Reading #1

Python Crash Course

Getting started with Python & PlotDevice

Of the many scripting languages in popular use, Python has a reputation for ease-of-learning and power that few others can match. This week's reading assignment is designed to give you a sense of the language's syntax and how it might be applied to the creation of data graphics using PlotDevice.

Primary Reading (chapters 1–3, 9–12)

Getting Started

Supplementary Materials

The official Python Tutorial
Learn Python the Hard Way

Q1: What are some of the pros and cons between using third-party open source code and building your own code? What should one be critical of when using third-party code?

Q2: How can python scripts (images and animations) be incorporated into html websites?

Q3: Are there specific types of data or information that defy being translated into python script?

  • From “Primitives”:
    Why is it necessary to declare “plot=False” instead of inserting the command into the part of the code where it the user wants it to run between? As in, instead of stating a variable to be called or run later in the code, why not put that command later in the code?

  • From “Collections”:
    In what situation(s) would it be necessary to use append/del commands instead of deleting it from the original string?

  • From “Serialization”:
    Is there a difference between using single and double quotations? Are single quotations only used in brackets?

R1 Response Questions

  • Does the “ease” of Python or its lack of complex syntax have any negative impact on what it can produce?

  • What are the differences in capabilities between Processing and PlotDevice?

  • How can PlotDevice be used to interpret/visualize API data?

Reading Response

1) Is Python/PlotDevice intended for web use? If not, what are the benefits of using this over a program that can be hosted on the web?

2) What are the specific differences in syntax between Python/PlotDevice and Processing (or other common programming languages)?

3) Is there a way to manipulate curves/paths with their handles (like in Illustrator)?

4) In the Chapter 10 section "Strings are lists of characters," if char is defined as a constant variable of choice(alphabet) why is it declared under with/for instead of in the initial setup declaration?


5) Is there a glossary where each command/type is defined other than the Manual?

3 : Questions

1. How do you set python up on a server or web platform?
Or should you?

2. What is the difference between python and R?

3. Is there a way to preview content other than PlotDevice?
Say I want to write my code in sublime text.