Learn to Code


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"The best part of programming is the triumph of seeing the machine do something useful. Automate the Boring Stuff with Python frames all of programming as these small triumphs; it makes the boring fun."
Hilary Mason, Founder of Fast Forward Labs

Wil Wheaton on reading Automate the Boring Stuff with Python: "I’m having a lot of fun breaking things and then putting them back together, and just remembering the joy of turning a set of instructions into something useful and fun, like I did when I was a kid."

Automate the Boring Stuff with Python is recommended on the Open Source Summer 2015 Reading List!

Everyone should learn to code, but not everyone needs to become a software engineer or computer scientist. Automate the Boring Stuff with Python is written for office workers, students, administrators, and anyone who uses a computer to learn how to code small, practical programs to automate tasks on their computer.

  • Have a folder with thousands of files that need to be renamed?
  • Need to look through thousands of rows in an Excel spreadsheet looking for ones to update?
  • Have to pull text off of several web pages?
  • Want to copy the data from hundreds of PDFs?
  • Have any tedious computer task that you wish you had an intern for?

Normally this would involve hours of mindless clicking and typing. But programming your computer to do it will save you time and effort.

Part 1 of Automate teaches total beginners with no programming experience the Python programming language. Part 2 will be of interest to seasoned developers as well: It covers several modules to extend basic Python skills. Python has a gentle learning curve yet is also used by professional software developers. You don't need to know all the complexities of algorithms and syntax, you just want to write basic programs to automate mundane computer tasks. In the process, even total beginners will learn to use Python to control their computers without having to learn computer science. This is a practical programming guide for the rest of us.

Free to Read Online

Automate the Boring Stuff with Python is released under a Creative Commons license. You can read it, in full, on this website. Programming is a skill that should be in the hands of everyone: No, Seriously, You Should Learn to Code..

Online Course Discount Code

There is also an online course that follows the book if you prefer a video format. Use this link to enter the discount code 50_PERCENT_OFF and get 50% off the full price. You can also see the first 15 videos on YouTube.

Support the Author: Buy the book on Amazon or
the book/ebook bundle directly from No Starch Press.
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Read the author's other free Python books:

Table of Contents

Part 1 - The Basics of Python Programming

  1. Introduction
  2. Python Basics
  3. Flow Control
  4. Functions
  5. Lists
  6. Dictionaries and Structuring Data
  7. Manipulating Strings

Part 2 - Automating Tasks

  1. Pattern Matching with Regular Expressions
  2. Reading and Writing Files
  3. Organizing Files
  4. Debugging
  5. Web Scraping
  6. Working with Excel Spreadsheets
  7. Working with PDF and Word Documents
  8. Working with CSV Files and JSON Data
  9. Time, Scheduling Tasks, and Launching Programs
  10. Sending Email and Text Messages
  11. Manipulating Images
  12. Controlling the Keyboard and Mouse with GUI Automation

Al Sweigart is the author of Invent Your Own Computer Games with Python, Making Games with Python & Pygame, and Hacking Secret Ciphers with Python. His books are freely available under a Creative Commons license from http://inventwithpython.com.