Community Data Science Workshops (Fall 2014)/Day 0 setup and tutorial

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Welcome to the first Friday evening setup session for Community Data Science Workshops!


When you get to UW and get setup, please do the following things:

  • Start your laptop and get on the wireless network.
  • Work through the goals on this page in order; they should take between 2 and 3 hours. Lots of staff will be around to help troubleshoot and to answer questions — don't hesitate to ask!
  • When you've finished all of the goal, raise your hand and a helper will come over and go through a checklist with you to make sure you're all set for tomorrow.

Please be sure to do the checkoff before you leave — it'll make sure that you are in good shape for tomorrow.

Goal #0: Connect to the UW Wireless

If you already have a UW NetID of your own, you should be all set with the network.

If you are not from UW, you will have to use a temporary shared NetID which we have created for the conference. We'll write the username and password up on whiteboard in each of the rooms we are using. Also, make sure you agree with the UW's policy on the ethical use of computers and networks.

Goal #1: Set up Python

(Estimated time: 5 minutes)

First things first: We need to install the Python programming language. Please complete the instructions below for your operating system:

Goal #2: Prepare a text editor

(Estimated time: 5 minutes)

In addition to being able to run Python, we are going to install a good text editor for writing and saving Python code during the workshop.

If you would like to use a different text editor from the recommendation for your operating system, please let a staff member know.

Goal #3: Practice starting and exiting Python

(Estimated time: 5 minutes)

We'll do a lot of learning and practicing at a Python prompt (this is "interactive" because you are typing the code and hitting enter to run it yourself, instead of running it from a file). So let's practice starting and exiting Python:

Goal #4: Practice navigating the computer from a terminal

(Estimated time: 10 - 15 minutes)

Throughout this workshop, we'll be running Python programs from the terminal, which means we'll want to be comfortable with navigating to those programs from the terminal prompt. In this section, we'll practice using these navigation commands.

Goal #5: Practice running Python code from a file

(Estimated time: 5 minutes)

Interactive Python programming at a Python prompt is great for short pieces of code and for testing ideas. For longer code, it can be easier to save the code in a file, and execute the contents of that file (aka a Python script). In this section, we'll practice running Python scripts.

Goal #6: Download the Saturday projects

(Estimated time: 10 minutes)

Goal #7: Start learning Python!

(Estimated time: 60 - 90 minutes)

It's time to start learning, reading, and writing some Python! Tonight, you'll work through a self-directed tutorial. Saturday morning, we'll have an interactive lecture to cover more Python basics.

Goal #8: Practice Python using Codecademy

(Estimated time: 30 - 60 minutes)

It's time to use what we've learned in the tutorial and get some practice thinking about and solving problems in Python.

To give you this practice, we've created custom online practice problems just for this class, using a site called Codecademy!

Tonight, please visit the link below and complete the 8 practice problems in the "Strings and choices" section. Go ahead and skip problem #4 ("Make HTML"). It's not a problem if you do it but we find that it's confusing and we'd prefer to skip it this time.

You don't have to create a Codecademy account to do the exercises, but if you do create an account it'll keep track of which problems you've completed and other statistics.

Goal #9: Checkoff

Tell a staff member that you are ready to be checked off. Together you will go through the following check-off steps:

  • Start a terminal prompt, and from that prompt start Python. Then quit Python.
  • Create a new Python file (with a .py extension). In that file, type: print("Hello World") and then Enter and save the file. From a terminal prompt, navigate to and execute that Python script.
  • Open your text editor, and press "Tab". Use the left arrow key to show the instructor that you are using spaces to indent, not tabs.
  • To test the baby names project installation: navigate to the babynames directory and run
  • To test the Wordplay installation: navigate to the Wordplay directory and run
  • Walk through the Tutorial concept that was most confusing for you. The Tutorial is here.
  • Walk through the Codecademy problem that you had the most difficulty with. The Friday Codecademy questions are here.

If you have any other questions about the tutorial, project setup, or Codecademy questions, now is a great time to ask!


You are done with the Friday portion of this Workshop. We'll see you at 9:45am tomorrow back here.

DO NOT BE LATE: you don't want to miss the beginning of the interactive lecture!

If you have any questions, comments, or feedback on tonight's material, don't hesitate to let a staff member know.