Appreciation Post: Explaining how to read the Python documentation

Thank you for recognising and acknowledging that the Python documentation looks overly technical and scary…and mostly unintelligible to beginning coders. I think this has been the single reason I have given up learning to code many times in my past: everyone just tells me to go read the documentation but this was the first time a lesson explained that most of the arguments in a function (say open()) were constant functions and what that even meant. I always ended up feeling dumb and then eventually quitting.

Learning to code for me has been like people describe how it is to quit smoking: I’ve tried it a hundred times…and failed.


Documentation has too many jargons. You should follow this path that I have listed below. Consult documentation when in doubt.

  1. Read the Zen of Python
  1. Watch the lecture on “Transforming Code into Beautiful Idiomatic Python” by Raymond Hettinger.
  1. Read Google Python Style Guide. Great with examples on what not to do (cons or bad) and what to do (pros or good).
  1. Read Python Official PEP 8 Style Guide
  1. Read Python Official Tutorial. You can select specific version.
  1. Supplement Python education class by Google
  1. Other additional resources (that will be updated and) found at Additional Resources Wiki.

Real Python explains really well.