I recently reviewed an excellent title for people who are new to Python. I figured that this new book, Real World Instrumentation with Python would be targeted to more advanced Python programmers. It’s actually another title that is good for people who are new to Python, assuming you have a background in electronic engineering or robotics.
I self-studied a little bit of electronic engineering several years ago, so at least I remember Ohm’s Law and I can read some schematics. Real World Instrumentation with Python is a very specialized guide to writing Python programs for instrumentation hardware. That hardware could be anything from a USB thermometer, to an industrial sized scale hooked up to a PC.
But if you’re new to electronic engineering too, this book features a chapter that acts as an excellent introduction, titled “Essential Electronics.” The book explains many electronic and instrumentation concepts very well, but you’ll get more from this guide if you already have knowledge in those areas.
The third chapter of this book, “The Python Programming Language,” was an excellent supplement to the last O’Reilly Python title I reviewed. It really got me to think of Python as an object oriented programming language, even though Python is very flexible in how objects are assigned and used.
The kind of programs this book teaches readers to write are useful for PCs to record physical data and input from a range of different types of equipment. The physical measurements your programs could record range from resistance to mass, from luminosity to acceleration. The industrial applications for those programs are seemingly endless, in my imagination.
Interestingly enough, Python isn’t the only programming language that this book gets into. It teaches a little bit of C, too. C compliments Python very well, as Python is often compiled in CPython. Adding some C to your instrumentation programs can save the time that your Python programs need to be compiled while running. As some of the measurements can be taken in nanoseconds, that makes a big difference.
Like the last Python book I reviewed, Head First Python, this book also has a lot of handy diagrams. But Real World Instrumentation is a lot more specific in application, and the book, although easy enough for me to understand, is written in a very technical tone.
If you’re technically minded already and are fascinated by electronic theory, this book is for you. Because of the technical and specialized nature of this title, it’s not really for newbies who are just interested in generalized programming concepts.