Re: Python For Dummies
Posted: Oct 20, 2006 12:06 AM
<<<<Such books don't make someone an expert, professional programmer,
true. Such books DO introduce the newbie to programming, and may
start them on their way to becoming expert and professional. These
books also help amateurs. Not everyone can or should become a
professional programmer. Lots of people are happy to dabble.>>>>
I agree here. The question is if readers of such books see it the same way.
What do you think of such a title: "Beginning Python: From Novice to Professional". Do you think this is a fair statement to make in a title ?
BTW: Concerning more or less funny intros i found Hetlands one to be very good (despite the title ;-) ): http://hetland.org/python/instant-python.php Got me going in 10 minutes with a small test and made me interested enough to put it on my list of potential new languages to learn.
you ever heard of "Computer Programming For Everybody" ("CP4E")?>>
Nope, reading through an essay at the moment.
I think you're overreacting and misconstruing the intent of this book.>>
This perticular book ? Might be. I havent read it afterall. I generally have problems with the way programming is presented. This one just "pulled the trigger" so to speak.
<<<<No, and any such book published would be criminally irresponsible.
But "Neurology for Dummies" might get somebody interested enough in
the subject to enroll in medical school.>>>>
Sure enough. The problem arises when they call or even only think themselves (to be) "neurologes".
<<If every book published was aimed at professionals only,
what a boring world it would be.>>
You misunderstood me here. I dont think every book should be aimed at professionals. I think books should mention the complexity of a subject fairly. That doesnt contradict the idea that they can be "easy" or that they introduce something in a funny way. It only means that if something IS complex, then people should know it and not live with the image it is a piece of cake.
> I don’t know what your problem is Kerim. Brain surgery is
> very different from programming.
Surely it is but what aspect are you speaking about exactly ?
>There is nothing wrong
> with beginning programmers.
Of course not ! Afterall i havent seen someone who didnt start from zero ;-)
> I programmed as a kid on my
> home computer and had lots of fun.
> Will you tell me that
> it is somehow immoral to write bad programs for
> entertainment at home?
No surely not. Its only bad to write bad programs for companies or in a team.
>Also, there are Excel spreadsheets
> that are a mess. Should we ban Excel too?
The analogy is false. I dont want to ban python. Actually i dont want to "ban" anything. I have a strong dislike for restrictions of freedom.
But lets stay with your example.
Who do you think makes bad excel sheets and why ?
My mother made bad excel sheets. Really bad. Not that she even saw it herself. Afterall she had read lots of books on the topic. She couldnt be wrong when doing what they said.
> Granted, if you are programming professionally you should
> probably study more than what a 21-days book can teach
> you. The problem is people in the industry that pretend 21
> days is enough to become an expert, but that is hardly the
> fault of books.
I dispute exactly the last sentence.
I have never seen anybody complain if lets say a painter takes a day to paint your house !
Nobody expects him to do it in 30 minutes.
I have seen many people (including many friends and neighbours that have no clue about computers) that complain if you cant repair their pc, fix or implement a program for them in 30 minutes.
I claim that there is an understanding in the public that more or less says "computers and computing are totally easy". I claim that this is caused by marketing and part of that marketing are books that through their very title or writing spread this impression.
I might err concerning this or that particular book and i do NOT want to claim that the book we talk about is bad (i havent read it after all). I only ranted a bit about the general problems i have with the situation at hand.
Now you state:
> And again it depends on the scale. I can
> fix a 20 line python script written by a beginner no
> matter how badly programmed without much problem. I
> absolutely don’t want to work on a 2000 line project
> architected by a beginner. As long as the skill set
> matches the project, people should leverage technology
> they have available. Python is a good language to write
> small useful scripts without the need of always going for
> a fully architected project.
Its not about python.
Let me say something about myself.
I currently work in a java project involving 3200 java sourcefiles (not counting libs, properties, c-bindings etc.)
I am not worried about a beginner as long as he is "visible" as such, not only for me but also for himself. The first thing i do when a topic arises which i dont know anything about is to shout "newbie HERE!" I am worried about folks that actually believe the idea that after a lecture of 200-500 pages they are "equal".
I think its a matter of perspective really.
I am sceptical about the message that such books transmit, especially given the relation of "its so easy" books versus "moderate" books. I dont want to ban them, i just wished there would be more awareness of the potential problems and that people know its NOT easy and fast to deliver good quality. I see it every day when i look at projects with fluctuation in the amount of people "programming".
You seem to emphasize the potential positive effect, being an increase in interest for "put the name of a language here".
I think BOTH is true, but while your point is taken for granted everywhere, mine is simply not "popular" enough to make it into the books.