Hello World!

Carter’s VPython Podcast

Posted: June 8, 2010 at 3:14 am

A couple of weeks ago, Carter did a podcast on VPython (Visual Python), a module to create 3D graphics. You can see it here:

For our next podcast, Carter will be answering questions from readers. So, please post any questions you have about Python or related modules in our Author Forum, at:http://www.manning-sandbox.com/thread.jspa?threadID=38048&stqc=true
Warren and Carter


Passing arguments as a list

Posted: March 12, 2010 at 5:20 am

In the Author Forum on the Manning page for the book, someone asked about passing arguments to a function as a list. Since posting code on that forum doesn’t work well, I thought I would post the answer here on this blog.

If you are passing a number of arguments to a function, you could pass them as individual arguments, like this:

def printMyLuckyNumbers(num1, num2, num3, num4, num5):
print “Here are your lucky numbers:”
print num1, num2, num3, num4, num5

Then, you would call the function, like this:

printMyLuckyNumbers(3, 7, 10, 14, 27)

But that has a couple of disadvantages. First, if there are a lot of arguments, it gets messy to type all the variable names. Second, you might not know ahead of time how many arguments you want to pass.
So, another way, that solves both those problems, is to pass a list of arguments instead, like this:
def printMyLuckyNumbers(myNums):
print “Your lucky numbers are:”
for num in myNums:
print num,

Then you would call the function like this:

myLuckyNumbers = [3, 7, 10, 14, 27]

In the first example, you are passing 5 separate arguments. In …


Hello World! on HanselMinutes

Posted: January 15, 2010 at 5:34 am

Carter and Warren recently appeared on the HanselMinutes podcast. Hanselminutes is a weekly audio show with web technology blogger Scott Hanselman.
You can find the podcast here.


Hello World! German Translation

Posted: January 3, 2010 at 4:36 am

We recently discovered that there is a German translation of “Hello World!” We found it on the amazon.co.uk site.

You can see some sample chapters here:
Table of ContentsPrefaceChapter 1
Oddly, our publisher, Manning, didn’t tell us about the translation. We just stumbled across it ourselves. The publishing world sometimes works in strange and mysterious ways!


Carter Explains PythonCard on Young Programmer’s Podcast

Posted: November 11, 2009 at 4:21 am

A fellow named Dave Briccetti has a site dedicated to young programmers. Part of that site is the Young Programmers Podcast.
Carter recently did a Podcast on PythonCard for the Young Programmer’s Podcast. Dave tells us it’s one of the most popular items on the podcast!

You can see it here.


Carter and Warren on TV

Posted: July 1, 2009 at 6:10 am

We hosted a Book Launch party on June 24, 2009.
That day, we also did an interview on the Ottawa CTV affiliate, CJOH, with anchor Carol-Anne Meehan.
It ran on their 6:00 news. You can see it here:http://watch.ctv.ca/news/clip186877#clip186877
You can also read the article EMC newspaper wrote about us. Reporter Sabine Gibbins talked to Carter, Warren, and illustrator Martin Murtonen the day of the launch.
We also met Martin for the first time that day. All our work together on the book had been done by e-mail and phone, even though we live in the same city!


Connect the Dots 2

Posted: June 29, 2009 at 11:41 pm

In Chapter 16 of Hello World, we presented a Connect the Dots program that would create a “mystery picture”. (This is Listing 16.10.)
One of our readers created another version that draws the dots and lines one at a time, instead of all at once. So it’s kind of an “animated” version of the Connect the Dots program.
Once again, we want you to type this one in, not just cut-and-paste it from the download site. Here’s the code for the animated version:
This code might look a little fuzzy, and some of the lines are cut off. That’s because it’s an image of the code, and that’s the way Blogger displays the image. If you click on the code, you’ll get a much more clear version with nothing cut off. But it’s still an image, so you can’t copy-and-paste the code.
As we mentioned in the book, the list of dot coordinates is available from the download site, so you don’t have to type in all those numbers. (Just copy-and paste them from your browser to the code editor.) But you do have to type in the rest of the program if you want to …


Book in hand

Posted: April 20, 2009 at 8:50 pm

The printed books are finally here!
We have been waiting a long time, and we finally have the printed books in our hands. It’s pretty exciting to actually see it, hold it, and turn the pages.
There was a little glitch with the printing. Due to some kind of error at the printer, some of graphics didn’t print properly in the first printing. Our Production Manager at Manning, Mary Piergies, told us this was the first time this happened in the 13 years she has been working there, and she has produced hundreds of titles. So, of course, it had to happen to our book! (What are the odds…?)
But the corrected copies have now been printed. Anyone who received one of the first printings will get a corrected copy. (None of them went out to retail stores or Amazon. Some went out to people who ordered from the Manning web site.) You can make sure you have the corrected copy if you look on the copyright page (the second page inside the front cover). Near the bottom there is the ISBN number. If it is the corrected version, it says “Second …



Posted: April 7, 2009 at 5:40 am

When we set out to write a book, we had some goals and a vision for how it would turn out. Getting the book written and published was a long and winding road. (It felt, really, really, excruciatingly long at times). So, when we got to the end of it and actually had a book in our hands, we wondered if those initial goals and vision made it through to the end result. Happily, we feel they did. But of course we want to know what others think of it, too. Do kids, parents, teachers, and other readers think the book is useful, readable, and fun?
We’ve started getting some reviews of the book, and it is very gratifying to see that others are noticing and pointing out the very qualities that we tried hardest to include: fun and readable (but not condescending), well organized, suitable for use in schools and at home.
Here are some of the latest reviews from Amazon:
A Wonderful Book, Dec 12, 2011
Great homeschooling programming resource, October 28, 2011
Father Son Project  (“… it is perfect.”), September 22, 2011
Eleven-year-old loves it, August 30, 2011
Almost mistake-proof learning, August 21, 2011
Terrific book for a father/son project, May 23, 2011
A great resource …



Posted: April 7, 2009 at 5:29 am

If you’ve looked at the book (or even just the cover), you might be wondering about the person who did all the wonderful illustrations. His name is Martin Murtonen. You can find out more about his work at his web site.
Although we worked very closely with Martin to get all the illustrations just right, we never met him, until our Book Launch party, even though we live in the same city! All our collaboration was by phone and e-mail.
That’s one of the things about modern communications, and computers in particular. There are many people who work together or are friends who have never met in person. In fact, we have never met any of the people who worked on our book – editors, typesetters, production staff, and so on (except for a few reviewers who we knew before we started). One day we hope to meet some of the people who made our book come to life!