Book Review: Practical Django Projects

James Bennett, the release manager for Django has written a book called Practical Django Projects. At 237 pages, this book is even shorter than Learning Website Development with Django. Miraculously, Bennett manages to pack even more content into his book. He uses three different projects to illustrate the basic concepts of using Django. Early on in the book you are introduced to Django’s generic views mechanism, which makes it very easy to do the kinds of displays that are common in many web applications. Along with generic views, there’s a good treatment of how to keep functionality separated and reusable by good design of URLs. There’s also a much stronger treatment of the templating aspects of Django. He covers template inheritance, but also covers the creation of custom template tags.

Like “Learning Website Development with Django”, “Practical Django Projects” was completed before Django 1.0 shipped, so there are going to be some differences between what is described in the book and what you’ll encounter with Django 1.0. I like both books, and I’m probably biased by the order in which I read them. Either book would be fine for someone learning Django from scratch, but I think that “Practical Django Projects” is the book that I would turn to first when I couldn’t recall how to do something. In addition to the extra topics covered (and that’s not entirely fair because “Learning Website Development with Django” also has a few areas that it covers better), there’s more of an application building focus in Bennett’s book. That emphasis appeals to me, and Bennett has lots of application architecture hints sprinkled throughout the book.

Django is a great piece of work and deserves very serious consideration by people looking to build web applications. I’m glad to see that publishers are getting Django books out into the world.

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