Category Archives: Books

Books that I’ve read, reviewed or cited for this article

wxPython Cookbook Cover Story

I always spend some time thinking about how I want my book’s cover to look. When I was designing the Cookbook’s cover, I thought mostly about food and chefs. I had originally thought I might have some kind of kitchen scene with mice in chef hats and a snake on the mantle. But I wanted to take the idea of cooking and put a twist on it.

Instead of a kitchen, I thought of cowboys herding cattle and how they usually had a cook with them. So I went with that idea, although I didn’t have the herds of animals added to the cover.

To help differentiate the Cookbook from my previous works, I hired a different artist from my previous titles named Liza Tretyakova. You can check out some of her work on Behance or even contact her directly by email (schimmel@inbox.ru) if you happen to need a great artist.

I thought it might be fun for you to see how the cover art evolved as I worked with the artist to get my ideas for the cover turned into reality. Let’s start with the first sketch I got from Liza:

wxpython_cookbook_cover_sketch

Continue reading wxPython Cookbook Cover Story

Python 201 is Officially Published!

My second book, Python 201: Intermediate Python (ISBN: 978-0-9960628-3-1), is now finished and officially published. You can check it out at the following locations:

Python201_cover20160330_sm-237x300

The paperback will become available on Amazon and other online retailers later this week or month depending on how long it takes Lulu to get it pushed out. I am also working on creating an iBook version for iTunes, but that isn’t complete at this time.

wxPython Cookbook Sample Chapters

My newest book will be my own home brewed version of a wxPython Cookbook. If you’re interested in learning more about it, then please check out the Kickstarter campaign. The brief synopsis is that it will have a little over 50 recipes in the book and around 300 pages of content.

To help you make an informed decision about whether or not you would like to support the book, I am releasing a few sample chapters. You can download them here as a PDF. Please note that these chapters are in a beta state. I will be updating the vast majority of the book with new screenshots and updated code examples where appropriate as well as various other tweaks and enhancements.

Python 201 Releasing in 2 Weeks!

My second book, Python 201: Intermediate Python is releasing two weeks from today on September 6th, 2016. I just wanted to remind anyone who is interested that you can pre-order a signed paperback copy of the book here right up until release day. You will also receive a copy of the book in the following digital formats: PDF, EPUB and MOBI (Kindle format).

My book is also available for early release digitally on Gumroad and Leanpub.

Check out either of those links for more information!

ANN: The wxPython Cookbook Kickstarter

Several years ago, the readers of this blog asked me to take some of my articles and turn them into a cookbook on wxPython. I have finally decided to do just that. I am including over 50 recipes that I am currently editing to make them more consistent and updating them to be compatible with the latest versions of wxPython. I currently have nearly 300 pages of content!

To help fund the initial production of the book, I am doing a fun little Kickstarter campaign for the project. The money raised will be used for the unique perks offered in the campaign as well as various production costs related to the book, such as ISBN acquisition, artwork, software expenses, advertising, etc.

In case you don’t know what wxPython is, the wxPython package is a popular toolkit for creating cross platform desktop user interfaces. It works on Windows, Mac and Linux with little to no modification of your code base.

The examples in my book will work with both wxPython 3.0.2 Classic as well as wxPython Phoenix, which is the bleeding edge of wxPython that supports Python 3. If I discover any recipes that do not work with Phoenix, they will be clearly marked or there will be an alternative example given that does work.

Here is a listing of the current set of recipes in no particular order:

  • Adding / Removing Widgets Dynamically
  • How to put a background image on a panel
  • Binding Multiple Widgets to the Same Handler
  • Catching Exceptions from Anywhere
  • wxPython’s Context Managers
  • Converting wx.DateTime to Python datetime
  • Creating an About Box
  • How to Create a Login Dialog
  • How to Create a “Dark Mode”
  • Generating a Dialog from a Config File
  • How to Disable a Wizard’s Next Button
  • How to Use Drag and Drop
  • How to Drag and Drop a File From Your App to the OS
  • How to Edit Your GUI Interactively Using reload()
  • How to Embed an Image in the Title Bar
  • Extracting XML from the RichTextCtrl
  • How to Fade-in a Frame / Dialog
  • How to Fire Multiple Event Handlers
  • Making your Frame Maximize or Full Screen
  • Using wx.Frame Styles
  • Get the Event Name Instead of an Integer
  • How to Get Children Widgets from a Sizer
  • How to Use the Clipboard
  • Catching Key and Char Events
  • Learning How Focus Works in wxPython
  • Making Your Text Flash
  • Minimizing to System Tray
  • Using ObjectListView instead of ListCtrl
  • Making a Panel Self-Destruct
  • How to Switch Between Panels
  • wxPython: Using PyDispatcher instead of Pubsub
  • Creating Graphs with PyPlot
  • Redirect Python’s Logging Module to a TextCtrl
  • Redirecting stdout / stderr
  • Resetting the Background Color
  • Saving Data to a Config File
  • How to Take a Screenshot of Your wxPython App and Print it
  • Creating a Simple Notebook
  • Ensuring Only One Instance Per Frame
  • Storing Objects in ComboBox or ListBox Widgets
  • Syncing Scrolling Between Two Grids
  • Creating Taskbar Icons
  • A wx.Timer Tutorial
  • How to Update a Progress Bar from a Thread
  • Updating Your Application with Esky
  • Creating a URL Shortener
  • Using Threads in wxPython
  • How to Create a Grid in XRC
  • An Introduction to XRC

 Note: Recipe names and order are subject to change

wxpython_cookbook_final

Python 201 Writing Update: Only 4 Chapters to go!

I finished up section #4 earlier this week which brings the book up to 26 chapters and a little over 200 pages. I have four more chapters planned and then a couple of updates to previous chapters. My goal is to have the book ready for proofing at the end of the month. Then I’ll create a sample print of the book and check it over for errors.

If anyone has been reading the book and found any errors, please let me know. I’ll be finalizing the chapters in mid-August or so and would like them to be as good as they can be before then.

Thanks so much for your support!
Mike

P.S. If you’d like to purchase the early version of the book, you can do at Gumroad or Leanpub

Book Review: Python Projects for Kids

I get asked by publishers to review books from time to time. Last month, Packt asked me if I’d be willing to review for their book, Python Projects for Kids by Jessica Ingrassellino. Frankly I tend to avoid beginning Python books now because they tend to be very similar, but I thought this one might be interesting.


Quick Review

  • Why I picked it up: In this case, because Packt Publishing asked me to
  • Why I finished it: Mostly because Packt personnel badgered me to do so
  • I’d give it to: Not really sure. There are much better, more in-depth beginner books for Python out there

Continue reading Book Review: Python Projects for Kids

Book Review: Modular Programming with Python

Earlier this year or late 2015, Packt Publishing asked me to be technical reviewer for a book called “Modular Programming with Python” by Erik Westra. It sounded really interesting and it ended up being one of the best books I’ve read from Packt. Note that I am the sole technical reviewer of the book. I’m not sure why Packt went that route for this book as they normally have 2-3 reviewers, but perhaps they are trying to accelerate their writing process.


Quick Review

  • Why I picked it up: Primarily because Packt asked me to. However it really is an interesting book
  • Why I finished it: Because the book is short and very well written
  • I’d give it to: An intermediate developer who needs to brush up on their code organizational skills

Continue reading Book Review: Modular Programming with Python

Python 201 Book Writing Update: Part 1 is Ready

I’ve been busily working on my second book, Python 201: Intermediate Python. In part one of the book, there are 10 chapters. I recently finished up the last chapter for that part of the book. While I have some tweaks I want to do to a couple of the chapters in this part of the book, I’m going to leave them alone for now so I can get part 2 done. Then I’ll be going back to part 1 to do some updates. This also allows the early adopters time to read the first chapters and send me messages about typos or bugs.

For those of you who didn’t get in on the Kickstarter for the book, the first 10 chapters are as follows:

  • Chapter 1 – The argparse module
  • Chapter 2 – The collections module
  • Chapter 3 – The contextlib module (Context Managers)
  • Chapter 4 – The functools module (Function overloading, caching, etc)
  • Chapter 5 – All about imports
  • Chapter 6 – The importlib module
  • Chapter 7 – Iterators and Generators
  • Chapter 8 – The itertools module
  • Chapter 9 – The re module (An Intro to Regex in Python)
  • Chapter 10 – The typing module (Type Hinting)

There are currently 71 pages in the book so far in my Gumroad edition and over 80 pages in the Leanpub version. Leanpub is generated differently which means they use different fonts and font sizes, which is why that version has more pages.  Regardless, the book is coming along well and is still on track for a September, 2016 release!

Pre-Order Python 201 Paperback

I have decided to offer a pre-order of the paperback version of my next book. You will be able to pre-order a signed copy of the book which will ship in September, 2016. I am limiting the number of pre-orders to 100. If you’re interested in getting the book, you can do so here

Python 201 Cover