Get your machine ready
- How to install Python 3 on Mac and Windows machines. (If you want to dabble in Python 2.7 on a Mac, just find your terminal and type 'python').
- virtualenv and virtualenvwrapper, for keeping your projects sandboxed in an easy to manage way. Here's one good tutorial and another.
- Install iPython by typing
pip3 install ipythonfor the souped-up interactive interpreter.
- version control with git and Github
Here's a great cheatsheet for basic python types and functions. And you should probably bookmark this fun and handy graphic of common Python errors. It's worth your time to take a look at Tony DeBarros' Python snippets, scripts for common tasks he's found useful. Have Unicode problems? Check out this great video from Pycon 2014.
Good libraries to explore
- csv, for working with the best tabular data format.
- The re library for matching text with regular expressions.
- requests, a library for more easily making requests to web urls. One good tutorial and another.
- BeautifulSoup, for parsing html or xml, with a gentle introduction and another tutorial.
- mechanize. A tutorial with its own cheat sheet
- json. Work with json like it's a dictionary.
- SQLite3. Use the easy, built-in SQLite database engine.
- peewee, an orm that lets you do your SQL in Python.
- python-twitter is good for interacting with the Twitter API.
- Xlrd. Do your Excel in Python.
- pandas, for data analysis. pandas' dataframe object is like a table.
- And a cool collection of quick overviews on standard library modules. http://pymotw.com/2/contents.html
Want advice on debugging? This blog post on two young girls learning to code is a very cool introduction to how to debug a program. There's also a good post on thinking about debugging programs in general from the community behind p5.js. And we have this cheatsheet for how to read your Python error messages.