Python Essential Reference

David M. Beazley

New Riders 2000
A book review by Danny Yee © 2000
The Python Essential Reference contains an 85 page survey of the core Python programming language, 160 pages describing the more widely used modules in the Python library ("Appendix A"), and 30 pages on extending and embedding Python ("Appendix B"). The first section has some examples and explanation, but tends to the concise rather than the discursive and is not suitable for learning Python from (except perhaps for experienced programmers). The second covers much the same material as the online Library Reference that comes with Python, generally trading completeness for usability. So the explanation of the rfc822 module, to take a random example, is clearer than that in the Library Reference but doesn't mention some of the overrides, public instance variables, and more obscure methods; it also adds a brief example and cross-references to related modules.

Some will appreciate having a choice of explanations, or the extra examples and explanations the Python Essential Reference provides. Given that the online documentation is functionally very similar, however, I suspect that only those with a preference for printed documentation will end up using it as a reference. The volume is attractively laid out, with the only possible problem for some being the small font.

February 2000

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%T Python Essential Reference
%A Beazley, David M.
%I New Riders
%D 2000
%O paperback
%G ISBN 0735709017
%P 319pp