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O'Reilly Open Source Convention


The Perils of Pauline: Python Tutorials and Novice Programmers
Anna Martelli Ravenscroft

Track: Python
Date: Thursday, July 10
Time: 2:30pm - 3:15pm
Location: Salon B

Most Python FAQs and tutorials are written with the implicit idea that readers are migrating to Python from a previous programming language. This can make life difficult for the novice programmer, particularly after he or she has been told that Python is a great language for learning programming!

Many tutorials rely on previous knowledge of programming terminology and concepts, leaving out important information for novices, while others go into levels of depth and detail that boggle the mind of a beginner. Yet, Python's simplicity does make it an excellent language to teach terminology and concepts. With care, and awareness of one's audience, a tutorial can be useful to both novices and experienced programmers.

Ravenscroft's presentation explores some of the available tutorials and books; examines common pitfalls and assumptions encountered, with suggestions to authors and teachers on avoiding them; and highlights a few gems that demonstrate how to do it right.

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