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The Definitive Guide to Pylons (Expert's Voice in Web Development) Paperback – December 24, 2008

3.4 out of 5 stars 8 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

James Gardner is an Oxford University graduate in physics, cofounder of the Pylons web framework, and founder of 3aims Ltd, a knowledge interaction technology consultancy based in London. The majority of his professional experience has been in the development and support of research and development systems for three different National Health Service organizations in the United Kingdom, and he also coded the popular "What Should I Read Next?" book recommendation service. James has been writing computer programs since he was a small boy. When he first got his hands on a Sinclair ZX Spectrum, he was very proud to show his grandmother the flashing colored shapes he had managed to get to appear on a black background on the TV. The excitement and satisfaction of being able to create something extraordinary from a series of carefully ordered characters in a file and a little bit of logical thinking has never left him. James is heavily involved in open-source software, and in addition to his involvement in Pylons, he wrote the Python web modules AuthKit and FormBuild and has a keen interest in authentication and single sign-on systems such as OpenID. He is an advocate of building web applications with the Web Server Gateway Interface APIs that you'll learn about in his book, The Definitive Guide to Pylons. While not traveling to London or Oxford, James enjoys nothing more than discussing ideas with challenging and like-minded individuals or sitting down with a cup of tea, a pile of blank paper, a pen, and an Internet connection to think about better ways to solve complex problems using web technology. In his spare time, James enjoys everything to do with the outdoors from cycling to climbing and from astronomy to scuba diving. In fact, he recently went on a dive trip to the Farne Islands off the coast of Northumbria in the United Kingdom, where he thoroughly enjoyed having his equipment nibbled by inquisitive seals. James is lucky enough to have traveled widely and enjoys meeting new people and learning about the different ways people see the world. James' company's web site is at 3aims.com, and he maintains a personal blog documenting his experiments with Python and Linux, amongst other things, at JimmyG.org.
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Product Details

  • Series: Expert's Voice in Web Development
  • Paperback: 568 pages
  • Publisher: Apress; 2009 edition (December 24, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1590599349
  • ISBN-13: 978-1590599341
  • Product Dimensions: 7 x 1.3 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.8 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,808,136 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
I found the book immensely helpful to kick-start a Pylons project I am working on. Every question I had in mind about how something worked was fully answered in the corresponding chapter. If you worked with Rails or Django and interested in Pylons, definitely get this book.

Its not all rosy, however. There are two things about this book that don't let me give it a 5 star rating.

First, there is an inconsistent assumption the author makes about reader's prior knowledge of web development and MVC frameworks. Some chapters would be harder for me to understand without my previous experience with Ruby on Rails, so I wonder if people without similar backgrounds could follow through. Yet some other chapters are obviously written for people without any web development experience: they are overly verbose and waste time needlessly explaining basics of web, http, caching and so on.

Second, the book isn't very smooth in its transitions from chapter to chapter, like if it was written by different people. I suspect this isn't authors fault but simply a reflection of what Pylons is. Since different parts of Pylons (views, form handling, ORM, routing, etc) come from different people they aren't always smoothly integrated and this fact gets reflected in the book as well. But hey, that's the whole point of using this framework!
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Format: Paperback
I've been intrigued by Pylons for a while, but I've found the online documentation inadequate for developing a deep and broad understanding of the framework. I like to thoroughly understand any substantial framework I use.

So, I was thrilled when I saw I first saw this book. On top of covering Pylons concepts (e.g. how those mysterious Pylons globals work) and real-world usage very thoroughly, it also covers other important web application programming topics, such as WSGI, Unicode, various data stores, and JavaScript. The tutorial chapters get a little lengthy, but a lot that goes into explaining how the sample code works.

This is not a quick-and-dirty "how to" book. This is a book that helps you thoroughly understand Pylons, so that you can mold it to your will.
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Format: Paperback
I'm a scientist and hobby programmer with long-time unix/linux and database (postgres) experience and a bit of python. I've always sort of dreaded webapp development, but been very curious at the same time. I knew i'd need to learn a good MVC framework eventually, but i was reluctant.

I discovered the online version of this book (which is free and open source; the website is a very nice way to search the book!), and have used it extensively in the last year to learn pylons and webapp development from the ground up, and i've really enjoyed the entire process.

I find this book unique in its "walk through all the details" approach. It's amazingly readable. Sure, some of the chapters are slower and more detail-filled than others, but I can sit and *read* it. It uses sentences that are arranged into paragraphs, into chapters. You know, the way books *used* to be? In any case, it's *not* a long, tedious list of facts designed to look like a book. I've relied upon online python and pylons docs to fill in some gaps, but overall, the book is thorough and spot-on.

I'm buying the physical book so that i can take it to my favorite coffeeshop and really read it. Screen reading is a great way to miss details. There are years of distilled experience in this book, up to and including how to structure a non-trivial development effort.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Though full of information and good reference material, to read this book sequentially is confusing and overly verbose.

I'd like to see this author write a reference volume, rather than a tutorial-natured book like this attempts to be.
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