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   (companion DVD)

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Mar 2012 This Web site is pure retro; frozen from Mar 2012!
Feb 2012 For readers w/1st-4th printings: Appendices C & D (PDF)

"There has been lot of good buzz around Wesley Chun's Core Python Programming. It turns out that all the buzz is well earned. I think this is the best book currently available for learning Python.... I would recommend Chun's book over Learning Python (O'Reilly), Programming Python (O'Reilly), or The Quick Python Book (Manning)"
-- D. Mertz, IBM DeveloperWorks
[Core Python Programming]

• Posted bonus Python 2.6+ & 3.x appendices for readers with
    old printings — books without a red star on the cover (Feb 25)
• Announced maintenance period for site refresh (2012 Feb 25)
Python 3.2.2 released (Sep 4)
Python 2.7.2 and Python 3.1.4 released (Jun 12)
Python 2.6.7 released (Jun 3)
Python 2.5.6 released (May 26)
• Book goes to 6th printing (Mar 31)
Jython 2.5.2 and IronPython 2.7 released (Mar 3 and 12, resp.)
• Added new Book Reviews (2011 Jan 5)
• Book goes to 5th printing (2009 Apr 2)
Python Fundamentals published (Dec 23)
Python Web Development with Django published (Nov 3)
• Major updates/cleanup to Errata page (May 20) + minor fixes (Jun 11)
• Book goes to 4th printing in Jun (2008 May 19)
• Book goes to 3rd printing in Aug (2007 Jul 31)
• Book goes to 2nd printing in Dec (Nov 26)
Core Python Programming is Prentice Hall's
      Featured Book of the Month (Oct 1)
2nd Edition hits the streets Sep 20 (2006 Sep 18)


"I have been doing a lot of research [on] Python ... for the past year and ... have seen a number of positive reviews of your book.... The sentiment expressed ... confirms the opinion that your book is now ... considered the standard introductory text." -- Richard Ozaki, Lockheed Martin

"Excellent reference book." -- the National Weather Service

2-page Highlights / Information Sheet
(1M PDF)
(203K PDF)

I'm excited to bring you the latest incarnation of my book. In it, you will find updates as major as the changes in Python itself from the 1st edition days of 2.0 (2001). The 2nd edition is expanded (300 new pages!) and updated through Python 2.5, with the newest printings having 2.6 and Python 3 material as well as confirmed functionality for future releases. Also added are a few new chapters of advanced material. As in the 1st edition, a plethora of exercises can be found at the end of every chapter to hammer the concepts home. At the moment, this is the most complete and up-to-date Python book on the market today. Be sure to check back here for new supplemental material to augment the book as well as the Errata page for corrections as they are reported.

The main focus of the book is comprehensively teaching you the core of the Python language, much more than just its syntax (which you don't really need a book to learn, right?). Knowing more about how Python works under the covers, including the relationship between data objects and memory management, will make you a much more effective Python programmer coming out of the gate. The advanced topics chapters are meant as intros or "quick dives" into a variety of distinct subjects. If moving towards those specific areas of development, they are more than enough to get you pointed in the right direction. We would say that the book is 40% introductory, 40% intermediate (in-depth core Python material plus advanced topics chapters), and 20% reference -- it is not meant to be a substitute for a pure reference such as the Python Essential Reference or Python in a Nutshell.

The book's target audience: technical professionals or students already literate in another high-level language who want to pick up Python as quickly as possible. No computer science background is necessary. Just be receptive and willing to absorb and learn. As an aside, do you know how after learning a new language, it takes several months to really "feel comfortable" enough to *not* pick up a book in order to start coding? My goal is to reduce that time to as short as possible while providing the reader a comprehensive understanding of that relationship between Python types and its memory model that I just described above. It is my belief that a solid foundation here will reduce or eliminate any potential bugs you would've written without this knowledge.

The technical material in the book is one of the aspects of the book which people ask about and question, but there really isn't a need to! The "K&R" portion of the book is just Chapter 2, with the first chapter being totally introductory. People have been "astonished" to find that the chapter on functions appears so "late" in the book (Chapter 11, p. 408), and the same goes for Object-Oriented Programming (Chapter 13, p. 504), when both are primary features of Python and other prominent programming languages of today. The point is that "all you need to know" to get started (including functions and OOP) can be found in Chapter 2, with everything else serving as more detailed information beyond the basics. Such debate is evident as seen in a discussion back in 2006 on the comp.lang.python newsgroup.

The content of this book is very much of a community effort (just like Python)! I welcome all comments, suggestions, corrections, feedback, etc., as well as what new chapters to add to future editions. I also offer public and private Python training courses and seminars should you feel the need for a "live" experience. This website is meant to supplement the book... some of the things you will find here include:

  • Errata
  • Book Reviews
  • Publisher materials (i.e., Sample Chapters, Table of Contents, etc.)
  • Book source code (Creative Commons Attribution-SharedAlike2.5 License)
  • Quick links to download Python and to get Python documentation
  • Information on other versions of the book
  • Python Training and Author information


  • Electronic (English) (O'Reilly & Associates [Safari])
            • Sep 2006, 1120 pp., ISBN 0-13-226993-7
            • Electronic subscriptions available
  • French (Pearson Education France/CampusPress)
            Au Cœur de Python
            • Jun 2007, Vol. 1: Notions fondamentales, 674 pp., ISBN-10 2744021482, 48/EURO [~$65 US]
                    • Retailers: Amazon.fr -- Le Monde en Tique
            • Jul 2007, Vol. 2: Notions avancées, 360 pp., ISBN-10 2744021954, 35/EURO [~$47 US]
                    • Retailers: Amazon.fr
  • Indian (Dorling Kindersley/Pearson Education Asia) [printed in English]
            • 2007, 808 pp., ISBN-10 81-3171-188-9, ISBN-13: 978-81-3171-188-0, 699 Rs./INR [~$17.70 US]
            • Online Indian retailers: Computer Bookshop -- NBC India -- SapnaOnline -- FlipKart
            • Manufactured in India and authorized only for sale in India, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Nepal, Sri Lanka, and Maldives
  • (Simplified) Chinese (HZ Books/China Machine Press)
            • Jul 2008, 654 pp., ISBN-10 7-115-17850-X, ISBN-13 978-7-115-17850-3, ¥89/CNY [~$13 US]
            • Other online Chinese retailers: Amazon CN/joyo -- Sina.com -- BooksChina.com (Taiwan) -- [Dushu] -- Douban (discussion)


  • (Simplified) Chinese (HZ Books/China Machine Press)
            • Aug 2001, 532 pp., ISBN 7-111-08983-9, ¥75/CNY [~$11 US]
            • Manufactured and sold only in China
  • Electronic (English) (O'Reilly & Associates [Safari])
            • Oct 2001, 907 pp., ISBN 0-13-026036-3
            • Electronic subscriptions available
  • Indian (Addison Wesley Longman/Pearson Education Asia) [printed in English]
            • Fall 2001, 808 pp., ISBN 81-7808-273-X, 675 Rs./INR [~$16.55 US]
            • Online Indian retailers: Prakash Books -- NBC India -- SapnaOnline -- GT Enterprises
            • Manufactured in India and authorized only for sale in India, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Nepal, Sri Lanka, and Maldives
  • Korean (Pearson Education Korea)
            • May 2002, 774 pp., ISBN 89-450-7052-4, W 25,000/KRW [~$21.65 US]
            • English version also available from Korean retailer WowBook
  • Electronic (Chinese) (China e Book)
            • Aug 2004



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