Discussion forum for David Beazley

Python Essential Reference, 5th Edition


Well, I’ve finally started work on the 5th Edition of the Python Essential Reference. All I can say about it right now is that it’s going to fully embrace Python 3 and use Python 3.6 as a starting point. I’m hoping that it will be a very modern take on the language and library. Of course, the real challenge is just getting the time to work on it!

If you’ve liked previous editions and have ideas for improvement, I’d love to get your feedback.


I’m very glad you are doing this as 3, not 2+3 or “3 with a smattering of 2”.

More detail on subprocess; it’s central to a lot of people’s work.


More examples in encode and decode would be grand.

Maybe don’t bury the builtins so far into the book.


That’s a great idea. We await


Oh, Python 2 is very much going to be dead, as in not just pining for the Fjoords dead, in this edition. I’m already using things like f-strings in some of the first examples. I’m done with Python 2.

I’m not exactly sure how I’m going to approach the standard library section of the book just yet. There are probably going to be some major changes to how that is covered though.


I differentiate built-ins from the standard library because they don’t need an “import” and the lack of a dot when using them. That’s probably the wrong way to think about them, but it’s kinda wired into my fingers.

Listing the built-ins by topic would be helpful, but will probably seem arbitrary to you as you are making the topics. I actually like the current chapters for the standard library, although I think some can be combined into longer chapters on related topics.


Thanks. FYI, the first “essential reference” was the first and only Python book I’ve ever purchased. :slight_smile:


How’s work on the 5th edition going? Do you have an approximate ETA?


Waiting for it eagerly…!!


I am looking forward to have this book.
The previous 4th edition is great book which I still recommend to people who wants to quickly get familiar with python and python way.
It wood be great to have the 5th edition focused only on 3.6+ version of python. Probably with small remarks for 3.5 but it is not necessary (would not recomend).
Who wants python 2.6+ can read previous version which is awesome.
What to include:

  • more deep generator and coroutines
  • asyncio and all “weird” staff like aenter and so forth.
  • packages, namespaces


Is it possible for your 5th Edition to include a language feature summary at the end of each chapter? Like a cheat sheet of concepts covered in that chapter? Maybe if there are “too many” ideas in a given chapter, then put a cheat sheet in the middle covering half of what’s discussed. Stuff like that.
I like to use your book as much for a Pocket Reference as I do an Essential Reference, know what I mean? Maybe it depends on what your publisher allows :slight_smile:


I’m so excited for the 5th edition!


The fourth edition continues to be a valuable reference to me. For the fifth edition, please consider discussing typing.NamedTuple (e.g. defaults, specified values, guaranteed unique values, etc.) and enum.Enum (and its siblings IntEnum, IntFlag, and Flag). Perhaps these are sufficiently “essential” to be included?


Re-opening this thread: How is progress coming on the Fifth Edition? My earlier offer to read through the manuscript still stands!


Not much of an update to report at this time. Sorry.


Hi,Dave,Still looking forward to your book,because I learnt so much from <python cookbook 3rd> and <python essentional reference 4th>,keep going!!!


So looking forward to the release of this book