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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"] for a short explanation of what Python is.

Getting Python

Next, install the Python interpreter 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.

At some stage, you'll want to edit and save your program code. Take a look at HowToEditPythonCode for some advice and recommendations.

Learning Python

Next, read a tutorial and try some simple experiments with your new Python interpreter.

Most tutorials assume you know how to run a program on your computer. If you are using Windows and need help with this, 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].

Once you've read a tutorial, you can browse through [http://docs.python.org Python's online documentation]. It includes [http://docs.python.org/tut/ a tutorial] that may be helpful, [http://docs.python.org//lib/ a Library Reference] that lists all of the modules that come standard with Python, and [http://docs.python.org/ref/ the Language Reference] for a complete (if rather dry) explanation of Python's syntax.

When you are ready to write your first program you will need a text editor. To get started you can use any editor you are familiar with - even something like Notepad - but as you gain experience you may want to use a text editor with features that help you write Python programs. See PythonEditors for a list of programs friendly to Python code editing.

Need Help?

Need help with any of this? Read ["BeginnersGuide/Help"] for mailing lists and newsgroups.

Most Python books will include an introduction to the language; see IntroductoryBooks for suggested titles.

Consult ["BeginnersGuide/Examples"] for small programs and little snippets of code that can help you learn.

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.

Complete list of Beginner's Guide pages

PageList(BeginnersGuide/)

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