Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Raspberry Pi Journal #33

Learning Python

The Raspberry Pi device was conceived as educational enabler device. Part of the target audience was kids. That's why it has Scratch programming on it. Also, the official programming language is Python. In fact, that's the "Pi" in Raspberry Pi.

So, after I built the LCD Display kit, it's time for me to learn Python programming. My chosen language was actually Perl, since it's so easy to write in it. But since the official language is Python, I guess I should learn it.

The book I chose is O'Reilly Learning Python. O'Reilly books are consistently high quality. Very few is sub par. So, if I am to buy a learning book sight unseen, it's O'Reilly.

You can see the the picture is that of a rat. Where's the snake? Sorry. That's another book: Programming Python. About the same size and price of this book. The price? $70 with tax. The size? 1500 pages.

Ahem. 1500 pages. Are you nuts? Is that one book? Don't you think, like maybe, it's better to split it into 3 books? After all, isn't that what Prof. Donald Knuth did with his book? Oh, and the other book is the same size?

That makes it 3000 pages total. And remember, Raspberry Pi is designed to teach kids how to program. Somehow, no matter how hard I try, I just can't imagine kids would be wanting to pick this book up, much less two of them.

I must be getting old. It used to be that I can devour such book in a couple of days. So far, because of other commitments, I managed to read 300 pages into it. And learned different object types.

300 pages to explain the different object types.

470 pages will give you loops.

I admit that the book provides an excellent foundation of how Python works. But 300 pages? It deals with the powerful flexibility that Python have that lets you handle complexities with ease. Except, I don't want to go there. I have yet to see source code that maximized the full potential of the language.

I still remember that Learning Perl and Programming Perl book combined is less that this book. I guess it just goes to show you that today's computer, and programming language, is very powerful indeed.

But still, are you sure you want to foist this ultra powerful programming language to kids, even if they have Scratch programming background?

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