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Python Distilled
Beazley D., Addison-Wesley Professional, Boston, MA, 2021. 352 pp. Type: Book (978-0-134173-27-6)
Date Reviewed: Mar 25 2022

Python has been around for more than two decades. It was introduced in the early 1990s as a simple programming language and by 2000, we had Python 2. Ever since 2008, however, Python 3 has been the more popular and powerful language. Now almost all applications, both web and mobile, can be developed in Python.

Author David M. Beazley has over 25 years of experience teaching Python. He has also authored two popular books on the language: Python essential reference (4th ed.) [1] and Python cookbook (3rd ed.) [2]. Using these rich experiences, Beazley has come up with this highly useful book, suitable for present-day requirements.

This book has ten chapters. Chapters 1 through 3 cover Python basics. Chapter 4 describes objects, types, and protocols, including object protocol, number protocol, comparison protocol, and conversion protocol, plus a few user-defined classes.

In chapter 5, Beazley explains function definitions, function applications, scoping rules, closures, decorators with special attention to programming idioms, evaluation models, and patterns. Chapter 6 discusses generators, generator delegation, generator-based co-routines, and common applications of generators.

Chapter 7 is both useful and interesting. Here Beazley explains Python classes and how object-oriented programming (OOP) can be performed using Python. Object-oriented programming concepts such as inheritance, dynamic binding, and encapsulation are beautifully presented.

Python is more powerful due to its rich modules and packages that can be imported based on user requirements. Chapter 8 describes the module and package system in more detail, and chapter 9 presents various input/output statements, including data encoding, command-line options, environment variables, and file and data serialization. Chapter 10 is on built-in functions. These functions are always available without any import statement.

Overall, this is a well-written and comprehensive book. It can be useful for practicing engineers, researchers, and more importantly, undergraduate and postgraduate students from all disciplines of science and engineering. It is recommended as a textbook for teaching Python in colleges and universities.

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Reviewer:  S. Ramakrishnan Review #: CR147422
1) Beazley, D. Python essential reference (4th ed.). Addison-Wesley, Upper Saddle River, NJ, 2009.
2) Beazley, D.; Jones, B. K. Python cookbook (3rd ed.). O’Reilly, Sebastopol, CA, 2013.
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