The old book
I am very excited to announce that I am involved in writing another book about progamming! The 2012 book that I wrote with Ian Korf — Unix and Perl to the Rescue!: A Field Guide for the Life Sciences (and Other Data-rich Pursuits) — was enjoyable to write, and seemed to be well received — (4.5 star average on Amazon.com) and so we both wanted to do something else.
We wrote about Perl because it is the language that we had both used since the mid-1990s, and for a long while Perl was the language du jour for people working in bioinformatics. This has changed. The TIOBE software index uses search engine queries to track the popularity of all programming languages over time. In 2000, Perl was the 4th most popular language whereas Python ranked 24th. As of July 2015, Python has risen to 5th place, overtaking Perl which has dropped to 11th place. Not only is Python proving an extremely popular language, it is swiftly overtaking Perl in many areas involving the processing of biological data.
The new book
So we made a proposal to Cambridge University Press to write what we are provisionally calling Unix and Python to the Rescue! (this will no doubt be the start of a successful series which will culminate in Unix and Minecraft to the Rescue!). Happily, they have accepted our proposal and so we have recently started the process of writing the new book (hopefully due to be published in 2016).
We intend for this book to fulfill many of the same goals that we had for our earlier book:
- Contain basic material that introduces Unix & Python to someone who has never sat down at a terminal or written a line of code before.
- Include many advanced programming concepts in addition to the basics.
- Where possible, only introduce one new concept at a time.
- Write in a lively, engaging style in order to make the concepts fun!
For item #2, we envisage our book addressing topics such as NumPy, ScyPy, IPython Notebooks, and the pandas package, to name but a few!