6 April 2014

You and me.

Codecademy sweeps you off your feet. At least, as you might have guessed in the last post (sorry for the hiatus), it swept me off my feet. But you need a quiet bedroom to rest after the most amazing party, to regain the strength you need to plan the next one.

Welcome to Python for you and me.

Take a seat. A cup of tea, possibly caffeine-free. Reorganise what’s your mind has devoured.

The topics are already there for you, clearly subdivided into short chapters. Nothing too theoretical, mostly to-the-point examples that will immediately bring back to your mind what you’ve studied, or make you wish to learn more about something you haven’t seen before.

It’s great if you want to revise the very basics. It’s even better if you’ve never met the topic: you are likely to get the general idea of it, the sketch of a map to help you not to get lost when you will bring your study to the next level.

That’s basically the best and the worst about Python for you and me: it’s simple. It’s unthreatening, in the best meaning of the word, so you don’t spin into "I’ll never get this!" mode. But you must be wary of complacency. You read a chapter, then the other, then the next: everything is calm and quiet. So quiet that you don’t check if you really understood what you read. The code samples are simple. (I just tried to say the last sentence out loud, my tongue is tied in a knot. Let’s move on.) The lack of exercises is tempting you into not challenging yourself.

I love Python for you and me. It’s the reference text to keep on your (metaphorical) bedside table: you revise your background, you go back and forth a few chapter to get some context, you check your general position. It’s the perfect companion for Codecademy or Learn Python the Hard Way: I suggest a combination with the latter if you like the Hard Way and you don’t mind (or even enjoy) being taken between two opposite poles; if you like a more playful or relaxed approach, I would pair with the former.

Last but not least: don’t underestimate how far the book will take you. Under the unassuming look you will find an amazing guide to PEP 8 guidelines, a great introduction to testing (and since you will already be nervous because if test will fail, the relaxed approach of Python for you and me will be a real help), the basis of structuring and releasing a project (and since you will already be self-conscious of the big step, the Python for you and me style will put you at ease).

All in all: a fantastic resource. The soft bed from which you rise so much more rested, before moving on to the next level.

And now, on to the next level.