Comments on Dr. Doty's Python Basics

He is describing Python 2.5.  There are a number of additional features in the compatible Python 2.7.  Ther latest Python versions are 3.X (3.1 now, 3.2 shorly).  This is a redesign of the language correctly some of the mistakes, as the creator, Guido van Rossum, saw it.  The result breaks compatibility with 2.X in various places.

p. 9. Python scripts can be run in Windows.  They run in a console window.  Inorder to avoid losing the final screen output imediately, it is best to run them from an existing console window, rather than being started from a GUI Windows folder.

p. 10.  In the introduction, lists and tuples look the same except for the change from brackets to parentheses.  The difference is that lists are mutable, and tuples are immutable.  Also, finite mathematical sets are built into Python:  set([1, 2, 3, 2, 1, 7]) creates a set, eliminating the duplicates of 1 and 2.

p. 11.  In all variations of the range function, a parameter gives a value just PAST the end of the sequence.

p. 15-16.  Dr. Doty illustrates Python's peculiar and little used construction with an else after a while or a for loop.  He does not say explicitly that the else clause only is executed if the loop is not exited via a break statement.

Other than break and continue, my Hands-on Python Tutorial covers mostly the same topics much slower, with more about strings (not a big part of our math!), a bit more about the special Python behavior of boolean opeations, and with the inclusion of dictionaries.

See JavaVsPython.html.  It covers some extra topics.