From: John W. Shipman <john@nm...> - 2012-03-16 18:47:43
I've been working through this excellent new book on Matplotlib:
Tosi, Sandro. Matplotlib for Python developers. Packt
Publishing, 2009, ISBN 978-1-847197-90-0.
I've been teaching Python classes for 15 years. Until now, all I
could do in the Matplotlib unit is throw some small examples at
the students and then point them at the 800 pages of reference
documentation and say "Here is documentation for the 10,000 tiny
pieces of Matplotlib. Good luck figuring out how to assemble
Tosi's book is exactly what Matplotlib has needed for so long: a
proper tutorial. Tosi starts with the absolute basics: plot Y
against X; add a title; add axis labels; plot two functions of
the same variable; and so on, a progression that eases the new
user first into the features that most people will use.
The writing is clear, the examples constructed and explained
well, with a nice balance of theory and practice.
In particular I appreciate the shift in chapter 4 to a more
Pythonic, object-oriented approach. The author places Pylab in
its proper context (great for playing around) but I agree that
for serious production applications and modular design the object
approach is the way to go.
The only extremely minor quibbles I have are with the editing.
None of the editorial crew seem to be native English speakers.
Take for example the highly useful diagram on page 59, "Plot
types". This diagram helps you figure out what kind of plot
fills your needs. However, the title is "Chart Suggestions -- A
Tought-Starter [sic]"; that should be "Thought-Starter". On the
same diagram, there are two references to "Tree Variables" that
probably should be "Three variables".
However, don't let that put you off. This is just the right book
for people starting out. I found very few typos, and none of
them reduced the book's usefulness.
Standard disclaimer: I have no financial interest in this
book; I'm just a happy reader.
John Shipman (John@...), Applications Specialist, NM Tech Computer Center,
Speare 146, Socorro, NM 87801, (575) 835-5735, http://www.nmt.edu/~john
``Let's go outside and commiserate with nature.'' --Dave Farber
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