Introduction to Python

Course Number:


This 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 Intro 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.

Note: This course can be taught for either Python 2.x or Python 3.x. Version-specific course materials and exercises will be provided.


This course is appropriate for advanced users, system administrators and web site administrators who want to use Python to support their server installations, as well as anyone else who want to automate or simplify common tasks with the use of Python scripts.
Course Duration:
5 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.

Course Objectives:
  • 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
  • Use lesser-known but powerful Python data types
  • Create “real-world”, professional Python applications
  • Work with dates, times, and calendars
  • Know when to use collections such as lists, dictionaries, and sets
  • Understand Pythonic features such as comprehensions and iterators
  • Write robust code using exception handling
Course Outline:
  • An overview of Python
    • What is python?
    • Python Timeline
    • Advantages/Disadvantages of Python
    • Getting help with pydoc


  • The Python Environmens
    • Starting Python
    • Using the interpreter
    • Running a Python script
    • Python scripts on Unix/Windows
    • Editors and IDEs


  • Getting Started
    • Using variables
    • Built-in function
    • Strings
    • Numbers
    • Converting among types
    • Writing to the screen
    • Command line parameters


  • Flow Control
    • About flow control
    • White space
    • Conditional expressions
    • Relational and Boolean operators
    • While loops
    • Alternate loop exits


  • Sequences
    • About sequences
    • Lists and list methods
    • Tuples
    • Indexing and slicing
    • Iterating through a sequence
    • Sequence functions,keywords, and operators
    • List comprehensions
    • Generator Expressions
    • Nested sequences


  • Working with files
    • File overview
    • Opening a text file
    • Reading a text file
    • Writing to a text file
    • Reading and writing raw (binary) data
    • Converting binary data with struct


  • Dictionaries and Sets
    • About dictionaries
    • Creating dictionaries
    • Iterating through a dictionary
    • About sets
    • Creating sets
    • Working with sets


  • Functions
    • Defining functions
    • Parameters
    • Global and local scope
    • Nested functions
    • Returning values


  • Sorting
    • The sorted() function
    • Alternate keys
    • Lambda functions
    • Sorting collections
    • Using operator.itemgetter()
    • Reverse sorting


  • Errors and Exception Handling
    • Syntax errors
    • Exceptions
    • Using try/catch/else/finally
    • Handling multiple exceptions
    • Ignoring exceptions


  • Modules and Packages
    • The import statement
    • Module search path
    • Creating Modules
    • Using packages
    • Function and Module aliases


  • Classes
    • About OO programming
    • Defining classes
    • Constructors
    • Methods
    • Instance data
    • Properties
    • Class methods and data


  • Regular Expressions
    • RE syntax overview
    • RE Objects
    • Searching and matching
    • Compilation flags
    • Groups and special groups
    • Replacing text
    • Splitting strings


  • The Standard library
    • The sys module
    • Launching external programs
    • Math functions
    • Random numbers
    • The string module
    • Reading CSV data


  • Dates and times
    • Working with dates and times
    • Translating timestamps
    • Parsing dates from text
    • Formatting dates
    • Calendar data


  • Working with the file system
    • Paths, directories, and filenames
    • Checking for existence
    • Permissions and other file attributes
    • Walking directory trees
    • Creating filters with fileinput
    • Using shutil for file operations


  • Advanced data handling
    • Defaultdict and Counter
    • Prettyprinting data structures
    • Compressed archives (zip, gzip, tar, etc.)
    • Persistent data


  • Network services
    • Grabbing web content
    • Sending email
    • Using SSH for remote access
    • Using FTP


  • Writing real-life applications
    • Parsing command-line options
    • Detecting the current platform
    • Trapping signals
    • Implementing logging

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