Python I: Essentials of Python
Private Training

Course Summary

This 4 day course leads the student from the basics of writing and running Python scripts to more advanced features such as file operations, regular expressions, working with binary data, and using the extensive functionality of Python modules. Extra emphasis is placed on features unique to Python, such as tuples, array slices, and output formatting. This is a hands-on programming class. All concepts are reinforced by informal practice during the lecture followed by graduated lab exercises. Python Programming is a practical introduction to a working programming language, not an academic overview of syntax and grammar. Students will immediately be able to use Python to complete tasks in the real world.

Advanced users, system administrators and web site administrators who want to use Python to support their server installations, as well as anyone else who wants to automate or simplify common tasks with the use of Python scripts.
Course Length
4 Days
Students should already have a working, user-level knowledge of Unix/Linux, Mac, or Windows. While not required, basic skills with at least one other programming language will be helpful.


Create working Python scripts following best practices

Use python data types appropriately

Read and write files with both text and binary data

Search and replace text with regular expressions

Get familiar with the standard library and its work-saving modules

Know when to use collections such as lists, dictionaries, and sets

Understand Pythonic features such as comprehensions and iterators

Detailed Outline

  1. Python Overview
    • What is Python?
    • The Birth of Python
    • Python Timeline
    • About Interpreted Languages
    • Advantages/Disadvantages of Python
    • How to get Python
    • Which version of Python?
    • The of 2.x
    • Getting help
    • pydoc
  2. The Python Environment
    • Starting Python
    • If the interpreter is not in your PATHs
    • Using the Interpreter
    • Running a Python Script
    • Python Scripts on UNIX/Windows
    • Python Editors and IDEs
  3. Getting Started
    • Using Variables
    • Keywords
    • Built-in Functions
    • Strings
    • Single-quoted string literals
    • Tripe-quoted string literals
    • Raw String literals
    • Unicode literals
    • String operators and expressions
    • Numeric literals
    • Math operators and expressions
    • Converting among types
    • Writing to the screen
    • String formatting
    • Legacy string formatting
    • Command line parameters
    • Reading from the keyboard
  4. Flow Control
    • About Flow Control
    • What’s with the white space?
    • If and elif
    • Conditional Expressions
    • Relational and Boolean Operators
    • while loops
    • Alternate ways to exit a loop
  5. Sequences
    • About Sequences
    • Lists
    • Tuples
    • Indexing and Slicing
    • Iterating through a sequence
    • Functions for all sequences
    • Using enumerate()
    • Operators and keywords for sequences
    • The xrange() function
    • Nest sequences
    • List comprehensions
    • Generator expressions
  6. Working with Files
    • Text fiel I/O
    • Opening a text file
    • The with block
    • Reading a text file
    • Writing to a Text File
    • “Binary” (raw or non-delimited) Data
  7. Dictionaries and Sets
    • About Dictionaries
    • When to use dictionaries
    • Creating Dictionaries
    • Getting dictionary values
    • Iterating through a dictionary
    • Reading file data into a dictionary
    • Counting with dictionaries
    • About sets
    • Creating sets
    • Working with sets
  8. Functions
    • Defining a function
    • Function Parameters
    • Global variables
    • Variable scope
    • Returning Values
  9. Sorting
    • The sorted() Function
    • Alternate Keys
    • Lambda Functions
    • Sorting collections of collections
    • Using operator.itemgetter()
    • Sorting dictionaries
    • Reverse in reverse
    • Sorting lists in place
  10. Errors and Exception Handling
    • Syntax Errors
    • Exceptions
    • Handling exceptions with try
    • Handling multiple exceptions
    • Handling generic exceptions
    • Ignoring exceptions
    • Using else
    • Cleaning up with finally
    • The standard exception hierarchy
  11. Using Modules
    • What is a module?
    • The import statement
    • Where did the .pyc file com from?
    • Module search path
    • Zipped Libraries
    • Creating Modules
    • Packages
    • Module Aliases
    • When the batteries aren’t included
  12. Regular Expressions
    • RE syntax overview
    • Regular expression metacharacters
    • RE Objects
    • Searching for patterns
    • Matching without re objects
    • Compilation Flags
    • Grouping
    • Special Groups
    • Replacing text
    • Splitting a string
  13. Using the Standard Library
    • The sys module
    • Interpreter information
    • STDIO
    • Launching external programs
    • Paths, directories, and filenames
    • Walking directory trees
    • Grabbing data from the web pages
    • Sending e-Mail
    • Math Functions
    • Random Numbers
    • Dates and Times
    • Zipped Archives
  14. An Introduction to Python Classes
    • About OO programming
    • Defining Classes
    • Initializers
    • Instance methods
    • Properties
    • Class methods and data
    • Static methods
    • Private methods
    • Inheritance
    • Untangling the nomenclature
  15. Bonus Exercises