I719 Fundamentals of Python

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This class is python for beginners, taught Spring 2017


My email is eroman@itcollege.ee

Frequently Asked Questions

What should I know already

It would be good to know:

  • How to use the unix command line
  • GIT

What editor/IDE should I use?

Whatever you want! I recommend learning emacs or vim. If you do not know how to use any specific editor and do not want to learn one now, then use spyder for writing python.

What python version are we using?

I will teach using python 3

What books/resources do you recommend?

This page contains most of python's syntax: https://learnxinyminutes.com/docs/python3/

What software do I need to install?

You only need python 3 and an editor.

I recommend that you install an interactive python shell, like IPython1 or bpython2


There will be a test on the last day. It is pass/fail. You may do a project instead of the test. I recommend this, since it will be more fun and you will learn more.


The test will cover only builtin python types and only use the standard library. There will be 3 test dates. The format will be A series of unit test cases which you must write a function that will make the unit test pass.

You may use the internet during the exam.

Test dates

Primary date: Thursday March 23rd, starting at 8:15AM Primary date for class 2: May 25th, starting at 8:15AM

Makeup date 1: 01.06.2017 10:00-11:30 410

Makeup date 2: 07.06.2017 12:00-13:30 410

Test topics

Example problem

from unittest import TestCase

class StringCountTestCase(TestCase):
    Write a function that for any string, prepends 'Hello '
    >>> test_function('Bob')
    'Hello Bob'
    def setUp(self):
        self.test_function = None  # Assign to your function

    def test_sally(self):
        result = self.test_function('Sally')
        self.assertEqual(result, 'Hello Sally')

Example solution

python3 -m unittest exam.py

from unittest import TestCase

def prepend_hello(string):
    return "Hello {}".format(string)

class StringCountTestCase(TestCase):
    Write a function that for any string, prepends 'Hello '
    >>> test_function('Bob')
    'Hello Bob'
    def setUp(self):
        self.test_function = prepend_hello

    def test_sally(self):
        result = self.test_function('Sally')
        self.assertEqual(result, 'Hello Sally')

Practice Test


Real Test for 23/03/17


Example solutions:


Real Test for 25/05/17


Example solutions:


Real Test for 01/06/17


Real Test for 07/06/17


Project due date

Git Repo with Readme, before 6th class

Completed project, 7th class

Project Requirements

  • it can do something
  • it uses version control
    • it has more than one commit
    • it has commit messages that are relevant to the commit
  • it has a relevant unit test
  • it has a README that describes what it does and how to run it.

Project idea examples

  • a game
  • exploring a technology like image recognition
  • a command line tool that does something
  • a web application in python
    • Flask is simple and has good documentation for building a website
    • for a website that would require users to sign up and login, consider Django
  • a web scraper
  • many websites have HTTP APIs that can give you data, you can make something that uses data from public APIs.

If you want to do things with cryptography

  • a cryptographic chat app
  • a password storage bank like KeePassX

Can I ...?

Can I use python 2?


Can I use external libraries outside of the standard library?


If you use external libraries, include a requirements.txt or setup.py which has a list of packages required by your project

Project Tips


include a .gitignore file in the root directory of your project. This will prevent .pyc and __pycache__ from being added to your git project.

You can save this file as .gitignore: https://github.com/github/gitignore/blob/master/Python.gitignore

Lecture Notes


recordings are found here: https://echo360.e-ope.ee/ess/portal/section/fc0c6bfd-9187-4365-b2c9-0085b3a89906

Testing Python Code


Interpreting test results


Lecture 1

Running python, integers, booleans, strings, lists, for and if, functions https://wiki.itcollege.ee/index.php/I719_Fundamentals_of_Python/lecture1v2

Old lecture notes:

Basic types, lists, for-loops, functions, imports and classes https://wiki.itcollege.ee/index.php/I719_Fundamentals_of_Python/lecture1

Lecture 2

Dictionaries, importable modules, classes


Old lecture notes:

importable modules, unit tests, dictionaries https://wiki.itcollege.ee/index.php/I719_Fundamentals_of_Python/lecture2

Lecture 3

Console input, exceptions, unit testing, command line arguments, opening files


Old version:

Command line arguements, opening and using files, csv files https://wiki.itcollege.ee/index.php/I719_Fundamentals_of_Python/lecture3


file to count words in: http://pastebin.com/3faqcc5j csv file: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1uSbHeppEyKNxF0WncvhxTBF8wj_co0v5XOYlXKLL8Lg/edit?usp=sharing

Lecture 4

Making a basic dynamic website https://wiki.itcollege.ee/index.php/I719_Fundamentals_of_Python/lecture4v2

Old version:

Exceptions, slices, Http request to get JSON data, Basic dynamic website https://wiki.itcollege.ee/index.php/I719_Fundamentals_of_Python/lecture4

Lecture 5

datetime, csv files


Old version:

Advanced testing, datetime, python style guide. https://wiki.itcollege.ee/index.php/I719_Fundamentals_of_Python/lecture5

Lecture 6

List and Dictionary transformations and manipulations. Intro to numpy with linear algebra and intro to pandas with extracting data from a csv. https://wiki.itcollege.ee/index.php/I719_Fundamentals_of_Python/lecture6

Lecture 7

Reduce function, using break and return for control flow, handling user input, handling errors