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Interview Questions
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Why Python

The reasons to use Python as a first language to learn programming are manyfold. First, there are studies that show that Python is well designed for beginners [Wang2002] and the language has been explicitely designed by its author to be easier to learn [Rossum99]. Next, it is more and more often used in bioinformatics as a general-purpose programming language, to both build components and applications [Mangalam2002]. Another very important reason is the object-orientation, that is necessary not just for aesthetics but to scale to modern large-scale programming [Booch94][Meyer97]. Finally, a rich library of modules for scripting and network programming are essential for bioinformatics which very often relies on the integration of existing tools.

Differences between function calls and variables

As variable names, function names are stored in a namespace with a reference to their corresponding sequence of statements. When they are called, their name is searched in the namespace and the reference to their sequence of statements is returned. The procedure is the same as for variable names. But unlike them, the following parentheses indicate that the returned value is a sequence of statements that has to be executed. That's why they are even necessary for functions which are called without arguments

How do I run Python

If you want to check something simple run the Python interpreter by typing python or following a shortcut (Windows). The interpreter isn’t very useful for large pieces of code so generally you would want to use your favorite text editor to create the scripts and then execute them.

GUI Programming with Python Using the Qt Toolkit

Update: It can be hard to actually buy the book, especially if you're European. If you have trouble ordering from your bookseller or the publisher, please mail me (boud@valdyas.org), and I'm sure I can help you to a copy.

My book is published! My book is published! After nine months of really intensive typing, GUI Programming with Python Using the Qt Toolkit is available. Published by Opendocs, you can buy a copy from the publishers, or from Amazon, or your local bookstore (they might have to order it, though: the isbn is 0-97003300-4-4).

Non-Programmer's Tutorial for Python/Dealing with the imperfect
So you now have the perfect program, it runs flawlessly, except for one detail, it will crash on invalid user input. Have no fear, for Python has a special control structure for you. It's called try and it tries to do something. Here is an example of a program with a problem:
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