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Python Reference Outline: A Tool for Learning Python Faster

A clean, consistent and comprehensive resource to help you master the Python programming language.
  1. Open-ended - Watch this reference grow as we explore different modules and use cases.
  2. Videos - Access accompanying videos on YouTube.
  3. Web pages - Learn by doing as you follow along with code examples.
by Paul Alan Davis, CFA, November 27, 2018
Updated: June 24, 2019
This reference will grow so make sure to bookmark it and follow updates to the outline below.

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Outline and Guide to Python Reference Material

Beginner

This Python reference simplifies official documentation found at python.org for beginner to intermediate programmers who have yet to memorize the language.

What makes it unique is that rather than dumping a list of things to learn, we prioritize them High, Mid and Low, so you know where to concentrate your efforts.

This repository will be supplemented over time with in-depth explorations of modules beyond those built-in to Python.

Outline: Python Reference

The Reference is broken into four sections and roughly follows a similar structure to the official Python.org documentation under The Python Standard Library but this offers a softer introduction for beginners. Some effort was made to add priorities so beginners know where to focus their energies.

  1. General Lists - Reference lists that apply across the whole language.
  2. Data Types - Built-in data types.
  3. Modules - Modules included in The Standard Library that must be imported.
  4. Third-Party Modules - Third-party modules not included in the Standard Library requiring installation through pip3 or other methods.

1. General Lists that Apply Across the Python Language

Optimized for HTML5, web pages open in the current browser window.

Resources within The Python Standard Library
Name Link Description
Python Help Helpful resources to learn Python 3
Python Keywords The 33 Python keywords and built-in constants
Python Operators Python operators: math, assignment, Boolean, bitwise
Python Built-in Functions The 68 functions built-in to Python
Python Importing The structure and instructions for importing modules
Python Indexing Instructions for indexing and slicing Python sequences
Python Symbols The 57 character combinations with special meaning

2. Python Built-in Data Types

Every Python installation comes with a list of built-in data types. Given that some are more advanced than others, we categorize those beginners typically learn first in the column labeled Priority.

Built-in Data Types within The Python Standard Library
Name Category Priority Link Description
Integers Numeric High Integers
int()
Floats Numeric High Floating point numbers
float()
Complex Numeric Low Complex numbers
complex()
List Sequence High Lists
list()
Tuple Sequence Mid Tuples
tuple()
Range Sequence High Range
range()
Strings Sequence High Text string
str()
Bytes Sequence High Bytes
bytes()
Byte Array Sequence Low Byte Array
bytearray()
Memory View Sequence Low Memory View
memoryview()
Set Set Mid Set
set()
Frozen set Set Low Frozen set
frozenset()
Dictionary Map High Dictionary
dict()
Function Code block High Function
def
Class Code block High Class
class
Try Except Exceptions Mid Try Except
try

Beginners are encouraged to learn the data types characterized as High first.

3. Modules Included in The Python Standard Library

There are over 100 modules in The Python Standard Library. The table below provides an abbreviated list of important ones used at the beginner and intermediate level.

Modules Included with The Standard Python Library
Name Category Priority Link Description
String Text Mid String operations
string
Regular Expressions Text Mid Regular Expressions
re
Readline Text Mid Readline
readline
Datetime Data Types Mid Dates and times
datetime
Calendar Data Types Mid Calendar
calendar
Copy Data Types Mid Copy
copy
Pretty Print Data Types Mid Pretty Print
pprint
Math Math Mid Mathematical functions
math
Random Math Mid Random number generator
random
Statistics Math Mid Statistical functions
statistics
OS Path Files and Directories High File pathname functions
os.path
Glob Files and Directories Mid Linux-style path expansion
glob
Pickle Data Persistence Mid Saving objects
pickle
SQLite database Data Persistence Mid SQLLite 3 database
sqlite3
Gzip Files Data Compression Mid File compression
gzip
Zip Files Data Compression Mid File compression
zipfile
Tar Archive Files Data Compression Mid File compression
tarfile
CSV Fils File Formats Mid Spreadsheet-like tabular data
csv
OS Operating System Mid Operating system interface
os
Input Output Operating System Mid Input / Output tools
io
Scheduler Concurrent Execution Mid Event scheduler
sched
JSON Internet Data Handling Mid Read and write JSON
json
HTML Structured Markup Languages High Replace HTML entities
html
HTML Parser Structured Markup Languages Mid Process and parse
html.parser
HTML Entities Structured Markup Languages Mid List of HTML entities
html.entities
XML Structured Markup Languages Mid Process and parse
xml
Web browser Internet Protocols High Control a web browser
webbrowser
URL handlers Internet Protocols Mid URL programming
urllib
Pydoc documentation Development Tools Mid Generate documetation
pydoc
Virtual environment Software Packaging and Distribution Mid Create virtual environments
venv
System Runtime Services Mid System parameters and functions
sys
Builtins Runtime Services Mid Built-in objects
builtins
Main Runtime Services Mid Top-level scripting
__main__
Inspect Runtime Services Mid Inspect live objects
inspect
Importlib Importing Modules Mid Importing modules
importlib

Reach us on social media to request a reference on a specific Python module in this section.

4. Third-Party Modules

Third-party modules are found outside The Python Standard Library and are typically imported using pip3. As third-party modules, documentation is found at sites other than Python.org. Download information can be found at https://pypi.org.

The following are domain-specific modules explored elsewhere at FactorPad specific to applications of Data Analysis.

Third-Party Modules
Name Category Priority Link Description
Jinja2 Web Development Mid Create HTML templates
Jinja2
Matplotlib Data Analytics Mid Plotting and graphics
matplotlib
Numpy Data Analytics Mid Numerical array processing
numpy
Pandas Data Analytics Mid Data structures
pandas
Scipy Data Analytics Mid Scientific Library
scipy

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