I know by experience that ‘next week’ is always full of unpredictable work, sudden meetings and other distracting stuff, so I decided to do my best at the weekend to play with Python. Kudos to Codecademy, once again. The first week’s homework was really easy (but good for revision), while only a month ago I’d feel totally frightened by it.
Just tried out OpenStudy. I was absolutely resolved to be using IDLE for the rest of
my life the course, but one peer there endorsed another IDE (Interpreted Development Environment) called PyScripter. So I went and checked it out. Not that at my level it made a huge difference, but I like it that PyScripter has a compact layout that works in one window instead of two, unlike IDLE that has separate shell and text editor.
I think I’ll try using both and see which is best for me.
Also we had an illustrative task in natural language processing (exercise 1.11). We were given a sentence Alice saw the boy on the hill with the telescope. And we had to sketch the two possible interpretations of this sentence. Drawing in MS Paint with a mouse – what a pleasure!
So, a new (the fourth, as far as I understand) sequence of Python Mechanical MOOC officially started a week ago. This week happened to be extremely busy in my case, so I actually had less time for learning than I hoped I would. But thanks to the Codecademy lessons I took some time ago, the first bunch of tasks didn’t contain too much new information for me. But at the same time it contained quite a number of fascinating and revealing details. For one, I found out from this video lecture that some languages allow using false indentation. That is, unlike Python where indentation is the only way to make a script work properly, many other languages use punctuation to separate statements. But indentation is still required by convention to make a programme clearly readable and its semantics more obvious from its structure. So to make people think that the programme does something different from what it really does, some coders may use this false indentation e.g. in Java or C. But not in Python however.
Also, as I think that during these 8 weeks’ period Python is supposed to be my primary learning focus, I decided to take into account some additional Python courses that might provide a better understanding of what’s going on. One of them is Python Programming 101 at P2PU. And actually there’s a lot of additional information there. For instance, there’s a list of Python compatible text editors. What I like best about it is peer reviews of the editors they tried. So I’ll have to save this for the future:
But for now I’m using IDLE, because I don’t have enough time to try all of them right now. Although I’ve installed Notepad ++ just in case.
Also I’m looking forward to getting involved in OpenStudy communication, but I haven’t yet, because I’ve been a bit overloaded (like a + operator) with work.
Finally I seem to have pulled myself together and started following the instructions of the Python MOOC, which officially begins on 17 June, but has already started sending some tasks for preparation. And they actually turned out to be rather instructive for me. For instance, after about a month of toying with Codecademy, I had a very vague idea of how to work with IDLE. I mean, I tried it, but it didn’t make much sense and I didn’t get into details, because I was quite happy with Codecademy Labs at my disposal. And I also found out that IDLE stands for “Integrated DeveLopment Environment” (but still I suspect it has something to do with Eric Idle from Monty Python Flying Circle). Also, I know there are several versions of Python, but I still can’t understand what it really means. Well, hopefully, I’ll find out later. Right now I had to install Python 2.6 (instead of 3.0 I installed previously), according to the course requirements.
What has been a really bad experience so far is the way to calculate square root by way of raising a number to the 0.5-th power. This procedure just won’t fit into my mind. Not yet anyway.
Now, I’ll just post here some links in order to save them: