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A Byte of Python

Table of contents
Chapter One. About Python
1.1 - Story behind the name
1.2 - Features of Python
1.3 - Python 3 versus 2
1.4 - What Programmers Say
Chapter Two. Installation
2.1 - Installation on Windows
2.2 - Installation on Mac OS X
2.3 - Installation on GNU/Linux
2.4 - Summary
Chapter Three. First Steps
3.1 - Using The Interpreter Prompt
3.2 - Choosing An Editor
3.3 - PyCharm
3.4 - Vim
3.5 - Emacs
3.6 - Using A Source File
3.7 - Getting Help
3.8 - Summary
Chapter Four. Basics
4.1 - Comments
4.2 - Literal Constants
4.3 - Numbers
4.4 - Strings
4.5 - Variable
4.6 - Identifier Naming
4.7 - Data Types
4.8 - Object
4.9 - How to write Python programs
4.10 - Logical and Physical Line
4.11 - Indentation
4.12 - Summary
Chapter Five. Operators and Expressions
5.1 - Operators
5.2 - Shortcut for math operation and assignment
5.3 - Evaluation Order
5.4 - Changing the Order Of Evaluation
5.5 - Associativity
5.6 - Expressions
5.7 - Summary
Chapter Six. Control Flow
6.1 - The if Statement
6.2 - The while Statement
6.3 - The for loop
6.4 - The break Statement
6.5 - The continue Statement
6.6 - Summary
Chapter Seven. Functions
7.1 - Function Parameters
7.2 - Local Variables
7.3 - The global statement
7.4 - Default Argument Values
7.5 - Keyword Arguments
7.6 - VarArgs parameters
7.7 - The return Statement
7.8 - DocStrings
7.9 - Summary
Chapter Eight. Modules
8.1 - Byte-compiled .pyc files
8.2 - The from..import statement
8.3 - A module's __name__
8.4 - Making Your Own Modules
8.5 - The dir function
8.6 - Packages
8.7 - Summary
Chapter Nine. Data Structures
9.1 - List
9.2 - Quick Introduction To Objects And Classes
9.3 - Tuple
9.4 - Dictionary
9.5 - Sequence
9.6 - Set
9.7 - References
9.8 - More About Strings
9.9 - Summary
Chapter Ten. Problem Solving
10.1 - The Problem
10.2 - The Solution
10.3 - Second Version
10.4 - Third Version
10.5 - Fourth Version
10.6 - More Refinements
10.7 - The Software Development Process
10.8 - Summary
Chapter Eleven. Object Oriented Programming
11.1 - The self
11.2 - Classes
11.3 - Methods
11.4 - The __init__ method
11.5 - Class and Object Variables
11.6 - Inheritance
11.7 - Summary
Chapter Twelve. Input and Output
12.1 - Input from user
12.2 - Files
12.3 - Pickle
12.4 - Unicode
12.5 - Summary
Chapter Thirteen. Exceptions
13.1 - Errors
13.2 - Exceptions
13.3 - Handling Exceptions
13.4 - Raising Exceptions
13.5 - Try ... Finally
13.6 - The with Statement
13.7 - Summary
Chapter Fourteen. Standard Library
14.1 - Sys module
14.2 - Logging module
14.3 - Module of the Week Series
14.4 - Summary
Chapter Fifteen. More
15.1 - Passing tuples around
15.2 - Special Methods
15.3 - Single Statement Blocks
15.4 - Lambda Forms
15.5 - List Comprehension
15.6 - Receiving Tuples and Dictionaries in Functions
15.7 - The assert Statement
15.8 - Decorators
15.9 - Differences between Python 2 and Python 3
15.10 - Summary
Chapter Sixteen. What Next
16.1 - Next Projects
16.2 - Example Code
16.3 - Advice
16.4 - Videos
16.5 - Questions and Answers
16.6 - Tutorials
16.7 - Discussion
16.8 - News
16.9 - Installing libraries
16.10 - Creating a Website
16.11 - Graphical Software
16.12 - Various Implementations
16.13 - Functional Programming (for advanced readers)
16.14 - Summary
Chapter Seventeen. Appendix: FLOSS
Chapter Eighteen. Appendix: Colophon
18.1 - Birth of the Book
18.2 - Teenage Years
18.3 - Now
18.4 - About the Author
Chapter Nineteen. Appendix: History Lesson
19.1 - Status Of The Book
19.2 - Revision History
Chapter Twenty. Appendix: Translations
Chapter Twenty-one. Appendix: Translation How-to
Chapter Twenty-two. Feedback
A Byte of Python
1st Edition
Swaroop C. H.
Swaroop C H
Table Of Contents
  • Introduction - A Byte of Python
  • Chapter One - About Python
    • 1.1 - Story behind the name
    • 1.2 - Features of Python
    • 1.3 - Python 3 versus 2
    • 1.4 - What Programmers Say
  • Chapter Two - Installation
    • 2.1 - Installation on Windows
    • 2.2 - Installation on Mac OS X
    • 2.3 - Installation on GNU/Linux
    • 2.4 - Summary
  • Chapter Three - First Steps
    • 3.1 - Using The Interpreter Prompt
    • 3.2 - Choosing An Editor
    • 3.3 - PyCharm
    • 3.4 - Vim
    • 3.5 - Emacs
    • 3.6 - Using A Source File
    • 3.7 - Getting Help
    • 3.8 - Summary
  • Chapter Four - Basics
    • 4.1 - Comments
    • 4.2 - Literal Constants
    • 4.3 - Numbers
    • 4.4 - Strings
    • 4.5 - Variable
    • 4.6 - Identifier Naming
    • 4.7 - Data Types
    • 4.8 - Object
    • 4.9 - How to write Python programs
    • 4.10 - Logical and Physical Line
    • 4.11 - Indentation
    • 4.12 - Summary
  • Chapter Five - Operators and Expressions
    • 5.1 - Operators
    • 5.2 - Shortcut for math operation and assignment
    • 5.3 - Evaluation Order
    • 5.4 - Changing the Order Of Evaluation
    • 5.5 - Associativity
    • 5.6 - Expressions
    • 5.7 - Summary
  • Chapter Six - Control Flow
    • 6.1 - The if Statement
    • 6.2 - The while Statement
    • 6.3 - The for loop
    • 6.4 - The break Statement
    • 6.5 - The continue Statement
    • 6.6 - Summary
  • Chapter Seven - Functions
    • 7.1 - Function Parameters
    • 7.2 - Local Variables
    • 7.3 - The global statement
    • 7.4 - Default Argument Values
    • 7.5 - Keyword Arguments
    • 7.6 - VarArgs parameters
    • 7.7 - The return Statement
    • 7.8 - DocStrings
    • 7.9 - Summary
  • Chapter Eight - Modules
    • 8.1 - Byte-compiled .pyc files
    • 8.2 - The from..import statement
    • 8.3 - A module's __name__
    • 8.4 - Making Your Own Modules
    • 8.5 - The dir function
    • 8.6 - Packages
    • 8.7 - Summary
  • Chapter Nine - Data Structures
    • 9.1 - List
    • 9.2 - Quick Introduction To Objects And Classes
    • 9.3 - Tuple
    • 9.4 - Dictionary
    • 9.5 - Sequence
    • 9.6 - Set
    • 9.7 - References
    • 9.8 - More About Strings
    • 9.9 - Summary
  • Chapter Ten - Problem Solving
    • 10.1 - The Problem
    • 10.2 - The Solution
    • 10.3 - Second Version
    • 10.4 - Third Version
    • 10.5 - Fourth Version
    • 10.6 - More Refinements
    • 10.7 - The Software Development Process
    • 10.8 - Summary
  • Chapter Eleven - Object Oriented Programming
    • 11.1 - The self
    • 11.2 - Classes
    • 11.3 - Methods
    • 11.4 - The __init__ method
    • 11.5 - Class and Object Variables
    • 11.6 - Inheritance
    • 11.7 - Summary
  • Chapter Twelve - Input and Output
    • 12.1 - Input from user
    • 12.2 - Files
    • 12.3 - Pickle
    • 12.4 - Unicode
    • 12.5 - Summary
  • Chapter Thirteen - Exceptions
    • 13.1 - Errors
    • 13.2 - Exceptions
    • 13.3 - Handling Exceptions
    • 13.4 - Raising Exceptions
    • 13.5 - Try ... Finally
    • 13.6 - The with Statement
    • 13.7 - Summary
  • Chapter Fourteen - Standard Library
    • 14.1 - Sys module
    • 14.2 - Logging module
    • 14.3 - Module of the Week Series
    • 14.4 - Summary
  • Chapter Fifteen - More
    • 15.1 - Passing tuples around
    • 15.2 - Special Methods
    • 15.3 - Single Statement Blocks
    • 15.4 - Lambda Forms
    • 15.5 - List Comprehension
    • 15.6 - Receiving Tuples and Dictionaries in Functions
    • 15.7 - The assert Statement
    • 15.8 - Decorators
    • 15.9 - Differences between Python 2 and Python 3
    • 15.10 - Summary
  • Chapter Sixteen - What Next
    • 16.1 - Next Projects
    • 16.2 - Example Code
    • 16.3 - Advice
    • 16.4 - Videos
    • 16.5 - Questions and Answers
    • 16.6 - Tutorials
    • 16.7 - Discussion
    • 16.8 - News
    • 16.9 - Installing libraries
    • 16.10 - Creating a Website
    • 16.11 - Graphical Software
    • 16.12 - Various Implementations
    • 16.13 - Functional Programming (for advanced readers)
    • 16.14 - Summary
  • Chapter Seventeen - Appendix: FLOSS
  • Chapter Eighteen - Appendix: Colophon
    • 18.1 - Birth of the Book
    • 18.2 - Teenage Years
    • 18.3 - Now
    • 18.4 - About the Author
  • Chapter Nineteen - Appendix: History Lesson
    • 19.1 - Status Of The Book
    • 19.2 - Revision History
  • Chapter Twenty - Appendix: Translations
  • Chapter Twenty-one - Appendix: Translation How-to
  • Chapter Twenty-two - Feedback
Introduction
A Byte of Python

 

A Byte of Python

'A Byte of Python' is a free book on programming using the Python language. It serves as a tutorial or guide to the Python language for a beginner audience. If all you know about computers is how to save text files, then this is the book for you.

 

For Python version 3

This book will teach you to use Python version 3. There will also be guidance for you to adapt to the older and more common Python version 2 in the book.

 

Who reads A Byte of Python?

Here are what people are saying about the book:

This is the best beginner's tutorial I've ever seen! Thank you for your effort. -- Walt Michalik

The best thing i found was 'A Byte of Python', which is simply a brilliant book for a beginner. It's well written, the concepts are well explained with self evident examples. -- Joshua Robin

Excellent gentle introduction to programming #Python for beginners -- Shan Rajasekaran

Best newbie guide to python -- Nickson Kaigi

start to love python with every single page read -- Herbert Feutl

perfect beginners guide for python, will give u key to unlock magical world of python -- Dilip

I should be doing my actual 'work' but just found 'A Byte of Python'. A great guide with great examples. -- Biologist John

Recently started reading a Byte of python. Awesome work. And that too for free. Highly recommended for aspiring pythonistas. -- Mangesh

A Byte of Python, written by Swaroop. (this is the book I'm currently reading). Probably the best to start with, and probably the best in the world for every newbie or even a more experienced user. -- Apostolos

Enjoying Reading #ByteOfPython by @swaroopch best book ever -- Yuvraj Sharma

Thank you so much for writing A Byte Of Python. I just started learning how to code two days ago and I'm already building some simple games. Your guide has been a dream and I just wanted to let you know how valuable it has been. -- Franklin

I'm from Dayanandasagar College of Engineering (7th sem, CSE). Firstly i want to say that your book 'The byte of python' is too good a book for a beginner in python like me.The concepts are so well explained with simple examples that helped me to easily learn python. Thank you so much. -- Madhura

I am a 18 year old IT student studying at University in Ireland. I would like to express my gratitude to you for writing your book 'A Byte of Python', I already had knowledge of 3 programming langagues - C, Java and Javascript, and Python was by far the easiest langague I have ever learned, and that was mainly because your book was fantastic and made learning python very simple and interesting. It is one of the best written and easy to follow programming books I have ever read. Congratulations and keep up the great work. -- Matt

Hi, I'm from Dominican Republic. My name is Pavel, recently I read your book A Byte of Python and I consider it excellent!! :). I learnt much from all the examples. Your book is of great help for newbies like me... -- Pavel Simo

I am a student from China, Now ,I have read you book A byte of Python, Oh it's beautiful. The book is very simple but can help all the first learnners. You know I am interesting in Java and cloud computing many times, i have to coding programm for the server, so i think python is a good choice, finish your book, i think its not only a good choice its must use the Python. My English is not very well, the email to you, i just wanna thank you! Best Wishes for you and your family. -- Roy Lau

I recently finished reading Byte of Python, and I thought I really ought to thank you. I was very sad to reach the final pages as I now have to go back to dull, tedious oreilly or etc. manuals for learning about python. Anyway, I really appreciate your book.Samuel Young

Dear Swaroop, I am taking a class from an instructor that has no interest in teaching. We are using Learning Python, second edition, by O'Reilly. It is not a text for beginner without any programming knowledge, and an instructor that should be working in another field. Thank you very much for your book, without it I would be clueless about Python and programming. Thanks a million, you are able to break the message down to a level that beginners can understand and not everyone can. -- Joseph Duarte

I love your book! It is the greatest Python tutorial ever, and a very useful reference. Brilliant, a true masterpiece! Keep up the good work! -- Chris-André Sommerseth

First of all, I want to say thanks to you for this greate book. I think it is a good book for those who are looking for a beginner's tutorial for Python. It is about two or there years ago, I think, when I first heard of this book. At that time, I am not able to read some book in English yet, so I got a chinese translation, which took me into the gate of Python programming. Recently, I reread this book. This time, of course, the english version. I couldn't believe that I can read the whole book without my dictionary at hand. Of course, it all dues to your effort to make this book an easy-to-understand one. -- myd7349

I'm just e-mailing you to thank you for writing Byte of Python online. I had been attempting Python for a few months prior to stumbling across your book, and although I made limited success with pyGame, I never completed a program. Thanks to your simplification of the categories, Python actually seems a reachable goal. It seems like I have finally learned the foundations and I can continue into my real goal, game development. ... Once again, thanks VERY much for placing such a structured and helpful guide to basic programming on the web. It shoved me into and out of OOP with an understanding where two text books had failed. -- Matt Gallivan

I would like to thank you for your book A Byte of Python which i myself find the best way to learn python. I am a 15 year old i live in egypt my name is Ahmed. Python was my second programming language i learn visual basic 6 at school but didn't enjoy it, however i really enjoyed learning python. I made the addressbook program and i was sucessful. i will try to start make more programs and read python programs (if you could tell me source that would be helpful). I will also start on learning java and if you can tell me where to find a tutorial as good as yours for java that would help me a lot. Thanx. -- Ahmed Mohammed

A wonderful resource for beginners wanting to learn more about Python is the 110-page PDF tutorial A Byte of Python by Swaroop C H. It is well-written, easy to follow, and may be the best introduction to Python programming available. -- Drew Ames

Yesterday I got through most of Byte of Python on my Nokia N800 and it's the easiest and most concise introduction to Python I have yet encountered. Highly recommended as a starting point for learning Python. -- Jason Delport

Byte of Vim and Python by @swaroopch is by far the best works in technical writing to me. Excellent reads #FeelGoodFactor -- Surendran

'Byte of python' best one by far man (in response to the question 'Can anyone suggest a good, inexpensive resource for learning the basics of Python? ') -- Justin LoveTrue

The Book Byte of python was very helpful ..Thanks bigtime :) Chinmay

Always been a fan of A Byte of Python - made for both new and experienced programmers. -- Patrick Harrington

I started learning python few days ago from your book..thanks for such a nice book. it is so well written, you made my life easy..so you found a new fan of yours..thats me :) tons of thanks. -- Gadadhari Bheem

Before I started to learn Python, I've acquired basic programming skills in Assembly, C, C++, C# and Java. The very reason I wanted to learn Python is it's popular (people are talking about it) and powerful (reality). This book written by Mr. Swaroop is a very good guide for both brand-new programmers and new python programmers. Took 10 half days to go through it. Great Help! -- Fang Biyi (PhD Candidate ECE, Michigan State University)

Thank you ever so much for this book!! This book cleared up many questions I had about certain aspects of Python such as object oriented programming. I do not feel like an expert at OO but I know this book helped me on a first step or two. I have now written several python programs that actually do real things for me as a system administrator. They are all procedural oriented but they are small by most peoples standards. Again, thanks for this book. Thank you for having it on the web. -- Bob

I just want to thank you for writing the first book on programming I've ever really read. Python is now my first language, and I can just imagine all the possibilities. So thank you for giving me the tools to create things I never would have imagined I could do before. -- 'The Walrus'

I wanted to thank you for writing A Byte Of Python (2 & 3 Versions). It has been invaluable to my learning experience in Python & Programming in general. Needless to say, I am a beginner in the programming world, a couple of months of self study up to this point. I had been using youtube tutorials & some other online tutorials including other free books. I decided to dig into your book yesterday, & I've learned more on the first few pages than any other book or tutorial. A few things I had been confused about, were cleared right up with a GREAT example & explanation. Can't wait to read (and learn) more!! Thank you so much for not only writing the book, but for putting it under the creative commons license (free). Thank goodness there are unselfish people like you out there to help & teach the rest of us. -- Chris

I wrote you back in 2011 and I was just getting into Python and wanted to thank you for your tutorial 'A Byte of Python'. Without it, I would have fallen by the wayside. Since then I have gone on to program a number of functions in my organization with this language with yet more on the horizon. I would not call myself an advanced programmer by any stretch but I notice the occasional request for assistance now from others since I started using it. I discovered, while reading 'Byte' why I had ceased studying C and C++ and it was because the book given to me started out with an example containing an augmented assignment. Of course, there was no explanation for this arrangement of operators and I fell on my head trying to make sense of what was on the written page. As I recall it was a most frustrating exercise which I eventually abandoned. Doesn't mean C or C++ is impossible to learn, or even that I am stupid, but it does mean that the documentation I worked my way through did not define the symbols and words which is an essential part of any instruction. Just as computers will not be able to understand a computer word or computer symbol that is outside the syntax for the language being used, a student new to any field will not grasp his subject if he encounters words or symbols for which there are no definitions. You get a 'blue screen' as it were in either case. The solution is simple, though: find the word or symbol and get the proper definition or symbol and lo and behold, the computer or student can proceed. Your book was so well put together that I found very little in it I couldn't grasp. So, thank you. I encourage you to continue to include full definitions of terms. The documentation with Python is good, once you know, (the examples are its strength from what I see) but in many cases it seems that you have to know in order to understand the documentation which to my mind is not what should be. Third party tutorials express the need for clarification of the documentation and their success largely depends on the words that are used to describe the terminology. I have recommended your book to many others. Some in Australia, some in the Caribbean and yet others in the US. It fills a niche no others do. I hope you are doing well and wish you all the success in the future. -- Nick

hey, this is ankush(19). I was facing a great difficulty to start with python. I tried a lot of books but all were bulkier and not target oriented; and then i found this lovely one, which made me love python in no time. Thanks a lot for this 'beautiful piece of book'. -- Ankush

I would like to thank you for your excellent guide on Python. I am a molecular biologist (with little programming background) and for my work I need to handle big datasets of DNA sequences and to analyse microscope images. For both things, programming in python has been useful, if not essential to complete and publish a 6-years project. That such a guide is freely available is a clear sign that the forces of evil are not yet ruling the world! :) -- Luca

Since this is going to be the first language you learn, you should use A Byte of Python. It really gives a proper introduction into programming in Python and it is paced well enough for the average beginner. The most important thing from then on will be actually starting to practice making your own little programs. -- '{Unregistered}'

Just to say a loud and happy thank you very much for publishing 'A Byte of Python' and 'A Byte of Vim'. Those books were very useful to me four or five years ago when I starting learning programming. Right now I'm developing a project that was a dream for a long, long time and just want to say thank you. Keep walking. You are a source of motivation. All the best. -- Jocimar

Finished reading A byte of Python in 3 days. It is thoroughly interesting. Not a single page was boring. I want to understand the Orca screen reader code. Your book has hopefully equipped me for it. -- Dattatray

Hi, 'A byte of python' is really a good reading for python beginners. So, again, NICE WORK! i'm a 4 years experienced Java&C developer from China. Recently, i want to do some work on zim-wiki note project which uses pygtk to implement. i read your book in 6 days, and i can read and write python code examples now. thx for your contribution. plz keep your enthusiasm to make this world better, this is just a little encourage from China. -- Lee

I am Isen from Taiwan, who is a graduating PhD student in Electrical Engineering Department of National Taiwan University. I would like to thank you for your great book. I think it is not only just easy to read but also comprehensive and complete for a new comer of Python. The reason I read your book is that I am starting to work on the GNU Radio framework. Your book let me catch most of important core ideas and skill of Python with a minimum time. I also saw that you do not mind that readers send you a thank note in your book. So I really like your book and appreciate it. Thanks. -- Isen I-Chun Chao

The book is even used by NASA! It is used in their Jet Propulsion Laboratory with their Deep Space Network project.

 

Academic Courses

This book is/was being used as instructional material in various educational institutions:

 

License

This book is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

This means:

  • You are free to Share i.e. to copy, distribute and transmit this book
  • You are free to Remix i.e. to make changes to this book (especially translations)
  • You are free to use it for commercial purposes

Please note:

  • Please do not sell electronic or printed copies of the book unless you have clearly and prominently mentioned in the description that these copies are not from the original author of this book.
  • Attribution must be shown in the introductory description and front page of the document by linking back to https://python.swaroopch.com/ and clearly indicating that the original text can be fetched from this location.
  • All the code/scripts provided in this book is licensed under the 3-clause BSD License unless otherwise noted.

 

Read Now

You can read it online at https://python.swaroopch.com/

 

Buy The Book

A printed hardcopy of the book can be purchased at https://www.swaroopch.com/buybook/ for your offline reading pleasure, and to support the continued development and improvement of this book.

 

Download

Visit https://www.gitbook.com/book/swaroopch/byte-of-python/details for the following types of downloads:

Visit https://github.com/swaroopch/byte-of-python for the raw content (for suggesting corrections, changes, translating, etc.)

 

Read the book in your native language

If you are interested in reading or contributing translations of this book to other human languages, please see Translations.

Introduction.1. Dedication

To Kalyan Varma and many other seniors at PESIT who introduced us to GNU/Linux and the world of open source.

To the memory of Atul Chitnis, a friend and guide who shall be missed greatly.

To the pioneers who made the Internet happen. This book was first written in 2003. It still remains popular, thanks to the nature of sharing knowledge on the Internet as envisioned by the pioneers.

Introduction.2. Preface

Python is probably one of the few programming languages which is both simple and powerful. This is good for beginners as well as for experts, and more importantly, is fun to program with. This book aims to help you learn this wonderful language and show how to get things done quickly and painlessly - in effect 'The Anti-venom to your programming problems'.

 

Who This Book Is For

This book serves as a guide or tutorial to the Python programming language. It is mainly targeted at newbies. It is useful for experienced programmers as well.

The aim is that if all you know about computers is how to save text files, then you can learn Python from this book. If you have previous programming experience, then you can also learn Python from this book.

If you do have previous programming experience, you will be interested in the differences between Python and your favorite programming language - I have highlighted many such differences. A little warning though, Python is soon going to become your favorite programming language!

 

Official Website

The official website of the book is https://python.swaroopch.com/ where you can read the whole book online, download the latest versions of the book, buy a printed hard copy and also send me feedback.

Something To Think About

There are two ways of constructing a software design: one way is to make it so simple that there are obviously no deficiencies; the other is to make it so complicated that there are no obvious deficiencies. -- C. A. R. Hoare

Success in life is a matter not so much of talent and opportunity as of concentration and perseverance. -- C. W. Wendte

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