Updates and Errata - First printing

This page is broken into two parts, Updates and Errata. Updates address issues that affect whether your code will run or not. Errata refer to minor issues such as typos, and errors in grayed-out code that probably won’t affect the code you’re entering.

If you find an error in the book or can’t get something to work, please let me know. You can reach me through email at ehmatthes@gmail.com, or on Twitter at @ehmatthes.


Chapter 9

In the section Working with Classes and Instances, we build a class that represents a car. One method in the class provides a descriptive name of the car:

    def get_descriptive_name(self):
        """Return a neatly formatted descriptive name."""
        long_name = f"{self.year} {self.manufacturer} {self.model}"
        return long_name.title()

The attribute self.manufacturer should be self.make. This was incorrect in the new code at the top of page 163, and in the grayed-out code on pages 168 and 174.

The correct code should be:

    def get_descriptive_name(self):
        """Return a neatly formatted descriptive name."""
        long_name = f"{self.year} {self.make} {self.model}"
        return long_name.title()


Chapter 12

This only applies if you’re using Python 3.8.

The stable version of Pygame has not been updated to work with Python 3.8 yet. However, there is a recent development version that works with Python 3.8. To install it, run the following command:

$ python -m pip install pygame==2.0.0.dev6

You should use the same command you use to run a Python terminal session on your system, which might be python, python3, py, python3.8, or something else.

If you’ve had any issues running Pygame on macOS, this version of Pygame should address those issues as well.


Chapter 17

Running hn_submissions.py sometimes results in a KeyError (page 373)

The program hn_submissions.py makes a series of API calls to get information about each of the articles on the front page of Hacker News. When processing the data associated with each article, the code looks for the 'descendants' key, which tells us how many comments the article has associated with it. Hacker News is maintained partially as a promotional tool for the startup accelerator YCombinator, and YC companies can make special posts on Hacker News that are exempt from comments. For example, YC companies can make hiring posts that sit on the front page of HN for a while, with comments disabled.

If you run hn_submissions.py when one of these posts is on the front page, you’ll get a KeyError because there is no 'descendants' key for these posts. This doesn’t happen all that often, but if you run into this issue you can catch the KeyError and continue the loop when one of these posts is present:

-- snip --
for submission_id in submission_ids[:30]:
    -- snip --
    # Build a dictionary for each article.
        submission_dict = {
            'title': response_dict['title'],
            'hn_link': f"http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id={submission_id}",
            'comments': response_dict['descendants'],
    except KeyError:
        # This is a special YC post with comments disabled.
-- snip --


Chapter 20

The psycopg2 package (page 448)

There’s one minor change you’ll need to make in order to deploy your Learning Log project to Heroku. On page 448 in the section Installing Required Packages, it says to install the package psycopg2==2.7.*. This should be changed to psycopg2-binary.

Heroku settings (page 456)

If you’re using Django 3.1, which was released on August 4, 2020, you’ll need to add one line to the code on page 456. The settings.py file no longer imports the os module by default, so we need to import it when we create the Heroku-specific settings for deployment.

On page 456, add import os right before the line that imports django_heroku:

# Heroku settings.
import os
import django_heroku
The Python Runtime (page 449)

The latest Python runtimes available on Heroku are listed here. The ones you’re probably interested in are python-3.8.5 and python-3.7.8. You can use either of these in the runtime.txt file described on page 449.

This is not a critical update; if you specify a runtime that’s slightly out of date, Heroku will use the closest match it finds in its available runtimes.



Chapter 6

On page 100, the order of the output for user.py should match the order in which keys were inserted into the dictionary.

On page 102, in Looping Through All the Keys in a Dictionary, the first print call should start with “Hi “:

friends = ['phil', 'sarah']
for name in favorite_languages.keys():
    print(f"Hi {name.title()}.")

    if name in friends:
        language = favorite_languages[name].title()
        print(f"\t{name.title()}, I see you love {language}!")

On page 109, the code that prints each topping should use f-strings:

for topping in pizza['toppings']:

Chapter 7

On page 125, pop() is referred to as a function. This function only acts on an object, so it is more properly called a method.

Chapter 9

On page 176, in the grayed-out code for the __init__() method of the Battery class, the value of battery_size should be 75.

Chapter 10

On page 185, the line print(contents.rstrip()) should be indented at the left margin.

Chapter 13

On page 262 in the code snippet that calculates the value for number_rows, available_height_y should be available_space_y. The listing on page 263 that uses this code is correct.

Chapter 15

On page 323, in exercise 15-3, plt.scatter() should be ax.scatter() and plt.plot() should be ax.plot().

Chapter 19

On page 414, the line that sets the value for labels should have empty quotes:

class EntryForm(forms.ModelForm):
    class Meta:
        model = Entry
        fields = ['text']
        labels = {'text': ''}
        widgets = {'text': forms.Textarea(attrs={'cols': 80})}

The code works fine as it’s written, but the new entry page will differ slightly from the screenshot shown on page 417.


On page 497, the entry for Discord should point to page 484, not page 48.