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Wxpython in Action
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29 of 33 people found the following review helpful
on May 12, 2007
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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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on April 20, 2011
I bought this book because I thought that reading it would be a good way to learn wxPython. Big mistake! I'm used to reading difficult books but I've found it impossible to learn wxPython from this book. The main problems are these:

1. It is badly organized. Part I, called "Introduction to wxPython," deals with high-level abstractions and advanced topics. For example, Chapter 6, called "Working with the basic building blocks," is mainly concerned with constructing a drawing program, and doesn't discuss the most basic widgets in wxPython. Only in Part 2, starting on page 183, does the book "explore the essential widgets that make up the core of the wxPython toolkit." Who wants to wade through 182 pages before learning how to do basic things with wxPython?

2. The authors' explanations tend to be vague and incomplete, often omitting very basic information. For example, if I want a user to enter text into the program, then I'll want the program to get that text. Section 7.1.2 of this book, titled "How can I get the user to enter text?" doesn't show how to get the text that the user entered. In fact, the method for getting the text is GetValue() but in this book that is listed in the next section, titled "How do I change the text without user input?" (another example of bad organization). And I didn't find any explanation or example of how to use this very basic method. Another example: Section 7.1.2 says that the style wx.TE_PROCESS_ENTER triggers "a text enter event" when the user presses the enter key but doesn't give the name of this event or say where to find it; in fact it is in section 7.1.8 but you have to hunt to find it.

3. The index is weak. For example, suppose you want to find where wx.TextCtrl is discussed. If you look up "TextCtrl" in the index you won't find it; it is under "wx.TextCtrl." OK, but then the index refers you to pages "189-190, 192, 195, 198" whereas in fact all of pages 189-199 are concerned with wx.TextCtrl. Also, there are no subheadings in the index, so you can't tell from the index where to find specific information about a control.

I made much better progress when I abandoned this book and worked through the online tutorials. But those are very incomplete and I like working with books, so I've now ordered Cody Precord's book wxPython 2.8 Application Development Cookbook; I think I'll like that better.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on February 20, 2010
I was highly disappointed in this book, but perhaps that was due to my high expectations. Documentation of wxPython is weak, and often I've been told "get the wxPython in Action book". However, this book is more of an introduction to GUI programming with wxPython rather than anything closely resembling a reference book.

There are some useful bits in the book, but by and large it will be gathering dust on my bookshelf. The biggest disappointment is the index which is almost completely useless to me. If you are new to writing GUIs in general, this is a good book for getting started. If you're an experienced programmer there's not much to glean from this book.
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