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Beginner's Guide to Python
New to programming? Python is free, and easy to learn if you know where to start! This guide will help you to get started quickly.
New to Python?
- Read ["BeginnersGuide/Overview"] to learn the key points.
- First, you need to get the Python interpreter installed on your computer. (This is the program that reads Python programs and carries out their instructions; you need it before you can do any Python programming.) See ["BeginnersGuide/Download"] for instructions for downloading the correct version of Python.
You'll want to select a [http://www.python.org/moin/PythonEditors text editor] that has support for Python.
Need to know how to run programs? See [http://www.python.org/doc/faq/windows.html#how-do-i-run-a-python-program-under-windows How do I Run a Program Under Windows] (Unix/Linux users are assumed, perhaps incorrectly, to be familiar with the necessary techniques).
- Next, you're going to want to read a tutorial and try some simple experiments with your new Python interpreter.
If you've never programmed before, see ["BeginnersGuide/NonProgrammers"].
- If you have previous programming experience, consult ["BeginnersGuide/Programmers"], which lists more advanced tutorials.
Free Python video lectures are also available ["Intro to programming with Python and Tkinter"], though they're only viewable on Windows. Requires a DivX player, available from http://www.divx.com/divx/windows/. (One user reports success viewing the videos on OS X 10.4 using the VLC player -- http://www.videolan.org/)
If English isn't your first language, you might be more comfortable with a tutorial that's been translated into your language. Consult python.org's [http://www.python.org/doc/NonEnglish.html list of Non-English resources].
- Once you've read a tutorial, you can browse through
[http://www.python.org/doc/ Python's online documentation]. It includes [http://www.python.org/doc/current/tut/ a tutorial] that may be helpful, [http://www.python.org/doc/current/lib/ a Library Reference] that lists all of the modules that come standard with Python, and [http://www.python.org/doc/current/ref/ the Language Reference] for a complete (if rather dry) explanation of Python's syntax.
Most Python books will include an introduction; see IntroductoryBooks for suggested titles.
- Consult ["BeginnersGuide/Examples"] for small programs and little snippets of code that can help you learn.
- Need help from a human? Read ["BeginnersGuide/Help"] for mailing lists and newsgroups.
- Or, you can pay for a Python course; see ["BeginnersGuide/Courses"] for a list.
Teachers can join the [http://www.python.org/sigs/edu-sig/ EDU-SIG], a mailing list for discussion of Python's use in teaching at any level ranging from K-12 up to university.
Looking for a particular Python module or application?
The first place to look is the [http://www.python.org/pypi/ Python Package Index].
- If you can't find anything relevant in the Package Index,
try [http://www.python.org/search/ searching python.org] - you can find anything mentioned on the Python site, in the [http://www.python.org/doc/faq/ FAQs], or in the newsgroup. More info: [http://www.python.org/search/#help where to search].
Next, try [http://www.google.com Google] or other search engine of your choice. Searching for "python" and some relevant keywords will usually find something helpful.
- Finally, you can try posting a query to the comp.lang.python Usenet group.
Want to contribute?
Python is a product of the [http://www.python.org/psf/ Python Software Foundation], a non-profit organization that holds the copyright. [http://www.python.org/psf/donations.html Donations to the PSF] are tax-deductible in the USA, and you can donate via credit card or PayPal.
To report a bug in the Python core, use the [http://sourceforge.net/tracker/?group_id=5470&atid=105470 Python Bug Tracker] at SourceForge.
- To contribute a bug fix or other patch to the Python
core, read the [http://www.python.org/dev/ Python Developer's Guide] for more information about Python's development process.
To contribute to the official [http://www.python.org/doc/ Python documentation], join the [http://www.python.org/sigs/doc-sig/ Documentation SIG], write to firstname.lastname@example.org, or use the [http://sourceforge.net/tracker/?group_id=5470&atid=305470 Patch Manager] to contribute a documentation patch.
- To announce your module or application to the Python community,
use [news:comp.lang.python.announce comp.lang.python.announce]. See [http://www.python.org/community/lists.html#comp-lang-python-announce the guide to Python mailing lists] for more information.
To propose changes to the python core, post your thoughts to [news:comp.lang.python comp.lang.python]. If you have an implementation, follow the [http://www.python.org/patches/ Python Patch Guidelines].