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Practical Django Projects (Expert's Voice in Web Development) Paperback – 2 Jun 2010
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About the Author
James Bennett is a web developer for the World Company of Lawrence, Kansas, and is a major contributor to the Django project. His current role within the Django community is as the software project's release manager.
Top customer reviews
My copy is well-thumbed and has been a familiar companion on my Django journey - in fact, I'm using the very blog from the book to write up every stage of the Django learning process. One star missing for the lack of follow-up, four stars for some really usable applications and very sound advice. Bennett is on the Django team, so he knows his stuff, and the Django entries on his own blog act as an unofficial supplement to the book.
There are other Django texts which have much more reference content, this one assumes you'll find it online. Bennett cuts right to the chase with the best practical workouts, and if you follow them through this is your fast on-ramp to using Django.
The example projects contain mistakes, are tedious to enter and even more tedious to debug. There is some source code available for download but (at the time of writing) it's incomplete. So I found I had to give up half way through after wasting nearly a week trying to complete the weblog project.
I hate to be a quitter but I'm afraid try as I might, this book beat me.
I also bought - The Definitive Guide to Django - which is an excellent introduction to the subject and heartily recommended.
Most helpful customer reviews on Amazon.com
There are several cases in the book where I feel the author introduces something, but leaves off pertinent information required to override Django defaults and get what he suggested to work (e.g. using the numerical representation for months in a URL rather than the three-digit representation).
Also, there are many places in the book where the author is describing code, but doesn't state very clearly where the code should go.
Finally, the author refers to the book's accompanying source code, but that source code doesn't exist. The publisher told me a month ago that they've been in contact with the author, and that the source code will be available "shortly," but it is still unavailable. How many months has the book been out?
On the plus side, I think the author's projects are useful, and with the exception of his use of Markdown for submitting blog entries (in my opinion, he should have showed the use of TinyMCE there as well), well thought out. I also think the author does a good job of introducing the reader to a wide range of Django knowledge.
I'm taking one star away for the lack of clarity in several areas, and one away for the missing source code. If the publisher had fixed the ambiguities, missing information, and had the source code available prior to release, this could easily have been a five-star book for learning Django.
This lack of source code would be excusable if this was a fresh title and there seemed to be an effort to get the source code out, but after searching the blogs and finding an excuse by the author over a year back saying "I have a day job", well that's just inexcusable. I'd almost give it two stars for the excuse, but the content of the book itself is very good, except for the thirty or so references to "getting to source code from the Apress site". Shame on Apress.
This book sits on my shelf as a reference for best practices and a collection of white papers for extending my projects, but I would consider this a third choice. If you're already comfortable with django and "get" everything that's going on, go for this book. If you're still a little "noob-ish" on the topic, move on.
But what if you want to learn to use Django, but don't have a project in mind? How cool would it be if one of the core Django developers created a couple of fully-functional applications, step-by-step, and let you follow along? That's exactly what James Bennett has done here. You can literally be brand-new to Django and finish this book having written multiple Django applications, learning all the major functionality of Django along the way, and even implementing best-practices for creating reusable applications.
If you've been working with Django for any length of time, a lot of this book will feel like review, because it does explain templates, views, URLs, models, and the MTV concept. However, there's a lot in here for you as well.
Here are some of the cool things in this book that you don't find in any of the standard documentation sources:
* How to (easily) integrate a rich-text editor into the Django admin interface
* Use third-party modules such as pygment, the Delicious API, and Akismet spam-blocking
* In-depth examples of creating custom template tags
* Complete examples of integrating django.contrib applications (such as comments and feeds)
* Notes on version control, distributing apps, building and deploying apps
All that and more, plus this is probably the definitive guide to writing your Django applications to be reusable.
In conclusion, if you're brand-new to Django and want a yellow-brick road to walk down, here it is. If you're an experienced Django programmer, you don't need this book, but I practically guarantee you'd learn a couple of things you didn't know. If you are new to Django, however, I highly recommend that once you finish this book you read The Definitive Guide to Django: Web Development Done Right, Second Edition cover-to-cover once you finish this book. It will fill in all the gaps and you'll really be able to do pretty much anything in Django.
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