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Learning Python vs. Programming Python

What is the difference between the "Learning Python" and the "Programming Python" books?
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  • Hi Guenther,

    You can find a good description of what both books are about in the Prefaces of each book. You can view these by looking at the previews of Learning Python and Programming Python on our site.

    The basic answer is:

    Learning Python teaches Python itself.
    Programming Python shows what you can do with Python after you’ve learned it.

    From the preface of Learning Python:

    This book (Learning Python) provides an introduction to the Python programming language. Python is a popular open source programming language used for both standalone programs and scripting applications in a wide variety of domains. It is free, portable, powerful, and remarkably easy and fun to use. Programmers from every corner of the software industry have found Python’s focus on developer productivity and software quality to be a strategic advantage in projects both large and small.

    Whether you are new to programming or are a professional developer, this book’s goal is to bring you quickly up to speed on the fundamentals of the core Python language.

    After reading this book (Learning Python), you will know enough about Python to apply it in whatever application domains you choose to explore.

    By design, this book is a tutorial that focuses on the core Python language itself, rather than specific applications of it. As such, it’s intended to serve as the first in a two-volume set:

    Learning Python, this book, teaches Python itself.
    Programming Python, among others, shows what you can do with Python after you’ve learned it.

    That is, applications-focused books such as Programming Python pick up where Learning Python leaves off, exploring Python’s role in common domains such as the Web, graphical user interfaces (GUIs), and databases. In addition, the book Python Pocket Reference provides additional reference materials not included here, and it is designed to supplement this book.

    I hope this is clear. Please let us know if you have any other questions.

    Regards,

    Rachel James
    O'Reilly Media, Inc.
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