eBook Review: Quality Python Development

Posted by Mike on May 7th, 2012 filed in Books, Python

After reviewing a couple ebooks last week, I’ve been getting asked to write reviews for several other authors. I even got an offer to write Python book reviews for another website too! Crazy. Anyway, Frederic Lepied contacted me today to review his eBook, which is available on Amazon. He sent it to me as an mobi (i.e. Kindle) file. I ended up using calibre to read it as I didn’t have Kindle software handy on the machine I was using. It’s super short at approximately 42 pages, so I read it in a single sitting. Anyway, let’s get on with the review!

Quick Review

  • Why I picked it up: Primarily because the author of the book asked me to. Yes, the author gave me a copy of the book to review.
  • Why I finished it: The book was short and refreshing in the topics it covered
  • I’d give it to: This book is for the beginner who wants to expand his skills and grow into intermediate Python programming

Book Formats

To my knowledge, this book is only available on Amazon for the Kindle, so it’s mobi all the way. If you have a device or like the Kindle software for PC/Mac, then this is fine. It weighs in at approx. 600 KB or 42 pages.

Book Contents

The book has 7 chapters:

Chapter 1 – Coding Style (mostly discusses PEP8 and pyLint)
Chapter 2 – Structuring your development tree (organizing your file structure / directory hierarchy)
Chapter 3 – Documentation (talks about reST and Sphinx)
Chapter 4 – Packaging (how to create a package with distutils and put it on PyPI)
Chapter 5 – Unit tests
Chapter 6 – Finding duplicated code (mentions TDD, teaches a little unittest stuff, mentions Foord’s mock library and also gives short a short paragraph on the Nose test framework and coverage.py)
Chapter 7 – Continuous integration (Takes the stuff from chapters 5 and 6 and combines them with Jenkins)

Review

Let’s get this out of the way first. This book was written by someone who I suspect doesn’t have English as their first language. Thus, it’s a little rough with the author writing “the codes” instead of “the code” all too often. On the other hand, I didn’t find very many mis-spelled words. The book doesn’t cover anything in depth which is kind of a shame. It does make you want to learn more though. The author mentions LOTS of different packages and their uses and I found that interesting. He doesn’t spend a bunch of time explaining the basics of Python. Instead, he focuses on getting the reader jump started into improving themselves as programmers.

I should mention that chapter 6 isn’t so much a chapter as barely a page long. Chapter 7 may be the longest and most detailed as it has lots of instructions on getting graphs to work in Jenkins so you can see how well your code measures up. I found that interesting as I keep hearing about Continuous Integration. I also found the documentation and packaging chapters quite interesting.

You can buy the book on Amazon for $4.99 or get it free if you have a real Kindle and Amazon Prime. I would definitely try it free or check out a few sample pages on Amazon. If you’re looking to get an overview of structuring your programs, testing and documentation, then this book could be right up your alley.

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  • http://www.melhaguebooksnmusic.co.uk/ Mel Hague

    I have written 3 western novels, a horror novel and a sci-fi novel all of which are available on Amazon and Kindle. My western novel TWISTED RIVER has been nominated for a Global eBook Award. If I sent you a printed copy would you be interested in reviewing it?
    Cheers
    Mel Hague author of EMPORIUM OF DEATH

  • driscollis

    Congratulations on being a successful writer! If you hadn’t noticed, this is a blog devoted to the Python programming language. I’m not sure my audience would be a good fit for one of your books. Thanks though!

  • http://www.melhaguebooksnmusic.co.uk/ Mel Hague

    I am not a spammer, I’m just a writer trying to get on.
    Mel Hague

  • Chris Worthington

    Can you recommend a book that can take someone from beginning to intermediate Python programming?

    I took some programming classes in college, and since then I’ve been reading basic books on Python. I can create loops, load modules, have a good understanding of items like __main__, etc. What would be the next step for doing something a little more serious? It’s getting a little boring reading how to take a string, reverse it, make it all caps, etc.

  • http://www.pythonlibrary.org Mike

    I think starting a mini-project is the best way to learn new stuff. Try downloading a file, create a simple FTP script that can upload a file or download a file, etc. There is “Programming Python” by Lutz and it has a lot of little projects and a couple big ones in it. That would be one way to go. “Core Python Programming” by Chun also has a lot of mini programs in it.