python 3. His arguments for the use of python 2 over python 3 don't hold water. If you look at the core python docs and every where else python 3 is the way forward. He just wants you to think Python 2 is the way so he can keep squeezing money from an out of date book. If you're an experienced developer, you know deprecation is thing that happens in all programming languages. You know handling UTF-8 and unicode strings properly is a good thing, especially if you have to deal with not latin character sets (cyrillic, japanese, korean, thai, chinese) Don't listen to this guy or buy his book. Go find something that will teach you python 3.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Sarah56 More than 1 year ago
The author has some good ideas on coding in Python. For starters, he expects the reader to write down the code examples from his book, not copy and paste. But.......even though the author has 20+ years experience, he is old-school. This book does not use the more recent Python release and he doesn't use the IDLE for coding, which is much easier to use in my opinion. That's also what we use in class. I returned it back to the store the next day, that's how unimpressed I was with it.