Monday, November 20, 2006

Python - Programming for the informationally-challenged*

One of the things I like about the Python tutorial I'm working with is that it uses the approach of taking "baby steps" towards the goal. Some books I've worked with before in computing expect you to know intuitively what things like "dictionaries" are off pat. This includes books which promise to be useful to "complete beginners" when, frankly, they often turn out to be nothing of the sort.

Of course we've all used an English dictionary - or at least those of us whose native tongue is English have! - but how does that relate to programming?!

Another thing I like about the text is that it gives you a project to work on, and you can start right away. As you progress, you learn how to go from (say) providing static data "in" the program, to inputting the data at run time, to putting the data in a list, etc. Practice makes perfect, as they say, and whilst it can be confusing to learn all the different datatypes and loops and what-not, I suspect that by the time I'm finished with the course - or perhaps after just a little bit of review and more practice - I should have a decent grasp of Python. This is something which, I have to admit, I haven't yet achieved with any language. I keep giving the credit to Alan Gauld, but I'm sure he would give at least some of it to Python itself. After all, that's the language he chose to teach "programming".

*I'm sure lots of geniuses find it useful, too!

No comments: