A quick review of Django 1.5 Application Development Starter ebook
Django 1.5 Application Development Starter is an ebook published by Packt Publishing and sold for less than 7 EUR at the time of writing this review.
Few weeks ago the publisher contacted me if I could review their new Django ebook. It took me some time but I managed to go through it and get the big picture of this book. The "Django 1.5 Application Development Starter" consist of 63 pages describing Django 1.5 (based on RC 1 and Python 2) framework - how to get started by developing a typical application using models, forms, templates or admin panel and other framework features.
The ebook is divided into few big chapters. At start we get to know Django - what it is and why it's s cool. Next the installation process, third project creation quickstart. After that we get a bigger chapter describing framework components - settings, models, url patterns, templates, forms and admin panel. It's not a technical description. All is don on an example application (questions and answers) that is being developed page by page using mentioned framework components. By the end we get some information about deployment - basic server configuration including Nginx. The book ends with links to sites, tutorials and social networks where you can search for help or to read even more about the framework.
The good points are that it's based on the latest Django version which includes all those small things that changed since 1.4 or earlier versions. It's the most recent thing you can get (until Django 1.6 or newer). It's also uses an application to showcase the code and features that it want to pass to the reader. You can follow the code and instructions to see live how every change affects the application. This is more effective for beginners than a dry reference.
The bad part is that the author forgot in few places that this book will be for beginners. Installation process is very short and doesn't cover common installation problems (OSX/Windows) or a step by step process for MS Windows (like for example quite quick and easy Active Python installation). One of biggest problems on Django Carrots events was to get that Python (and Django) up and running on various systems and versions (including some OSX and Windows caveats). Also some beginners never used a command line (And for MS Windows you have to know the cmd.exe mystical application).
Looking at the code I would avoid absolute OSX paths and use relative (for SQLite database location) or templates in application template directory instead of fixed templates directory from settings. Only Linux and OSX users will understand such absolute paths ;) Also class based views could save a lot of code writing to handle a form and for similar views. Functions may be better for total beginners, but still they have to write more code. Deployment section could also contain some example of deployment on some popular/cheap Django-compatible servers/hosting.
All in all it's not a bad publication. It could be better, but then it would be bigger and probably not done yet. If you want to start with Django and you are looking for something bigger than the Django intro tutorial you can try this book.