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The Definitive Guide to Django: Web Development Done Right (Expert's Voice in Web Development) 1st Edition

26 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-1590597255
ISBN-10: 1590597257
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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Jacob Kaplan-Moss is one of the lead developers of Django. At his day job, he's the lead developer for the Lawrence Journal-World, a locally owned newspaper in Lawrence, Kansas, where Django was developed. At the Journal-World, Jacob hacks on a number of sites including,, and, and he is continually embarrassed by the multitude of media awards those sites win. In his spare time what little of it there is he fancies himself a chef.

Adrian Holovaty, a web developer and journalist, is one of the creators and core developers of Django. He works at, where he builds database web applications and does "journalism as computer programming." Previously, he was lead developer for World Online in Lawrence, Kansas, where Django was created. When not working on Django improvements, Adrian hacks on side projects for the public good, such as, which won the 2005 Batten Award for Innovations in Journalism. He lives in Chicago and maintains a weblog at

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Product Details

  • Series: Expert's Voice in Web Development
  • Paperback: 447 pages
  • Publisher: Apress; 1 edition (December 9, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1590597257
  • ISBN-13: 978-1590597255
  • Product Dimensions: 8 x 1.1 x 10.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.7 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (26 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,162,703 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

45 of 46 people found the following review helpful By James Stewart on February 22, 2008
Format: Paperback
Django is a framework I've long (in web years) held in some esteem, despite never having used it before the past few weeks. The framework's creators' many well reasoned contributions on all manner of debates about the web suggested a thoughtful approach, and the range of high quality sites powered by Django has kept growing, with the recent launch of EveryBlock being a prime example of its capabilities. So I was delighted to receive a copy of The Definitive Guide to django: Web Development Done Right for review.

Authored by two of the creators of Django: Adrian Holovaty and Jacob Kaplan-Moss, the book is carefully structured, initially placing django in context by exploring various approaches to web development, and then stepping through initial project creation, templates, models, url configuration, django's famed admin interface, and so on. After eight chapters it changes tack and switches from basic tutorial to more in-depth exploration of areas like the ORM, session handling, caching and deployment. Several appendices provide supplementary material.

The first few chapters do a good job of laying out the foci of the framework's architecture and it's Model Template View (MTV) approach. Its pace is measured and while I wonder if it might be a little too much too soon for those totally new to full stack web frameworks, it would work well for those coming from a background building web apps with PHP, Java, or for those of us who are used to working with Rails. There are new techniques to learn and I found the book particularly useful for grasping the deeply pythonic approach, favouring flexibility over convention.

A clear example of that comes in the use of Context objects for passing values between Views and Templates.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By thanos vassilakis on June 16, 2009
Format: Paperback
I've been coding in Python for a profession since 1995 and have over the years developed several web frameworks. They could never compete with Django, Pylons, Rails, Nitrogen, etc, but since they were my own I always found it easier to use them. Now, just recently, I got several important web applications to build. The first one was a casino. So I thought it's time try something new and use one of the big frameworks. The casino was going to be a rewrite of a python casino I developed for Caesars in 1995. So I had to choose one of the python frameworks. I've already done some work in TurboGears (and Zope is for other things...) so that left me Django and Pylons. I bought The Definitive Guide to Pylons (Expert's Voice in Web Development) and The Definitive Guide to Django: Web Development Done Right. I read both from cover to cover twice over but I knew from the first few chapters that Pylons and Gardner had won. Why? The Pylons book really gave me something. I came away from it full of enthusiasm to program in Pylons!

"The Definitive Guide to Django" is a weak but not bad book. On the Django frame work itself it adds little to what you can get from reading the web site documentation. The examples don't really develop typical web development problems: DB schema changes and migration, Complex DB interaction, Site security, (How do you add data or subclass Djangos user ?), Ajax, testing, and releasing, interfacing to payment systems, etc.
Chapter 14 - "Other Contributed Frameworks" was nice, but you don't buy a book for just one chapter, or do you ?
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74 of 98 people found the following review helpful By HugeStakkaBoFan VINE VOICE on January 29, 2008
Format: Paperback
I buy books like these because I don't like reading documentation on a computer screen where I can't dog-ear or highlight anything, but after several bad experiences I'll probably avoid these black and yellow striped titles the same way I avoid black and yellow striped insects in the future. O'Reilly books are frequently hit-or-miss affairs, but everything I've seen come out of Apress looks like it was typeset by a 12 year old and simply isn't worth the money. It seems as though anyone who's ever written a single line of code and given it away for free can get a publishing deal these days.

Forgetting for a moment the various reasons why Django itself fails to live up to its own "perfectionist" hype, this book is just not very good. The first couple of chapters do a decent job covering introductory topics, but it quickly becomes apparent that the authors were in a big hurry to finish the rest of it as quickly as possible. There's even a "guest author" brought in at one point for no apparent reason, and his chapter is one of the worst. Those few examples that are given in latter, more advanced, sections are nothing but code that is so full of typos it never should have made it to publication. This is why developers are seldom allowed to pen their own public documentation whether they fetch coffee at a podunk newspaper or not--you spend enough time staring at your own code that you lose all sense of perspective and can no longer approach it as a newcomer would. You know what works best for you and your rapidly balding twenty-nothing IRC clique, and you figure that's good enough for everyone else. It ain't.

Another problem with letting the creators write their own "definitive" books is the way they tend to glance over the framework's shortcomings.
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