beanz Magazine

Automate the Boring Stuff with Python

Josh Ellingson for No Starch Press

This book helps average non-technical people learn how to free themselves from mundane computer tasks.

If you already know Python, this book probably is not written for you. Instead, the book is written for average non-technical people who want to learn how to free themselves from mundane computer tasks. The Python code is not optimized, for example. The book also teaches only enough Python to understand how the code works. It’s up to readers to work through the basic lessons at the start of the book then pick through the rest of the book to find then code time-saving tasks.

This book also works great for easily bored kids interested in software and technology. It’s possible for a bright kid to think up an application — email me final scores for games my favorite team plays — then work through this book to write the code and build their application.

The book begins with the basics: how to find and install Python for Windows, Mac, and Linux. Next you learn how to create Python files and save them to your computer. Programming basics follow next. All of this is easily explained in terms non-technical people will understand. There’s little or no jargon.

From this foundation, the book describes many different ways to use Python. Pattern matching, for example, can be used to find words and phrases. You learn how to use Python with Excel, Word, PDF, and other file formats, as well as how to open and close files. Python can be used to manipulate images. It also can be used to web (screen) scrape, to call up a web page, process the page, and then extract data you want while tossing data you don’t need. Python code to schedule tasks and send email also is explained in practical detail.

In short, most or all of the tasks you need to automate parts of your online life are possible with a few Python scripts. And this book provides a task-based approach with enough hand holding for non-technical people to understand.

Books like this one are extremely valuable to have on your shelf because they are practical. They’re cookbooks with code recipes you can use to do things, or find answers. This book is unusual because it is written for people with a limited interest in technology but need computers to work for them. The book also works for kids who want to play around with a solid programming language.

However you use this book, it is a more fun and easier to understand book about programming Python than most. This is an extremely useful book for anyone looking to do stuff with Python. And absolutely if you are busy and want to save time by automating parts of your digital life, this book is worth buying then working through.

Who knows, you also might develop a love for Python and programming because this book makes it easy to make things happen with code.

Learn More

Automate the Boring Stuff with Python (No Starch Press)

Book Website

Invent With Python

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