Review: Python Crash Course

Review: Python Crash Course

Originally published at https://letslearnabout.net on August 27, 2019.

Image for postPython Crash Course

If you need to learn Python as fast as possible, look no further. Python Crash Course is written so newcomers in Python can start writing their own programs in no time.

Learn the basics of programming quickly using a project-based way of learning, so you can focus on building the things you want: Websites, data visualization, web applications or even programming a Raspberry Pi.

Introduction ? What is Python Crash Course?

Image for postEric Matthes (on the left) the author of Python Crash Course

Python Crash Course is the best selling Python book in the world. Period.

Eric Matthes?s ?Python Crash Course? has hit its second edition, making it one of the best books that serve as a direct introduction to the basics of Python programming.

Without fluff nor unnecessary information that can confuse (and scare) newcomers, this book style is direct and problem-solving. Real-world, problem?solving.

The book ? Is Python Crash Course good?

Image for postNo Starch Press, its publishing company

Python Crash Course will make you familiar with Python in no time.

While learning very well a language will take months (well, years?), this book speeds up your learning process by providing a solid foundation in general programming concepts by using Python.

Part I: Basics

Learning what variables are, simple data structures, if statements, user input, while loops, classes and functions, how to read and write files?

Everything that is basic in Python is covered in its own chapter.

At the start of each one, we have a brief explanation of what this chapter is going to cover and what we are going to learn.

And then we jump to the code. Not too much, just a few lines as an example. And then we go back to theory, just to go back to coding again in the next paragraph.

This book uses a style that I love: Intertwining theory and coding so the user learns and code at the same time. No boring 7 pages of theory before the first print. No coding without an explanation of what are we looking at.

You learn while you code, and you code while you learn.

Then, exercises.

Image for postTheory ? Code ? Exercises

After a few pages, you have a ?Try it yourself? section that reinforces what you have learnt, as pushes the reader out of your own comfort zone by making you solve problems.

I love books like this because it is the perfect blend of learning, coding and coding on your own. That makes it fun to read. And fun to learn Python.

Make no mistake: Learning is hard, but when it is fun to do, we push ourselves to learn even more. And this book is successful in doing that.

Part II: Projects

After all the first part of Python Basics, the book goes into the second part: Projects.

No more time for theory: now we are building real things.

A video-game with PyGame, a website with Django and a bit of Data Visualization with mathplotlib are the projects we will build on the second part of the book.

Going beyond the basics, creating real projects.

Image for postCreating Data Visualization with Mathplotlib

And real ones. Not small problems such as ?Iterate over all the numbers from 0 to 100 and print only the ones that divided by 5 or 3 returns 0?.

No, we build real things.

For example, I use Django, a Python-based web framework at my job. In fact, it is my favourite framework.

How many beginner books do that?

So, answering the topic of this question: Yes, Python Crash Course is a good book. A ver good one.

Pros and Cons

Pros

  • A really good book for beginners. It teaches you, doesn?t bore you and more important: It makes learning an enjoyable experience
  • Nails perfectly the balance between teaching, coding and making the reader code on its own.
  • Its current edition it?s the second one. This is the most sold book. It is not by chance.
  • Meaningful projects (well, maybe you won?t code a Counter-Strike or The Witcher 3 with PyGame) that have real-life applications.

Cons

  • A bit shallow. It gives you an approach to most topics but doesn?t go deep. So if you are a beginner you?re golden, but if you are experienced, this book is not for you.
  • By 40$, it may seem a bit pricey compared to other books.
  • The PyGame project may be interesting for young people, but older people learning Python to build what they want or because it is required at work may get bored.

Conclusion

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Python Crash Course is a great book, perfect to learn Python basics and something else in record time.

Aimed at newcomers to the programming world, specially young people, it keeps you interested on learning more and more.

Initially I wanted to do one chapter per day. I ended doing the basics (11 chapters) in a week or less.

If you are looking for a book to start coding in Python, look no more: Python Crash Course is one of your best options.

Python Crash Course: https://nostarch.com/pythoncrashcourse2e

No Starch Press Catalog: https://nostarch.com/catalog.htm

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