Progressing with Python

cover of invent with python book

free ebook for learning Python

I’ve been steadily working through Python resources, going back to the udacity course to consolidate the basics.  It’s reassuring to realise that I’m understanding the code more and more easily, making fewer mistakes and seeing the different solutions.  I have also discovered that it’s better to step away from the computer and write an algorithm first, starting with plain language and gradually converting it closer and closer to the Python equivalents.

So far I’ve been working in Python 2, which is the version my current resources are written for, but I did take a look this afternoon at another resource, which is a free ebook introducing Python via games.  In fact there’s two books under that link, and both seem very well written and accessible.  I’ve only looked at the first so far, which starts with basic text-based games.  However, it develops quickly into games like Hangman, Tic-Tac-Toe and Reversi, showing that a lot can be achieved even with basic programming ability, if you’re prepared to break it down carefully into sections and approach it logically.  It then introduces pygame, a module that allows for graphic display, and is the same module that the other book introduced with the skiing game.  This book is written for Python 3, and contains several warnings at the beginning that the listings will not work in Python 2, but an appendix at the end explains the main differences between the two versions, at least as far as the listings in the book are concerned, and they do not seem that much of a problem – mainly a slight difference in print and input commands.

The book also gives details of a utility called py2exe, which will compile the python programs into executables so they can be run without Python being installed, and claims that will only work with Python 2, so I really don’t think there’s any big issue between choosing the two versions.

It was a sobering moment to realise that while I feel limited by the tools I’ve learnt so far for programming, back when I first learned it we were far more limited.  No proper graphics, purely block graphics, not even colour or sound on my Sinclair ZX81, and the games back then were of course nothing compared to those of today, but were still enough to keep us amused for hours on end.

It really is time I stopped making excuses and started really focusing on using my coding skills.  One thing I’m learning through this summer is that people are out there making things and creating their own work, and the only thing stopping me from being one of them is me.  The only way to improve a skill is to work on it.  And it’s really time I stopped saying that and got on with it.  So I’m off to do some coding, cya later.

 

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About emmyleigh
Writer/editor/proofreader who loves technology

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