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Three Thousand Questions and Answers Show What Python Programmers Really Want

May 23, 2001

Sebastopol, CA--Python expert Fredrik Lundh has spent hundreds of hours in recent years answering questions posted by programmers on the popular Python newsgroup, comp.lang.python. Python, known for its clean syntax and object orientation, is a modular language that imports most useful functions from the extensive library of programming modules that is distributed with the language. These modules are a collection of commonly used procedures that can be pasted into a Python script rather than written from scratch. In his just-released book, Python Standard Library, (O'Reilly, US $29.95), Lundh provides tested, accurate documentation of all the modules in the Python Standard Library, along with more than 300 annotated example scripts using the modules, based on the author's work with thousands of questions and answers from the Python newsgroup.

Python Standard Library distills the best parts from over 3,000 newsgroup messages. As Lundh explains in the preface of his book, "Maybe someone found a module that might be exactly what he wanted, but he couldn't really figure out how to use it. Maybe someone had picked the wrong module for the task. Or maybe someone tried to reinvent the wheel. Often, a short sample script could be much more helpful than a pointer to the reference documentation."

Lundh's specialty is providing short sample scripts that demonstrate the use of a module in a way that programmers can understand. Lundh explains, "I've worked hard to make the scripts both understandable and adaptable. I've intentionally kept the annotations as short as possible. If you want more background, there's plenty of reference material shipped with most Python distributions. In this book, the emphasis is on the code."

Lundh's book is a no-nonsense, no-fluff reference work for the serious Python programmer. Python Standard Library documents all the new modules and related information for Python 2.0, the first new major release of Python in four years, including:

  • All major forms of data representation
  • Support for threads and pipes
  • All important file formats, including XML and HTML
  • Support for major Internet applications like mail (MIME) and news
  • Database and persistent storage

Fredrik Lundh, an active member of the Python community and a frequent contributor to the Python newsgroups, is an expert on the use of Python with images and graphics and is the creator of the Python Imaging Library (PIL). Lundh is a principal of Secret Labs, Inc. the creators of PythonWorks, and integrated development environment (IDE) for Python.

Online Resources:

Python Standard Library
By Fredrik Lundh
May 2001
ISBN 0-596-00096-0, 281 pages, $29.95 (US)

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