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Wxpython in Action Paperback – March 1, 2006

4.2 out of 5 stars 34 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Noel Rappin is a Senior Consultant at Obtiva. A Rails developer for five years, Noel has spoken at RailsConf and Windy City Rails, and is the author of Professional Ruby on Rails from Wrox Press. A blog relating to this book can be found at http://www.railsrx.com.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 552 pages
  • Publisher: Manning Publications (March 1, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1932394621
  • ISBN-13: 978-1932394627
  • Product Dimensions: 7.6 x 1.2 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (34 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #630,246 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Michael Pirnat on July 4, 2006
Format: Paperback
If, like me, you've been living under a rock (inasmuch as one can in the world of cross-platform GUI toolkits), you might not have heard much about wxPython. And if, like me, you were excited by the idea of quickly developing modern, robust GUI-driven applications that can run, without changes, on Windows, Mac OS X, and various UNIX-like systems, but turned off by the downright spartan and unforgiving online documentation, you can get happy again--with the publication of Noel Rappin and wxPython co-creator Robin Dunn's wxPython in Action, there is finally a cogent, coherent hybrid of tutorial and reference for wxPython that will get you out from under all that clunky Tkinter code and doing cool stuff.

Like other volumes in Manning's In Action series, wxPython presents a comfortable combination of introduction, overview, and example that encourages exploration and experimentation. The text is clear and concise, offering a no-nonsense explanation of the most relevant portions of the wxPython libraries and the best practices for their use, delivered at a measured pace that never manages to overwhelm, and uncannily launches into explanations of your questions just as they arise. Numerous reference tables provide a handy guide to the details (object properties, method signatures, events, etc.) that you'll be coming back to in your own future development. The expanded table of contents, listing each of the "how do I..." subsections of each chapter, is also a nice feature that will help make this a valuable reference. Code examples are functional, clean, and on-topic, just the right size to illustrate the concept at hand, and nearly always accompanied by illustrations of the resulting behavior.
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Format: Paperback
I have dabbled in python some and played with 3 GUI toolkits for it: Tkinter, wxPython, and PyQT, but never had a good comprehensive manual to learn from. Scattered tutorials on the web of varying quality didn't help much.

Because of the 5-Star reviews for this book here on Amazon I purchased it and after having it 1 week I will add my 5-Star rating. This book is fantastic.

The writing is straightforward, the examples are clear, everything is explained concisely but comprehensively. I started at the first chapter and was very pleased that it started immediately with several simple GUI examples called bare.py and spare.py, for example.

Far too many programming books spend 1/3 of the book doing a basic tutorial of the language before you get to anything useful. Not this book. It states you should be somewhat familiar with Python and recommends another book if you need to learn it. So if you are beyond the basics and worried about getting another dumbed-down textbook, you can stop worrying; This book is ALL useful content.

I am immensely pleased with this book. Internet tutorials are useful for many things, so do not imagine I consider them useless for learning. But this book is superior and it is worth every penny.
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Format: Paperback
I've probably been spoiled by the excellently written tutorial for Java's Swing. wxPython in Action just barely covers the necessities. It has slightly more content than what's available online, but the structure of it makes it highly unsuitable as a reference.

The book boasts numerous tables that list most commonly used methods or classes for each topic, but the list is not exhaustive. Coupled with the rapidly changing API, the lists are nearly useless. There are also no screenshots with the various widgets all shown for comparison purposes or just to figure out which one you want.

Sections are constructed around questions, such as "How can I use file picker?", or "What color names are predefined?" Which is fine usually, except sometimes, the authors merely cover a very specific question instead of properly introducing a new widget and its functionality.

There are numerous other examples of where the book falls short. Sizers, similar to Swing's LayoutManagers, get a very brief treatment, focusing mostly on the, in my opinion, rather useless GridSizer. Compare this with the Swing Tutorial's in-depth treatment of each individual LayoutManager.

Want to know how to handle mouse events like the scroll wheel? Tough luck, because there's absolutely nothing in the book about it. Instead, the book gives you the basics of event handling and probably expects you to look up the details of scroll wheel handling in the API docs online (which do not have example code).

Overall, this book may be fine for getting you started on a basic application, say, a GUI front-end to a database. Anything more advanced and you had better be ready to get down and dirty with the online API docs.
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There is only one book on wxPython. If you have any serious interest, there are not a lot of choices. You have to get this book (Rappin and Dunn). The same is true of the wxWidgets by Smart, et. al.

This book contains lots of great samples of what you can do with wxPython. Great. If your problem looks like the sample, you can use the sample code.

If you want to go beyond the sample code, you are handicapped in two ways:

1) When flags, events, methods, etc. are discussed, the discussion introduces only the most often used. The tables which discuss the resources available to you start off incomplete.

2) The index is not strong. I count 544 pages covered by 1200 index entry lines. By contrast, the wxWidgets book is 662 pages, covered by 3240 index entry lines. When I need to look something up, I often find that neither book has an index entry for what I am looking for.

In contrast, Python Essential Reference by Beazley invariably has an entry for what I want to know. I hardly ever turn to the electronic documentation for Python itself as Beazley answers my Python questions in a single reference.

With wxPython and wxWidgets, I often need to turn to the electronic documentation because these two books need supplementation to serve as references.
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