Python Software

This page lists the software that we used in Python for Rookies along with other Python modules and libraries which may be useful to students and instructors.


The Python interpreter and standard modules

We used Python 2.4 during the writing of the book – the main download page for the latest bugfix revision of 2.4 can be found here. As at 2009-09-28 the latest version of Python is 2.6.2 (which can be found here) which has some new language features compared to 2.4 that are not used in the book. Python for Rookies can be used with either version, but note that the turtle package has a different default window size in 2.6 and 2.5 than in 2.4, so using our code with 2.6 or 2.5 will lead to different images than appear in the book.

In addition to the standard distribution of the Python language, the official Python website contains much useful documentation, in particular the index of standard Python modules which is extremely useful.

We also use the TkInter library for GUI writing which is usually packaged with Python installers. If for some reason your Python distribution does not contain the TkInter libraries, you can find instructions on how to install it separately on your favourite platform here.

Editors and IDEs

For students studying introductory programming, we recommend using a simple text editor or IDE with basic functionality such as syntax highlighting. More complex IDEs can be distracting and confusing for the beginner and add to the cognitive load associated with learning programming. We recommend using IDLE, the Python IDE which comes bundled with Python and TkInter.

If a more sophisticated development environment is needed, there is an Eclipse plugin available for Python and emacs modes.

Python software used in the book

Chapter 13 of Python for Rookies makes use of the excellent PyGame library, written by Pete Shinners. Installation and download instructions for all major platforms are available on the main Pygame site along with extensive documentation.

Briefly, we use the PIL (Python Imaging Library), from PythonWare.

Other useful Python software

For use with Lego Mindstorms NXT kits:

USB and Bluetooth connectivity:

Graphics programming:

GUI libraries:

For scientific computing:

Please email us with your comments about this book.