learning python through video lectures

One of the upcoming projects I am doing (I will reveal it in one of the next blog posts.) is going to be written entirely in Python. I have a good understanding of Python but, same as I had with JavaScript, I have little experience doing projects from the ground up in it.

Update: the project was redditriver.com, read designing redditriver.com (includes full source code).

Before diving into the project I decided to take a look at a few Python video lectures to learn language idioms and features which I might have not heard of.

Finding Python video lectures was pretty easy as I run a free video lecture blog.

First Python Lecture: Python for Programmers

Interesting moments in the lecture:

  • [07:15] There are several Python implementations - CPython, PyPy, IronPython and Jython.
  • Python has similarities with [12:04] Java, [15:30] C++ and [19:05] C programming languages.
  • [15:37] Python is multi-paradigm language supporting object oriented, procedural, generic and functional programming paradigms.
  • [19:49] Python follows C standard's rationale: 1. trust the programmer; 2. don't prevent the programmer from doing what needs to be done; 3. keep the language small and simple; 4. provide only one way to do an operation.
  • [13:02] Python code is normally implicitly compiled to bytecode.
  • [13:25] Everything inherits from object.
  • [14:56] Garbage collection in classic Python happens as soon as possible.
  • [24:50] Python has strong but dynamic typing.
  • [28:42] Names don't have types, objects do.
  • [36:25] Why are there two ways to raise a number to a power (with double star ** operator and pow())? - Because pow() is a three argument function pow(x, y, z) which does x^y mod z.
  • [36:52] Python supports plain and Unicode strings.
  • [38:40] Python provides several built-in container types: tuple's, list's, set's, frozenset's and dict's.
  • [41:55] c[i:j:k] does slicing with step k.
  • [42:45] c[i:j] always has first bound included and last bound excluded.
  • [44:11] Comparisons can be "chained", for example 3 < x < 9.
  • [45:05] False values in Python are 0, "", None, empty containers and False.
  • [49:07] 'for' is implemented in terms of iterators.
  • [52:18] Function parameters may end with *name to take a tuple of arbitrary arguments, or may end with **name to take a dict of arbitrary arguments.
  • [55:39] Generators.
  • [01:00:20] Closures.
  • [01:02:00] Classes.
  • [01:05:30] Subclassing.
  • [01:07:00] Properties.
  • [01:14:35] Importing modules.
  • [01:16:20] Every Python source file is a module, and you can just import it.
  • [01:17:20] Packages.

Okay, this talk was a very basic talk and it really was an introduction for someone who never worked in Python. I could not find many interesting points to point out from the lecture, so the last 8 points are just titles of topics covered in the lecture.

Second Python Lecture: Advanced Python or Understanding Python

Interesting moments in the lecture:

  • [03:18] Python is designed by implementation.
  • [04:20] Everything is runtime (even compiletime is runtime).
  • [04:42] A namespace is a dict.
  • [05:33] A function is created by having its code compiled to code object, then wrapped as a function object.
  • [10:00] Everything is an object and a reference, except variables.
  • [11:00] Python has 3-scopes rule - names are either local, global or builtin.
  • [11:12] Global names mean they exist in a module, not everywhere!
  • [14:02] 'import mod' statement is just a syntactic sugar for mod = __import__("mod").
  • [14:15] sys.modules contains a list of cached modules.
  • [14:30] You may set the value of a module name in sys.modules dict to None, to make it unimportable.
  • [15:20] Mutable objects are not hashable, most immutable objects are hashable.
  • [18:05] Assignments, type checks, identity comparison, 'and or not', method calls are not object hooks.
  • [22:15] Any Python object has two special attributes __dict__ which holds per object data and __class__ which refers to the class.
  • [27:18] Iterators are not rewindable, reversible or copyable.
  • [29:04] Functions with yield return generators.
  • [39:20] "New" style classes unified C types and Python classes.
  • [47:00] __slots__ prevent arbitrary attribute assignments.
  • [48:10] __new__ gets called when the object gets created (__init__ gets called when the object has already been constructed).
  • [01:01:40] Inheritance is resolved using a C3 Method Resolution Order algorithm.
  • [01:04:57] Unicode in Python.
  • [01:06:45] UTF8 is not Unicode, it's a Unicode encoding!
  • [01:11:50] codecs module automatically converts between encodings.
  • [01:13:00] Recommended reading - Functional Programming HOWTO and Python source code ;)

This lecture gets pretty complicated towards the end as the lecturer goes deep into subjects which require adequate experience with Python.

Third Python Lecture: Python: Design and Implementation

Interesting moments in the lecture:

  • [01:27] Python started in late 1989, around December 1989.
  • [01:57] Python's named after Monty Python's Flying Circus.
  • [06:20] Python was first released to USENET and then a public group comp.lang.python was started.
  • [08:06] Guido van Rossum, the author of Python, moved to US in 1995.
  • [09:58] Python will never become a commercial project thanks to Python Software Foundation, founded in 2001.
  • [11:23] Python origins go back to ideas from ABC programming language (indentation for statement grouping, simple control structures, small number of data types).
  • [13:01] Being on ABC's implementation team, Guido learned a lot about language design and implementation.
  • [16:37] One of the main goals of Python was to make programmer's productivity more important than program's performance.
  • [17:10] Original positioning of Python was in the middle between C and sh.
  • [21:13] Other languages, such as, Modula-3, Icon and Algol 68 also had an impact on Python's implementation details.
  • [24:32] If a feature can be implemented as a clear extension module, it is always preferable to changing the language itself.
  • [25:23] The reason Python uses dictionaries for namespaces is that it required minimal changes to the stuff the language already had.
  • [28:11] Language features are accepted only if they will be used by a wide variety of users. A recent example of a new language feature is the 'with' statement.
  • [31:13] Question from the audience - "Can't the 'with' statement be implemented via closures?"
  • [34:25] Readable code is the most important thing.
  • [37:57] To add a new language feature, PEP, Python Enhancement Proposal has to be written.
  • [40:47] Python's goal was to be cross-platform (hardware & OS) right from the beginning.
  • [47:09] Python's lexer has a stack to parse indentation.
  • [49:20] Two passes are run over abstract syntax tree, one to generate symbol table and the other to produce bytecode.
  • [50:20] Bytecode opcodes are very high level, close to conceptual primitive operations in language, rather close to what hardware could do.
  • [01:02:54] Jython generates pure Java bytecode.
  • [01:03:01] Jython's strings are always Unicode.
  • [01:06:45] IronPython is as fast or even faster than CPython.

Question and answer session:

  • [01:08:57] Have there been attempts to compile Python to machine code (for example, x86)?
  • [01:13:46] Why not use simple tail recursion?
  • [01:16:09] How does the garbage collection work?

This video lecture gives an insight on history and development ideas of Python language. I believe it is important to know the history and details of the language design decisions to be really competent in it.

There are a few more lectures I have found:

There is also some great reading material available:

Have fun learning Python!

PS. Do you know any other video lectures on Python that I haven't mentioned here? Feel free to post them in the comments! Thanks! :)

Comments

March 07, 2008, 18:58

Great Videos. Our Developers will definate want to check these out.
You got my del.icio.us bookmark!

March 07, 2008, 20:15

I did an Introduction to Python tutorial in 2003 at the first Plone Conference in New Orleans...

http://plone.org/events/conferences/new-orleans-2003/video/index_html#python

There's a little bit of Zope/Plone content at the end, but the bulk of the talk is about Python.

Briguy Permalink
March 07, 2008, 20:19

Great List!

Heads up: Under the additional lectures, "Python 300" should be "Python 3000" (the next major version of Python.)

No need to publish this comment.

March 07, 2008, 20:26

Jim, thank you! I added your lecture to additional lectures.

Briguy, oh, right. Just fixed it :)

Lukas, thank you for the add! May I suggest to subscribe to RSS, as well? :)

March 07, 2008, 22:00

For 184 more Python screencast tutorials - including some by significant members of the Python community, see ShowMeDo's Python Tutorial Videos.
Topics include core Python, wxPython, Django, how-to-code, learning to debug and famous modules.
Ian (ShowMeDo's co-founder).

jay Permalink
May 21, 2010, 08:29

You have to pay for most of the showmedo videos. It's a waste of time looking there. This guy is only trying to get money

Roman Permalink
March 08, 2008, 15:14

Tupo: next blog post -> next blog posts.

robert Permalink
March 17, 2008, 06:28

good post, thanks

April 04, 2008, 07:36

Hey!

Thanks for the great post!

mikko Permalink
July 27, 2008, 12:11

Maybe you've omitted these on purpose, but I thought I'd mention them. They're two more lectures on Python by Martelli.

Painless Python 1/2:
http://youtube.com/watch?v=bDgD9whDfEY

Painless Python 2/2:
http://youtube.com/watch?v=y7vwZ20SDzc

They're part of Google I/O 2008 (whatever that is), where there is also a talk by Guido, aptly named "Python, Django, and App Engine":
http://youtube.com/watch?v=v1gTI4BOPUw

November 20, 2008, 08:57

your ebooks and slides is very good .thank u

alex Permalink
January 13, 2009, 07:10

Thank you so much to the original poster for all the efforts. The python (as well as the JScript) tutorials are greatly appreciated!

Cheers....

March 09, 2009, 09:27

It is a good idea to mention that in Python you can type

import this

and see a short list of rules of thumb.

March 11, 2009, 04:49

Hi,

You can try the Book "A byte of Python" you can find it here:

http://www.swaroopch.com/notes/Python

and its free for download, you can download it from:

http://www.swaroopch.com/files/byteofpython/byte_of_python_v191.pdf

Its a good book for newbies.

Nachiket Sakinal Permalink
April 09, 2009, 16:38

Hi I am very glad to see this website.
Actually I am very interested in this field.
So please send me some tricks of the computer.
Thanking You

hemhy Permalink
April 21, 2009, 22:57

thank you
Is there any job chance

rosk Permalink
August 30, 2009, 19:51

Tens of videos from Pycon 2009 are available at

http://pycon.blip.tv/

The tricky part is to find the good ones.

September 21, 2010, 11:39

good tutorial!

December 23, 2010, 04:16

Thanks for sharing. I am building some software and a website to enable free open learning. Along with core CS courses I was looking for some Python videos, and I found your blog post very useful.

José Ruiz Permalink
November 20, 2011, 00:56

The presentation was very nice. However python has much more similarity to other programming languages than C/C++ and java. For example smalltalk, Lisp, I even read somewhere that it borrowed some stuff from Modula-3. It would have been nice to mention it :)

sanjay gns Permalink
January 16, 2012, 13:17

thank u :......:

Pushkar Pandey Permalink
July 05, 2012, 12:42

Great post and a great blog, full of valuable resources. Could not thank you enough. :-)

By the way, i couldn't get to watch the "Third Python Lecture: Python: Design and Implementation" by Guido van Rossum. The link you have posted above has expired. I looked it up on the web, but it's no where to be found. By any chance do you have any alternate link or the original video at your hard drive so that you can upload it on youtube and post the new link again.
Thanks.

linda Permalink
September 26, 2012, 00:50

Nothing happens when I click play on these videos. Is there another link I can try? Thx.

Pratap Permalink
March 18, 2013, 06:26

even I am not able to open any of this video......

July 26, 2013, 17:19

I have been searching this topic for two hours. Your post gives me a great help. Thanks for sharing…

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