Beyond the Basic Stuff with Python: Best Practices for Writing Clean Code

  • 6h 18m
  • Al Sweigart
  • No Starch Press
  • 2020


You’ve completed a basic Python programming tutorial or finished Al Sweigart’s best selling Automate the Boring Stuff with Python. What’s the next step toward becoming a capable, confident software developer?

Welcome to Beyond the Basic Stuff with Python. More than a mere collection of advanced syntax and masterful tips for writing clean code, this book will teach you how to advance your Python programming skills by using the command line and other professional tools like code formatters, type checkers, linters, and version control. Sweigart takes you through best practices for setting up your development environment, naming variables, and improving readability, then tackles documentation, organization and performance measurement, as well as object-oriented design and the Big-O algorithm analysis commonly used in coding interviews. The skills you learn will boost your ability to program—not just in Python but in any language.

You’ll learn:

  • Coding style, and how to use Python’s Black auto-formatting tool for cleaner code
  • Common sources of bugs, and how to detect them with static analyzers
  • How to structure the files in your code projects with the Cookiecutter template tool
  • Functional programming techniques like lambda and higher-order functions
  • How to profile the speed of your code with Python’s built-in timeit and cProfile modules
  • The computer science behind Big-O algorithm analysis
  • How to make your comments and docstrings informative, and how often to write them
  • How to create classes in object-oriented programming, and why they’re used to organize code

Toward the end of the book you’ll read a detailed source-code breakdown of two classic command-line games, the Tower of Hanoi (a logic puzzle) and Four-in-a-Row (a two-player tile-dropping game), and a breakdown of how their code follows the book’s best practices. You’ll test your skills by implementing the program yourself.

Of course, no single book can make you a professional software developer. But Beyond the Basic Stuff with Python will get you further down that path and make you a better programmer in the process as you learn to write readable code that’s easy to debug and perfectly Pythonic.

About the Author

Al Sweigart is a celebrated software developer, creator of a wildly popular Udemy Python course, and a programming teacher. A fellow at the Python Software Foundation, Sweigart is also the author of three other Python books with No Starch Press, including the worldwide bestseller Automate the Boring Stuff with Python.

In this Book

  • Introduction
  • Dealing with Errors and Asking for Help
  • Environment Setup and the Command Line
  • Code Formatting with Black
  • Choosing Understandable Names
  • Finding Code Smells
  • Writing Pythonic Code
  • Programming Jargon
  • Common Python Gotchas
  • Esoteric Python Oddities
  • Writing Effective Functions
  • Comments, Docstrings, and Type Hints
  • Organizing Your Code Projects with Git
  • Measuring Performance and Big O Algorithm Analysis
  • Practice Projects
  • Object-Oriented Programming and Classes
  • Object-Oriented Programming and Inheritance
  • Pythonic OOP: Properties and Dunder Methods