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Python Cookbook, Third Edition

Python Cookbook, Third Edition

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Recipes for Mastering Python 3

by David Beazley and Brian K. Jones


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Book Details
 Price
 3.00
 Pages
 704 p
 File Size 
 10,236 KB
 File Type
 PDF format
 ISBN
 978-1-449-34037-7
 Copyright©   
 2013 David Beazley and Brian Jones 

About the Authors
David Beazley is an independent software developer and book author living in the city
of Chicago. He primarily works on programming tools, providing custom software
development, and teaching practical programming courses for software developers,
scientists, and engineers. He is best known for his work with the Python programming
language, for which he has created several open source packages (e.g., Swig and PLY)
and authored the acclaimed Python Essential Reference. He also has significant experience
with systems programming in C, C++, and assembly language.
Brian K. Jones is a system administrator in the department of computer science at
Princeton University.

Preface
Since 2008, the Python world has been watching the slow evolution of Python 3. It was
always known that the adoption of Python 3 would likely take a long time. In fact, even
at the time of this writing (2013), most working Python programmers continue to use
Python 2 in production. A lot has been made about the fact that Python 3 is not backward
compatible with past versions. To be sure, backward compatibility is an issue for anyone
with an existing code base. However, if you shift your view toward the future, you’ll find
that Python 3 offers much more than meets the eye.
Just as Python 3 is about the future, this edition of the Python Cookbook represents a
major change over past editions. First and foremost, this is meant to be a very forward
looking book. All of the recipes have been written and tested with Python 3.3 without
regard to past Python versions or the “old way” of doing things. In fact, many of the
recipes will only work with Python 3.3 and above. Doing so may be a calculated risk,
but the ultimate goal is to write a book of recipes based on the most modern tools and
idioms possible. It is hoped that the recipes can serve as a guide for people writing new
code in Python 3 or those who hope to modernize existing code.
Needless to say, writing a book of recipes in this style presents a certain editorial challenge.
An online search for Python recipes returns literally thousands of useful recipes
on sites such as ActiveState’s Python recipes or Stack Overflow. However, most of these
recipes are steeped in history and the past. Besides being written almost exclusively for
Python 2, they often contain workarounds and hacks related to differences between old
versions of Python (e.g., version 2.3 versus 2.4). Moreover, they often use outdated
techniques that have simply become a built-in feature of Python 3.3. Finding recipes
exclusively focused on Python 3 can be a bit more difficult.
Rather than attempting to seek out Python 3-specific recipes, the topics of this book are
merely inspired by existing code and techniques. Using these ideas as a springboard,
the writing is an original work that has been deliberately written with the most modern
Python programming techniques possible. Thus, it can serve as a reference for anyone
who wants to write their code in a modern style.
In choosing which recipes to include, there is a certain realization that it is simply
impossible to write a book that covers every possible thing that someone might do with
Python. Thus, a priority has been given to topics that focus on the core Python language
as well as tasks that are common to a wide variety of application domains. In addition,
many of the recipes aim to illustrate features that are new to Python 3 and more likely
to be unknown to even experienced programmers using older versions. There is also a
certain preference to recipes that illustrate a generally applicable programming technique
(i.e., programming patterns) as opposed to those that narrowly try to address a
very specific practical problem. Although certain third-party packages get coverage, a
majority of the recipes focus on the core language and standard library.

Who This Book Is For
This book is aimed at more experienced Python programmers who are looking to
deepen their understanding of the language and modern programming idioms. Much
of the material focuses on some of the more advanced techniques used by libraries,
frameworks, and applications. Throughout the book, the recipes generally assume that
the reader already has the necessary background to understand the topic at hand (e.g.,
general knowledge of computer science, data structures, complexity, systems programming,
concurrency, C programming, etc.). Moreover, the recipes are often just skeletons
that aim to provide essential information for getting started, but which require the
reader to do more research to fill in the details. As such, it is assumed that the reader
knows how to use search engines and Python’s excellent online documentation.
Many of the more advanced recipes will reward the reader’s patience with a much greater
insight into how Python actually works under the covers. You will learn new tricks and
techniques that can be applied to your own code.

Table of Contents
Preface. . . . . . . . . . . . . . xi
1. Data Structures and Algorithms. . .. . . . . . 1
1.1. Unpacking a Sequence into Separate Variables 1
1.2. Unpacking Elements from Iterables of Arbitrary Length 3
1.3. Keeping the Last N Items 5
1.4. Finding the Largest or Smallest N Items 7
1.5. Implementing a Priority Queue 8
1.6. Mapping Keys to Multiple Values in a Dictionary 11
1.7. Keeping Dictionaries in Order 12
1.8. Calculating with Dictionaries 13
1.9. Finding Commonalities in Two Dictionaries 15
1.10. Removing Duplicates from a Sequence while Maintaining Order 17
1.11. Naming a Slice 18
1.12. Determining the Most Frequently Occurring Items in a Sequence 20
1.13. Sorting a List of Dictionaries by a Common Key 21
1.14. Sorting Objects Without Native Comparison Support 23
1.15. Grouping Records Together Based on a Field 24
1.16. Filtering Sequence Elements 26
1.17. Extracting a Subset of a Dictionary 28
1.18. Mapping Names to Sequence Elements 29
1.19. Transforming and Reducing Data at the Same Time 32
1.20. Combining Multiple Mappings into a Single Mapping 33
2. Strings and Text. . . . . . . .. . . . . 37
2.1. Splitting Strings on Any of Multiple Delimiters 37
2.2. Matching Text at the Start or End of a String 38
2.3. Matching Strings Using Shell Wildcard Patterns 40
2.4. Matching and Searching for Text Patterns 42
2.5. Searching and Replacing Text 45
2.6. Searching and Replacing Case-Insensitive Text 46
2.7. Specifying a Regular Expression for the Shortest Match 47
2.8. Writing a Regular Expression for Multiline Patterns 48
2.9. Normalizing Unicode Text to a Standard Representation 50
2.10. Working with Unicode Characters in Regular Expressions 52
2.11. Stripping Unwanted Characters from Strings 53
2.12. Sanitizing and Cleaning Up Text 54
2.13. Aligning Text Strings 57
2.14. Combining and Concatenating Strings 58
2.15. Interpolating Variables in Strings 61
2.16. Reformatting Text to a Fixed Number of Columns 64
2.17. Handling HTML and XML Entities in Text 65
2.18. Tokenizing Text 66
2.19. Writing a Simple Recursive Descent Parser 69
2.20. Performing Text Operations on Byte Strings 78
3. Numbers, Dates, and Times. . . . . . . 83
3.1. Rounding Numerical Values 83
3.2. Performing Accurate Decimal Calculations 84
3.3. Formatting Numbers for Output 87
3.4. Working with Binary, Octal, and Hexadecimal Integers 89
3.5. Packing and Unpacking Large Integers from Bytes 90
3.6. Performing Complex-Valued Math 92
3.7. Working with Infinity and NaNs 94
3.8. Calculating with Fractions 96
3.9. Calculating with Large Numerical Arrays 97
3.10. Performing Matrix and Linear Algebra Calculations 100
3.11. Picking Things at Random 102
3.12. Converting Days to Seconds, and Other Basic Time Conversions 104
3.13. Determining Last Friday’s Date 106
3.14. Finding the Date Range for the Current Month 107
3.15. Converting Strings into Datetimes 109
3.16. Manipulating Dates Involving Time Zones 110
4. Iterators and Generators. . . . . . . 113
4.1. Manually Consuming an Iterator 113
4.2. Delegating Iteration 114
4.3. Creating New Iteration Patterns with Generators 115
4.4. Implementing the Iterator Protocol 117
4.5. Iterating in Reverse 119
4.6. Defining Generator Functions with Extra State 120
4.7. Taking a Slice of an Iterator 122
4.8. Skipping the First Part of an Iterable 123
4.9. Iterating Over All Possible Combinations or Permutations 125
4.10. Iterating Over the Index-Value Pairs of a Sequence 127
4.11. Iterating Over Multiple Sequences Simultaneously 129
4.12. Iterating on Items in Separate Containers 131
4.13. Creating Data Processing Pipelines 132
4.14. Flattening a Nested Sequence 135
4.15. Iterating in Sorted Order Over Merged Sorted Iterables 136
4.16. Replacing Infinite while Loops with an Iterator 138
5. Files and I/O. . . . . . . . . . 141
5.1. Reading and Writing Text Data 141
5.2. Printing to a File 144
5.3. Printing with a Different Separator or Line Ending 144
5.4. Reading and Writing Binary Data 145
5.5. Writing to a File That Doesn’t Already Exist 147
5.6. Performing I/O Operations on a String 148
5.7. Reading and Writing Compressed Datafiles 149
5.8. Iterating Over Fixed-Sized Records 151
5.9. Reading Binary Data into a Mutable Buffer 152
5.10. Memory Mapping Binary Files 153
5.11. Manipulating Pathnames 156
5.12. Testing for the Existence of a File 157
5.13. Getting a Directory Listing 158
5.14. Bypassing Filename Encoding 160
5.15. Printing Bad Filenames 161
5.16. Adding or Changing the Encoding of an Already Open File 163
5.17. Writing Bytes to a Text File 165
5.18. Wrapping an Existing File Descriptor As a File Object 166
5.19. Making Temporary Files and Directories 167
5.20. Communicating with Serial Ports 170
5.21. Serializing Python Objects 171
6. Data Encoding and Processing. .  . . 175
6.1. Reading and Writing CSV Data 175
6.2. Reading and Writing JSON Data 179
6.3. Parsing Simple XML Data 183
6.4. Parsing Huge XML Files Incrementally 186
6.5. Turning a Dictionary into XML 189
6.6. Parsing, Modifying, and Rewriting XML 191
6.7. Parsing XML Documents with Namespaces 193
6.8. Interacting with a Relational Database 195
6.9. Decoding and Encoding Hexadecimal Digits 197
6.10. Decoding and Encoding Base64 199
6.11. Reading and Writing Binary Arrays of Structures 199
6.12. Reading Nested and Variable-Sized Binary Structures 203
6.13. Summarizing Data and Performing Statistics 214
7. Functions. . . . . .. . . . . . 217
7.1. Writing Functions That Accept Any Number of Arguments 217
7.2. Writing Functions That Only Accept Keyword Arguments 219
7.3. Attaching Informational Metadata to Function Arguments 220
7.4. Returning Multiple Values from a Function 221
7.5. Defining Functions with Default Arguments 222
7.6. Defining Anonymous or Inline Functions 224
7.7. Capturing Variables in Anonymous Functions 225
7.8. Making an N-Argument Callable Work As a Callable with Fewer
Arguments 227
7.9. Replacing Single Method Classes with Functions 231
7.10. Carrying Extra State with Callback Functions 232
7.11. Inlining Callback Functions 235
7.12. Accessing Variables Defined Inside a Closure 238
8. Classes and Objects. . . . . . . . . 243
8.1. Changing the String Representation of Instances 243
8.2. Customizing String Formatting 245
8.3. Making Objects Support the Context-Management Protocol 246
8.4. Saving Memory When Creating a Large Number of Instances 248
8.5. Encapsulating Names in a Class 250
8.6. Creating Managed Attributes 251
8.7. Calling a Method on a Parent Class 256
8.8. Extending a Property in a Subclass 260
8.9. Creating a New Kind of Class or Instance Attribute 264
8.10. Using Lazily Computed Properties 267
8.11. Simplifying the Initialization of Data Structures 270
8.12. Defining an Interface or Abstract Base Class 274
8.13. Implementing a Data Model or Type System 277
8.14. Implementing Custom Containers 283
8.15. Delegating Attribute Access 287
8.16. Defining More Than One Constructor in a Class 291
8.17. Creating an Instance Without Invoking init 293
8.18. Extending Classes with Mixins 294
8.19. Implementing Stateful Objects or State Machines 299
8.20. Calling a Method on an Object Given the Name As a String 305
8.21. Implementing the Visitor Pattern 306
8.22. Implementing the Visitor Pattern Without Recursion 311
8.23. Managing Memory in Cyclic Data Structures 317
8.24. Making Classes Support Comparison Operations 321
8.25. Creating Cached Instances 323
9. Metaprogramming. . . . . .. . . 329
9.1. Putting a Wrapper Around a Function 329
9.2. Preserving Function Metadata When Writing Decorators 331
9.3. Unwrapping a Decorator 333
9.4. Defining a Decorator That Takes Arguments 334
9.5. Defining a Decorator with User Adjustable Attributes 336
9.6. Defining a Decorator That Takes an Optional Argument 339
9.7. Enforcing Type Checking on a Function Using a Decorator 341
9.8. Defining Decorators As Part of a Class 345
9.9. Defining Decorators As Classes 347
9.10. Applying Decorators to Class and Static Methods 350
9.11. Writing Decorators That Add Arguments to Wrapped Functions 352
9.12. Using Decorators to Patch Class Definitions 355
9.13. Using a Metaclass to Control Instance Creation 356
9.14. Capturing Class Attribute Definition Order 359
9.15. Defining a Metaclass That Takes Optional Arguments 362
9.16. Enforcing an Argument Signature on *args and **kwargs 364
9.17. Enforcing Coding Conventions in Classes 367
9.18. Defining Classes Programmatically 370
9.19. Initializing Class Members at Definition Time 374
9.20. Implementing Multiple Dispatch with Function Annotations 376
9.21. Avoiding Repetitive Property Methods 382
9.22. Defining Context Managers the Easy Way 384
9.23. Executing Code with Local Side Effects 386
9.24. Parsing and Analyzing Python Source 388
9.25. Disassembling Python Byte Code 392
10. Modules and Packages. . . . . .. . . . 397
10.1. Making a Hierarchical Package of Modules 397
10.2. Controlling the Import of Everything 398
10.3. Importing Package Submodules Using Relative Names 399
10.4. Splitting a Module into Multiple Files 401
10.5. Making Separate Directories of Code Import Under a Common
Namespace 404
10.6. Reloading Modules 406
10.7. Making a Directory or Zip File Runnable As a Main Script 407
10.8. Reading Datafiles Within a Package 408
10.9. Adding Directories to sys.path 409
10.10. Importing Modules Using a Name Given in a String 411
10.11. Loading Modules from a Remote Machine Using Import Hooks 412
10.12. Patching Modules on Import 428
10.13. Installing Packages Just for Yourself 431
10.14. Creating a New Python Environment 432
10.15. Distributing Packages 433
11. Network and Web Programming. . .. . . . 437
11.1. Interacting with HTTP Services As a Client 437
11.2. Creating a TCP Server 441
11.3. Creating a UDP Server 445
11.4. Generating a Range of IP Addresses from a CIDR Address 447
11.5. Creating a Simple REST-Based Interface 449
11.6. Implementing a Simple Remote Procedure Call with XML-RPC 454
11.7. Communicating Simply Between Interpreters 456
11.8. Implementing Remote Procedure Calls 458
11.9. Authenticating Clients Simply 461
11.10. Adding SSL to Network Services 464
11.11. Passing a Socket File Descriptor Between Processes 470
11.12. Understanding Event-Driven I/O 475
11.13. Sending and Receiving Large Arrays 481
12. Concurrency. . . . . . . . . . . . 485
12.1. Starting and Stopping Threads 485
12.2. Determining If a Thread Has Started 488
12.3. Communicating Between Threads 491
12.4. Locking Critical Sections 497
12.5. Locking with Deadlock Avoidance 500
12.6. Storing Thread-Specific State 504
12.7. Creating a Thread Pool 505
12.8. Performing Simple Parallel Programming 509
12.9. Dealing with the GIL (and How to Stop Worrying About It) 513
12.10. Defining an Actor Task 516
12.11. Implementing Publish/Subscribe Messaging 520
12.12. Using Generators As an Alternative to Threads 524
12.13. Polling Multiple Thread Queues 531
12.14. Launching a Daemon Process on Unix 534
13. Utility Scripting and System Administration. . . . 539
13.1. Accepting Script Input via Redirection, Pipes, or Input Files 539
13.2. Terminating a Program with an Error Message 540
13.3. Parsing Command-Line Options 541
13.4. Prompting for a Password at Runtime 544
13.5. Getting the Terminal Size 545
13.6. Executing an External Command and Getting Its Output 545
13.7. Copying or Moving Files and Directories 547
13.8. Creating and Unpacking Archives 549
13.9. Finding Files by Name 550
13.10. Reading Configuration Files 552
13.11. Adding Logging to Simple Scripts 555
13.12. Adding Logging to Libraries 558
13.13. Making a Stopwatch Timer 559
13.14. Putting Limits on Memory and CPU Usage 561
13.15. Launching a Web Browser 563
14. Testing, Debugging, and Exceptions. . . . . . . 565
14.1. Testing Output Sent to stdout 565
14.2. Patching Objects in Unit Tests 567
14.3. Testing for Exceptional Conditions in Unit Tests 570
14.4. Logging Test Output to a File 572
14.5. Skipping or Anticipating Test Failures 573
14.6. Handling Multiple Exceptions 574
14.7. Catching All Exceptions 576
14.8. Creating Custom Exceptions 578
14.9. Raising an Exception in Response to Another Exception 580
14.10. Reraising the Last Exception 582
14.11. Issuing Warning Messages 583
14.12. Debugging Basic Program Crashes 585
14.13. Profiling and Timing Your Program 587
14.14. Making Your Programs Run Faster 590
15. C Extensions. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 597
15.1. Accessing C Code Using ctypes 599
15.2. Writing a Simple C Extension Module 605
15.3. Writing an Extension Function That Operates on Arrays 609
15.4. Managing Opaque Pointers in C Extension Modules 612
15.5. Defining and Exporting C APIs from Extension Modules 614
15.6. Calling Python from C 619
15.7. Releasing the GIL in C Extensions 625
15.8. Mixing Threads from C and Python 625
15.9. Wrapping C Code with Swig 627
15.10. Wrapping Existing C Code with Cython 632
15.11. Using Cython to Write High-Performance Array Operations 638
15.12. Turning a Function Pointer into a Callable 643
15.13. Passing NULL-Terminated Strings to C Libraries 644
15.14. Passing Unicode Strings to C Libraries 648
15.15. Converting C Strings to Python 653
15.16. Working with C Strings of Dubious Encoding 654
15.17. Passing Filenames to C Extensions 657
15.18. Passing Open Files to C Extensions 658
15.19. Reading File-Like Objects from C 659
15.20. Consuming an Iterable from C 662
15.21. Diagnosing Segmentation Faults 663
A. Further Reading. . . . . . . . . . . . 665
Index. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 667


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Who This Book Is Not For
This is not a book designed for beginners trying to learn Python for the first time. In
fact, it already assumes that you know the basics that might be taught in a Python tutorial
or more introductory book. This book is also not designed to serve as a quick reference
manual (e.g., quickly looking up the functions in a specific module). Instead, the book
aims to focus on specific programming topics, show possible solutions, and serve as a
springboard for jumping into more advanced material you might find online or in a reference.

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