Python Developer's Handbook

Python Developer's Handbook by Andre Lessa, Sams, 2001, 929 pages.

You might think that if you buy this book, which is 929 pages and $45, you will get almost as much information as if you bought "Programming Python" at 1255 pages, while saving $10. You would be wrong.

Python Developer's Handbook uses a thicker paper than its longer cousin, making it about as thick and heavy as PP, making them look very similar in the book store. But PDH uses 56 pages to cover the Python Libraries, giving a few sentences on each module, which I consider useless and redundant. Worse, the book uses what I consider a "trick" in that it devotes a full 6 out of 21 pages in its long Contents pages to the Libraries pages! In a cursory review of the Table of Contents in the book store, one might easily be fooled into thinking that the six long pages of Contents related to Library modules represented some in depth coverage. Again, one would be wrong.

The book does cover alot of ground, with extensive sections on exception handling, extending and embedding Python with C and C++, working with DBM and SQL, a nice XML section, and in general a hodge-podge of miscellaneous topics, some of which are hard to find covered in book form anywhere else. In particular, you will find scattered throughout it pages a lot about various programming, profiling, and distribution tools associated with Python. For a completeness freak, this is very worthwhile.

The best part of the book, in my opinion, is its coverage of Jython. This it does in a more complete way than most Python books. Gratifyingly, the detailed advice it gave on using Jython actually worked for me! Your mileage may vary, but the Jython coverage in this book was superior to all the others I have read so far. Since Jython specific books are due out soon, this may be less of a unique advantage in the future, but for now it is certainly useful.

In short, this book is, after all, worthwhile. But if you do not plan to buy a whole lot of Python books, skip buying this one. You can always look up the specific topics it covers well in your comfortable local book store. Just peruse a copy of Python Developers Handbook in the store and buy other books for your home reading pleasure.