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Python Basics Exercises: Reading and Writing Files (Overview)

Files play a key role in computing, as they store and transfer data. You likely come across numerous files on a daily basis. In Python Basics: Reading and Writing Files, you dove into the world of file manipulation using Python.

In this video course, you’ll practice:

  • Differentiating between text and binary files
  • Using character encodings and line endings
  • Manipulating file objects in Python
  • Reading and writing character data with different file modes
  • Using open(), Path.open(), and the with statement
  • Leveraging the csv module to manipulate CSV data

This video course is part of the Python Basics series, which is complements the book Python Basics: A Practical Introduction to Python 3. Additionally, you can explore other Python Basics courses.

Please note that throughout this course, you’ll be using IDLE to interact with Python. If you’re new to Python, then you might want to check out Python Basics: Setting Up Python before diving into this course.

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Sample Code (.zip)

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Course Slides (.pdf)

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00:00 Welcome to another installment of Python Basics Exercises. In this video course, you’ll practice reading and writing files in Python. Exercises provide an excellent way to strengthen your knowledge and improve your programming skills.

00:15 By solving our carefully selected exercises, you’ll practice writing code, reading other people’s code, and communicating your thought process. Through these exercises, you’ll put the ideas you’ve learned in the related course or tutorial into practice and make them stick.

00:35 For each exercise, you’ll follow three steps. First, you’ll learn about the exercise. I’ll walk you through the relevant instructions so that you can understand the task at hand correctly.

00:46 Then I’ll give you a chance to tackle the exercise yourself. Practicing is the best way to reinforce your knowledge, after all. Finally, in a follow-up lesson, I’ll share with you my approach, showing detailed steps that lead to a working solution.

01:02 This way, you can compare, learn, and elevate your own understanding.

01:07 Note that this Python Basics Exercises course is broken up into three sections. The first section contains a few warm-up exercises that will get you to practice reading and writing generic text files in Python. The exercises in the next section focus on handling comma-separated values files, or CSV for short, which are commonly used for storing data in a tabular format.

01:33 You might have used those files in a spreadsheet program of your choice.

01:37 The last section in this course is a little challenge that will push you past your comfort zone, letting you rise to the next level. It’ll give you a chance to revisit the fundamental Python programming concepts while providing a summary of how to work with files in Python.

01:53 As a result, you’ll build something meaningful that will make it all fit together.

01:58 These three sections mirror the original Python Basics course that this one builds on.

02:06 The related course, which you should watch first, has a similar title minus the exercises part. If you haven’t watched it yet, then please follow the link listed in the description below, or click the link on the corresponding slide.

02:20 You can download the slides and other resources, including sample code, by expanding the supporting material dropdown, which you’ll find just below this video.

02:31 I’ll be using IDLE, or the Integrated Development and Learning Environment that comes with Python, to demonstrate my approach to solving the exercises. So make sure that you’re familiar with the tool.

02:44 If you’ve gone through other Python Basics courses, then you’ve already seen IDLE in action. If not, and you want to know more, then you can check out these associated courses that cover getting started with IDLE.

02:56 Having said that, if you’re here outside of the Python Basics courses, then feel free to use whatever tool you like to solve the upcoming coding exercises.

03:08 Before you get started, let me share a few useful tips that will help you tackle the exercises or maybe even solve actual programming problems that you might come across later at work.

03:19 It’s always a good idea to read the instructions carefully to make sure that you understand the problem correctly. Try to break a bigger problem into smaller tasks that are more manageable and easier to solve.

03:32 Take your time to think through the problem and come up with a plan before writing any code. It can spare you from implementing something that you wouldn’t need in the first place.

03:43 When writing code, take small steps to help you focus on one small task at a time.

03:49 Keep your code clean and easy to follow. By giving variables descriptive and meaningful names, it will help you and others understand the code more quickly.

03:59 Occasionally, you can use comments to explain difficult or surprising fragments of code. Try to explain why rather than what. Lastly, but not least, validate each step as you go. In the long run, this approach can reduce the time you’ll spend debugging your code when it stops working as expected.

04:21 All right, that was the course overview. I wish you good luck, and I’ll see you in the next lesson.

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