The Invent with Python Blog

Writings from the author of Automate the Boring Stuff.

Using ChatGPT-4 to Review My Recursion Programming Book

Thu 15 June 2023    Al Sweigart

My 2022 book, The Recursive Book of Recursion (read online for free, buy direct from the publisher) covers recursive algorithms, a notoriously tricky subject for programmers and computer science students. I feel like I did a good job writing it (and my editors at No Starch Press did an incredible job editing it), but I wondered how well Large Language Models (LLMs) like ChatGPT could understand it. I ran the entire book through to see what mistakes or changes ChatGPT would make. The results were disappointing in some places but pleasantly surprising in others, so I wrote this blog post about the role AI could play in editing technical books.


Book Review: Python Distilled

Tue 28 March 2023    Al Sweigart

5 stars. Python Distilled has a perfectly suited title: This book is for experienced programmers who want to learn Python and need the Python programming language's core syntax, standard library, and Pythonic idioms. However, if you're a developer who wants to add Python to your toolbox, I recommend Python Distilled as one of the first books you should read.


How to Run Pip From The Python Interactive Shell with pipfromrepl

Sun 20 November 2022    Al Sweigart

If you are an instructor leading a Python programming workshop, getting third-party PyPI packages installed on students' machines with pip has several hurdles: navigating the command-line, operating system differences, distinguishing between pip and pip3, dealing with multiple versions of Python, misconfigured PATH environment variables, and virtual environments are all possible pitfalls.

You can avoid all of this and save time by using pipfromrepl, which allows you to install PyPI packages from the interactive shell. These same steps work no matter what the computer's Python setup is.


Python Linter Comparison 2022: Pylint vs Pyflakes vs Flake8 vs autopep8 vs Bandit vs Prospector vs Pylama vs Pyroma vs Black vs Mypy vs Radon vs mccabe

Sat 19 November 2022    Al Sweigart

As you can tell from the lengthy title, there are many linting tools for Python. Some of them have near-identical names as each other. In November 2022, I upgraded my text editor to Sublime Text 4 and then took the opportunity to spend a few hours reviewing all of the Python linters I could find. After personally reviewing all of them, I've selected the following as must-haves: Pyflakes, Mypy, and Black. If you'd like additional tools, I also liked: Radon, Pyroma, and docformatter. I'm using Python 3.12.0. I don't care for my linter to point out when I stray from the certain dictates in the PEP 8 document, and my linter choices reflect that. You might have different needs and values than I, so in this blog post I give my reasoning and views for each linter.


Installing Brython to Get Python in Your Browser

Mon 31 October 2022    Al Sweigart

JavaScript is not the only programming language you can run in the browser. Brython is a Python interpreter implemented in JavaScript so you can run Python code in your browser. This lets you have a Python interactive shell without having to install Python. You can also write Python code to interact with the DOM and create browser apps just like you could with JavaScript. The primary downside is that a browser must download about 6 megabytes of JavaScript files before it can run, which can be a significant delay. This blog post guides you through setting up Brython.


17 Online Python IDEs and Interactive Shells/REPLs

Sun 30 October 2022    Al Sweigart

Installing Python is easy, but maybe you're on a smartphone/tablet, are on a library computer that doesn't let you install software, or can't install Python for some other reason. This article has a list of 10 free Python interpreters and interactive shells (also called REPLs) that you can access from a web browser.


How to Run Pip From The Python Interactive Shell

Thu 25 August 2022    Al Sweigart

Installing Python modules with the pip tool is surprisingly hard to describe to beginners learning to code. There are several potential issues: multiple Python installations, virtual environments, PATH environment variable settings. You have to introduce command-line terminals and file system navigation, and the differences between Windows and Mac/Linux. However, there is a line of code you can run from the interactive shell to handle all this for you.


Introducing Humre: Human-Readable Regular Expressions

Tue 23 August 2022    Al Sweigart

Regular expressions (aka regexes) are a mini-language to specify a pattern of text to look for. However, regex syntax is composed of various punctuation marks that can be hard to remember. Humre is a Python module that gives a more human-readable syntax that works better with code editing tools. You can install Humre just like any other Python module with pip install humre and the full documentation is available in the git repo's README file.


Book Review: Make Python Talk

Thu 13 January 2022    Al Sweigart

Mark H. Liu’s “Make Python Talk” is a solid book for anyone who wants to leverage the power of the Python programming language to add speech capabilities to their programs. The chapters cover third-party libraries for speech recognition and text-to-speech in an engaging way.


Book Review: Serious Python

Thu 13 January 2022    Al Sweigart

Serious Python by Julien Danjou is an excellent book for those who have gone through the "hello world" tutorials or those coming to Python from other programming languages, and want a book that teaches you not just how to write code, but how to write code the pythonic way.


Book Review: Tiny Python Projects

Thu 13 January 2022    Al Sweigart

Writing for an intermediate audience is hard, but Ken Youens-Clark has nailed it with Tiny Python Projects. This is a great book for those who have dabbled with a few beginner Python tutorials but still feel like they don't "get" programming. The projects in this book are short and simple; perfect for beginners who want to get experience with actual programs instead of just code snippets.