<pre>Author/s : Mark Pilgrim Publisher : Apress Category :Other Review by : Lasse Koskela Rating : 9 horseshoes</pre> This was my first foray into Python. That is, beyond what I had picked up from random articles on the Web over the years. As a complete newbie to the language, I most certainly valued the approach employed and I constantly had those little thoughts like "this is the way a programming language should be taught".
Now what is this approach I'm praising here? In short, it's the good ol' get-your-hands-dirty-quick method of diving head first into actual, meaningful code to figure out what it does, why it works, and thereby figuring out new language features a couple at a time. For example, on page 11 you don't get a list of reserved words in Python or a brief history of how one programming language lead to another, but instead you get a code listing for a little program that takes a dictionary and constructs an ODBC connection string out of it. Simple? Yes, but much more interesting than seeing the syntax for a for-loop. Throughout the book, Pilgrim shows you how to use Python in parsing strings, processing XML, evaluating regular expressions, calling web services, and what not.
"Dive Into Python" is not a reference you can turn to with any Python question imaginable. Instead, it's a very effective tutorial and overview of what (and how) you can do with Python.