Thout Bytes

Posted by Swaroop C H on March 22, 2005 Filed under: byte-of-python, python, tech

OSoft, Inc. have released my book 'A Byte of Python' in Thout format. There are two aspects of Thout - one is that the Thout format is based on XHTML and second, the Thout reader software (similar to Windows .chm Help Viewer) is available for all the major platforms. I am excited about this because Thout provides some very cool functionality - for example, users will soon be able to "upload/download public notes that are placed at the point in the documentation the comment refers to".

There are currently three Python books in Thout format at the OSoft website - the official Python documentation, my book and 'Dive Into Python'. There are lots of books in the other categories as well.

Btw, Thout software is OSI-certified open source, so it's good to know that the Thout format itself is implicitly open as well.


MR. Inquisitive says:

Why do we need yet another introductory book on Python?
There are already so many out there, and several are free online books.

Does anyone ever think about writing an ADVANCED python application book ?

Swaroop C H says:

Mr. Inquisitive: I started writing this book nearly 2 years ago when I was looking for a good online book and I didn't like the existing ones.

I am interested in hearing what you would like to see in an 'advanced' python book?

Blake Winton says:

I'm not Mr. I, but I'ld like to see stuff on generators, list comprehensions, decorators, lambdas (quickly, while they're still in the language! ;), metaclasses, extending, embedding (and the limitations thereof), and when and where you would use these things.

Doing some case studies on well-designed (or perhaps poorly-designed, for the humour value, and because it's often more useful to see what doesn't work, so as to know what to avoid) applications written in Python would be a good advanced book topic as well, if potentially inflammatory. Perhaps going through the standard library and critiquing its design would be recieved better.

A book dedicated to writing a compiler for Python 2.4 that output Java bytecodes could be a fascinating read, and would touch on many advanced topics. Along those lines, python versions of the algorithms in the Knuth books, along with commentary, might also be useful for the advanced programmer.

Or you could aim for the professional programmer, and show how to use Python in a commercial setting. How it interacts with version control, how to slip it in to your organization under the radar, that sort of thing. (I, for instance, got Python in the door by using it to build tools to help our build tools. My boss didn't care, as long as I provided him an .exe that worked.)

Swaroop C H says:

Hi Blake, thank you for your valuable comments. Those are interesting topics indeed. It has started some thoughts...


There's no comment box, but please do email me or tweet me your thoughts and criticisms, and I will publish the relevant ones here.