The Top Ten Things we didnt cover

You've come a long way.

But learning how to program is an activity that never stops. The more you code, the more you'll need to learn new ways to do certain things. You'll need to master new tools and new techniques, too. There's just not enough room in this book to show you everything you might possibly need to know. So, here's our list of the top ten things we didn't cover that you might want to learn more about next.

proper python

#1: Doing things "The Python Way"

Throughout this book, we have very stubbornly resisted writing code in the most correct Python Way. "That's not how a Python programmer would do it," was a familiar refrain heard from the Head First Programming technical reviewers. Without fail, and with the greatest of respect to our reviewers, we generally ignored this advice.

You see, every programming language has its preferred, tried and true, agreed, and accepted way of doing certain things, collectively known as programming idioms. And Python is no exception. This is, of course, a very good thing, because the more programmers using a particular language who follow the standard way of doing something, the better. Except, that is, when writing a book like this: one designed from the get-go to teach programming concepts.

There are times when the idiom, although very smart, can be hard to understand and even harder to explain. So, when we had a choice between showing you how to do something in a generic way over showing you how to do it the Python way, we nearly always chose the former approach over the latter. This has the effect of making some of the code in this book positively repulsive to hardened Python programmers, something that is of little concern to us, as this book isn't for them (and they have lots of other books already).

This book is for you: the reader who wants to learn how to program regardless of the programming language chosen.

Having said all that, if you now want to learn more about The Python Way, start by scanning through the booklist and book reviews maintained on the main Python website:

Learn lots about Python from Mark Lutz's classic, "Learning Python, 4th Edition," which now covers Python 3 and previow releases.

#2: Using Python 2

If you remember way back in the Readme, we stated we were using release 3 of Python in this book. Of course, there's much more to Python that just release 3, as the previous version of the language, release 2, is still very, very popular.

And rightly so. Python 2 has been around for nearly a decade and has an impressive collection of technologies built around it, including Google's App Engine, the Django Web Framework, Zope's Content Management System, and the Twisted Networking Libraries (to name just a few).

Despite all the Python 2 goodness out there, we still went with release 3 for this book and our reasoning was very simple: better to go with the future than settle on the past. The good folks that bring the world Python have stated that Python 3 is where all the cool, new stuff will happen with the language. Release 2 has entered what's known as bug-fix mode only: if something is found in 2 that is broken, it'll be fixed, but no new features will be added.

And here's the good news: there's not much difference between the code you've been writing for Python 3 and what you would write for release 2, should you find yourself in the position of needing to (perhaps as a result of needing to fix some existing Python 2 code or working with a technology that's based on Python 2).

Here are a few lines of Python 2 code that highlight some of the differences:


Python 1 d<*s not retire parentheses w>th the tall "to "print whereas Python 6 does

Python the Vaw MO" t ,,. " called "inputO". P

age = raw_input("How old are you? ") if int(age) > 30:

print "Sorry, but you're past it!"


age = raw_input("How old are you? ") if int(age) > 30:

print "Sorry, but you're past it!"


#3: Other programming languages

When it comes to teaching programming concepts, there's more than enough to cover without trying to cover multiple programming languages.

We like Python and hope over the course of this book that you've grown to like Python, too. However, if you want to explore or need to learn another programming language, there's lots of help out there. Simply going to your favorite search engine and typing in the name of your chosen programming language produces a torrent of sites offering to provide you with everything you need to know.

Two modern languages that are important are Java and C#. And guess what? If you have to learn these technologies, Head First Labs has you covered.

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Very too

Having completed this book, you can now pick up either of these books and confidently work your way through them.

Of course, if you find yourself working in a Java or C# programming environment and missing Python, don't despair. Two active projects within the Python Community integrate Python with the above programming languages and are well worth checking out (search on the project name to learn more):

Run Python Code within the Java — Virtual Machine.


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