Python: Pocket Reference (Pocket Reference (O'Reilly))

Category: Programming
Author: Mark Lutz
This Month Stack Overflow 1


by anonymous   2019-01-13

I've recently had to make a similar transition for work reasons, and it's been pretty painful. For better or worse, Python has a very different philosophy and way of working than Perl, and getting used to that can be frustrating. The things I've found most useful have been

  • Spend a few hours going through all the basics. I found the official tutorial quite good, if a little dry.
  • A good reference book to look up basic stuff ("how do I get the length of a string again?"). The ones I've found most useful are the Python Pocket Reference and Python Essential Reference.
  • Take a look at this handy Perl<->Python phrasebook (common tasks, side by side, in both languages).
  • A reference for the Python approach to "common tasks". I use the Python Cookbook.
  • An ipython terminal open at all times to test syntax, introspect object methods etc.
  • Get pip and easy-install (to install Python modules easily).
  • Learn about unit tests fast. This is because without use strict you will feel crippled, and you will make many elementary mistakes which will appear as runtime errors. I recommend nose rather than the unittest framework that comes with the core install. unittest is very verbose if you're used to Test::More.
  • Check out Python questions on Stack Overflow. In particular, Python - Things one MUST avoid and Python 2.x gotcha’s and landmines are well worth a read.

Personally, I found Dive Into Python annoying and patronising, but it's freely available online, so you can form your own judgment on that.