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Practical Django Projects

samzenpus posted more than 6 years ago | from the read-all-about-it dept.

Programming 151

Chromodromic writes "Apress's newest Django offering, Practical Django Projects by James Bennett, weighs in lightly at 224 pages of actual tutorial content, but trust me, they're dense pages. Filled with pragmatic examples which directly address the kinds of development issues you will encounter when first starting out with Django, this book makes an important addition to the aspiring Django developer's reference shelf. In particular, the book's emphasis on demonstrating best practices while building complete projects does an excellent job of accelerating an understanding of Django's most powerful features — in a realistic, pragmatic setting — and which a developer will be able to leverage in very short order." Read below for the rest of Greg's review.This book serves an important function by providing progressive, useful examples of Django's role in the development of realistic projects. During the course of the tutorial you build three basic apps: A simple brochureware-oriented CMS, a complete blogging system (with Akismet spam protection and RSS feeds, among other features), and a social code-sharing site similar to that found at (with account signups, syntax highlighting via pygments, and bookmarking features — the whole enchilada). You may or may not find these projects immediately relevant to your work or goals, but the projects themselves are really just platforms for delving into Django's nooks and general philosophy. It's an important point to make about the book especially, because though Django itself provides potent facilities for creating reusable code while preserving a high degree of flexibility, "magic" is kept to a minimum compared to some other popular frameworks. It follows that maximizing your knowledge of Django's inner workings through familiar paradigms is critical to making the framework perform to your best advantage. The book excels at accomplishing this goal.

Along these lines, a lot of territory is covered in a short span. You're introduced to a couple of Django's contrib apps — code which comes with a normal Django installation and which cleanly plugs into your own application while remaining extremely customizable. After being ushered through a straightforward installation and database configuration, your first exposure to development is through the contrib app most frequently lauded in the Djangoverse, Django's deservedly well known admin system. But immediately, emphasis is shifted from the basic features of the system to the ways it can be customized. This approach of introducing a feature and then modifying or extending it is repeated immediately with Django's Flatpages contrib app, a very basic CMS which, again, comes with Django and installs with a single line of code and one command.

By the time you've finished the third chapter, you've built the foundation of a typical brochureware site, complete with a working search system and a completely functional customized admin with which you may modify your content using a javascript-based HTML editor (TinyMCE). Pretty impressive for 41 fast-moving pages.

The strongest feature of the book, though, is not the speed or facility with which features are presented, but rather the way these features are always demonstrated with a mind to Django's strongest argument: how easy it is to create reusable code, once you understand the framework's approach. As you move through the next four chapters of building the blogging system, the establish-modify-extend technique of presentation does a good job of working you through various standard Django features — generic views (a very important concept which is illuminated nicely), code organization, ORM techniques, template inheritance, and so forth — and you're smoothly shown the ways by which you will be able to incorporate much of the code you write into your future work. As you begin your last project, the code-sharing app, you've gotten an overview of both coding and workflow techniques which work best with Django. The final chapters reinforce everything you've learned while still introducing new material on library integration, form handling and the newforms library, and code distribution.

The overall approach is very effective, though I found I had to trust the tutorial a little at first in order to get the most out of it. The projects initially seemed somewhat vanilla, so it wasn't until I really focused on the organization of the material that I discovered the book's strengths. Now I wish I'd had this book years ago.

Issues? I had only one, really. The material presents itself as a tutorial suitable for those who are just starting out with Python. For example, near the beginning of the material the def keywork is pointed out as the way Python functions are declared, and similar kinds of notes and comments pepper the tutorial, somewhat unevenly, as well. While I appreciate the impulse to make the material as accessible as possible, I'm skeptical of the book's role as truly introductory at that level, although I could see some experienced developers, especially those coming from other languages, benefiting from these quick notes. But my feeling in general would be that if you're so new to Python that the def keyword is a revelation, you might be better off starting elsewhere before you dive into Django.

This is a minor point, though, and if you're willing to give the material the time, you'll appreciate what Django has to offer more and more with every page. The book maintains a brisk pace which I truly appreciated. And if you've struggled with Django in the past, or you've wanted to learn more about what to do beyond getting the admin running, "Practical Django Projects" is an excellent foundation for your Django education. I absolutely recommend this as the Django book I've found to be, by far, the most useful.

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Django Lessons? (3, Funny)

Illbay (700081) | more than 6 years ago | (#24308653)

Here's a BUNCH of 'em! []

Re:Django Lessons? (1)

RingDev (879105) | more than 6 years ago | (#24308719)

Glad to know that I wasn't the only one left scratching my head about that one.


Stupid question (4, Funny)

SnarfQuest (469614) | more than 6 years ago | (#24308753)

What's django? Hardware? Software? Language? The fine article doesn't really clue me in.

Should I imagine a beowulf cluster of these? Praise our new django masters? Profit? Or pour hot grits into my pants?

Re:Stupid question (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24308823)

Imagine a beowulf cluster of machine-guns in coffins!

Re:Stupid question (4, Informative)

StonedRat (837378) | more than 6 years ago | (#24308849)

A web framework written in Python. And it's better than Rails.

Re:Stupid question (5, Informative)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 6 years ago | (#24309067)

And why is Django [] better than Rails? Well, for one it uses Python (obviously). But, in addition, it has:
  • An object-relational mapper so you don't have to write SQL. But you can still use SQL if needed;
  • Automatic admin interfaces. You never need to write another stinkin' admin interface again.
  • It's own template language. Althouh, you can use any other template language you want.
  • Support for memcached caches is built-in.
  • Built in support for i18n and l10n.

Oh, yeah. And building Django apps is FAST.

Why re-invent the wheel? (3, Insightful)

JustShootThemAll (1284898) | more than 6 years ago | (#24309327)

Everytime a new framework or web development system gets hyped I can't but wonder why people get so excited about having reinvented the wheel, and a wonky one at that.

Everything you mentioned in your post has been solved for many, many years already. Just use Perl and the Template Toolkit. Or one of the mature frameworks (Catalyst, Mason) if you hang that way.

It is fast, stable and mature and gets the job done with little development time. Sure, it isn't the latest hype. But do you care? Should you care? If you want to get things done, use Perl.

Django has more than a wheel (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24309775)

I have some experience using mod_perl & Django in mod_python. Django provides much that perl does not, and I love writing perl for backend utilities and CGI.

Django templates do not allow the scriptlet mentality of others like JSP & mod_perl. They have a short list of commands, a loop, an IF-statement, and some text filters. This forces users to separate computation (in perl/python code) from display (in the template). The template takes a dictionary of named (keyed ) objects and prints the fields.

Django has an Object-Relational Model built-in to the system. Programmers write a module full of ORM classes. Then, the Django utilities build SQL database tables to match the models. The Django Object-Relational Model has no equal so far as I've seen.

Django enforces the MVC web application. Most other web frameworks let the bad habits creep in.

Re:Django has more than a wheel (1)

Intron (870560) | more than 6 years ago | (#24311975)

All of the features that you list seem to be about limiting the options of the programmers rather than extending the capabilities of the base language.

Any time that I hear that something is going to "force me to do it the right way" I know that the first project I try to use it on will need to do something the wrong way. If a tool provides a great way of doing something then it shouldn't need to force me to use it, I would use it that way naturally.

Re:Django has more than a wheel (1)

pimpimpim (811140) | more than 6 years ago | (#24314209)

I think stuff that limits options has a good place in about half of the websites on the internet. Think about the immense amount of small businesses. They don't want to hire a developer, but still might want an online shop. There are now many places where the whole template including secure payment system is provided by the host, and you just do the layout part. In such and similar cases, limited options are a blessing for all involved. The shop doesn't need to invest time, and you as a shopper are faced with a professional site that works.

Then there is the other half of the internet, doing fancy web 2.0 stuff etc. There the problem of the limited options is that at some point you will need to start to make workarounds, and the whole "clean" software becomes a huge mess. Actually, I just yesterday tried to apply online at a company, but their SAP-Web-Service Registration package was such a mess of different login procedures that I couldn't finish the registration, or even log in again. Or get my password again. Since we are talking multinational company here, I am really amazed why they used such a limiting package for this. And a bad one at that. Message to them and others: If you want to do fancy stuff, please do it yourself with decent, flexible, relatively low-level tools, where it is clear exactly that it is doing what you programmed it to do.

Perl-wise: I wrote my own SQL-based CMS site from scratch in perl, in about 3 days. This included testing several of the CPAN packages for SQL interaction and automated layout.

None of those projects are any more mature. (0, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24310175)

1. Perl is a mess.

2. Rails is a mess.

3. Python isn't a mess.

4. Hopefully one of the emergent frameworks on python won't be a mess ... django isn't ... and it's pretty mature at this point ... and has been for about a year or so ;)

Re:Why re-invent the wheel? (1)

darkpixel2k (623900) | more than 6 years ago | (#24313447)

Everytime a new framework or web development system gets hyped I can't but wonder why people get so excited about having reinvented the wheel, and a wonky one at that.

Everything you mentioned in your post has been solved for many, many years already. Just use Perl and the Template Toolkit.

That's like saying that 'toilets' were solved years ago. Just go out to the outhouse and take a load off.

Although the problem was 'solved', someone came along and did the whole indoor plumbing and a porcelain toilet thing.

Same thing with web frameworks. Both perl and python work well. Python just works better.

I'm sure whatever comes after Django in a few years will be even better.

Re:Why re-invent the wheel? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24313855)

AFAIK the Romans did the toilet thing more than a few years ago.

Re:Stupid question (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24310423)

You forgot that running Django apps is also faster than Rails and PHP.

Re:Stupid question (1)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 6 years ago | (#24310705)

You forgot that running Django apps is also faster than Rails and PHP.

I didn't forget it -- I just didn't say it explicitly. I said that it's written in Python -- and it works with (but does not require) mod_python. That's all you need to know in terms of performance. I figured that part would be obvious. ;)

Re:Stupid question (1)

Frizzle Fry (149026) | more than 6 years ago | (#24311301)

Why use mod_python over mod_wsgi?

Re:Stupid question (1)

Teilo (91279) | more than 6 years ago | (#24312507)

Mostly because Django was originally written to use mod_python. It works extremely well, even for high volume sites.

It will run on on mod_wsgi also.

Second, there are a few bits that are not fully wsgi compliant, but they are presently being fixed (and will probably be committed in the next few days).

Re:Stupid question (1)

FooBarWidget (556006) | more than 6 years ago | (#24312753)

I'm writing a Rails application right now. It ran at 0.8 requests/sec in production mode. Then I spent 15 minutes on implementing fragment caching in my app, and my performance jumped to 40 requests/sec. And I'm not even done optimizing yet. Using Phusion Passenger [] and Ruby Enterprise Edition [] gives you additional performance boosts and memory reductions.

Re:Stupid question (1)

Just Some Guy (3352) | more than 6 years ago | (#24313075)

Without context, those numbers are meaningless. If the pages are huge, many-joined reports with lots of logic, then that's pretty good. If they're generating semi-static pages (like writing "Hello, %!" % username) up in the corner, then that's horrible.

Re:Stupid question (1)

FooBarWidget (556006) | more than 6 years ago | (#24313301)

The content is generated from text that's formatted in a special language, and the text may or may not include code that needs to be syntax highlighted. The parsing and generation is pretty heavyweight.

Re:Stupid question (1)

silverdr (779097) | more than 6 years ago | (#24311407)

Now, could you do us a favour please and out of this list tell us the only point, which Rails doesn't have (yet)?

Re:Stupid question (1)

Teilo (91279) | more than 6 years ago | (#24312541)

Rails has those things.

Rails also has many problems. There is far too much magic. It's code is a mess. It is slow, and difficult (though not impossible) to scale.

Django has little or no magic. It's code is extremely clean, organized, and readable, and scales very well. It is also very fast.

It is not correct to say that Django is Rails for Python (in the same way, say, that CakePHP is for PHP). There are some similar ideas, but they have very different implementations.

Re:Stupid question (1)

FooBarWidget (556006) | more than 6 years ago | (#24312727)

I don't know how much you know about Ruby on Rails, but it can do all those things you mentioned by default, exception auto admin interface and i18n. For auto admin interface there's ActiveScaffold, and for i18n there are a number of third party plugins.

Re:Stupid question (1)

hotfireball (948064) | more than 6 years ago | (#24313869)

An object-relational mapper so you don't have to write SQL.

You mean that impedance mismatch misuse, when you still write SQL, once you use custom stored procedures?.. ORM is not any Good Thing for advanced use. In Python it still more sweet, but in Java all this Hibernate and TopLink circus is just a nightmare of complexity over stupid triviality. Something very similar to SQLObject and SQLAlchemy, though I agree it is much lighter (due to Python itself)...

It's own template language. Althouh, you can use any other template language you want.

Is it really truth? The only template is really good -- ZPT from Zope, that... won't be used with Django. Maybe it was fixed already, honestly I do not know, but this bug is kind of scary and response from Django developers kind of stupid: []

Re:Stupid question (1)

Jansingal (1098809) | more than 6 years ago | (#24310095)

Better than rails? Why?

Re:Stupid question (3, Insightful)

Teilo (91279) | more than 6 years ago | (#24312711)

I will add to my above post, that in Django, it is very easy to extend / override almost any part of the framework. Within a week of using it, I was writing my own custom HTML widgets, compound data fields, and even custom added support for custom DB column types. Now, I know that ActiveRecord allows you to do some of these things, but it's not at all easy or intuitive.

But, hey, if you love Ruby, use Rails.

The thing everyone has to remember about Django vs. Rails, is that this is really more a Python vs. Ruby debate. The nature of the languages has affected the design of the corresponding framework in dramatic ways.

That said, I think that, if Rails were done all over again, it could learn a lot from Django.

Check out Snakes and Rubies [] . (Google video version [] .) It was a pair of presentations on Django and Rails. Good stuff. This was in December of 2005. Yeah, Django's been around for a while, despite the comments about it being a "young" framework.

Re:Stupid question (2, Interesting)

FooBarWidget (556006) | more than 6 years ago | (#24312703)

"And it's better than Rails."

Then where are the Django killer apps? No seriously, where are they? I can't find more than a hand full of Django apps. And when I asked this question on #django and #python, multiple times, nobody - not even a single person - could tell me even one killer app written in Django. If Django is so great then where are the apps?

Re:Stupid question (1)

crypie (111943) | more than 6 years ago | (#24313653)

Well, take a look here - to see just a few sites developed in Django. Django itself is the killer app. It's a framework.

I'll shamelessly plug Satchmo - as a successful online ecommerce/shopping cart that compares very favorably to the PHP based ones.

Re:Stupid question (4, Informative)

discord5 (798235) | more than 6 years ago | (#24308875)

What's django?

I'm sure this'll upset someone, but it's rails for python. Django Project Homepage []

It's pretty neat and in a couple of evenings reading and experimenting you'll have figured most of it out (even if you're new to python).

I've used it for a few personal projects, but not at work yet so I don't have any experience with it on larger projects. Still, it's pretty neat to get something done quickly.

Re:Stupid question (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24309701)

whats rails?

Re:Stupid question (5, Funny)

Kingrames (858416) | more than 6 years ago | (#24308967)

Boba Fett's dad.

Re:Stupid question (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24313135)

wrong! it's his french uncle.

Never heard of Django before, now it's everwhere (2, Interesting)

TimeTraveler1884 (832874) | more than 6 years ago | (#24309187)

Only a day ago I would have been asking the same question. I have been a long time Java Developer and decided to trying deploying an application to the Google App Engine. Unfortunately, for me at least, only Python is supported so I have been forced to take a deeper look into Python.

The Google App Engine already has the Django libraries available. It's seems like a pretty useful template system, however I really wish they had chosen to use xml tags instead of parenthesis tags so that native xml tools, even browsers would display and work on the raw template more effectively.

On a side note, I have a question for any Java to Python converts out there. I am using Pydev for Eclipse, but I am missing the compile-time checking of static types, method signatures, etc. I've already experienced a few cycles of correct, save and repeat to find simple typos. I feel like I am back in the days of when I was Perl hacking. I know if I had unit tests for this it would make things a little better, but unit tests can't always cover 100%. Until I get to try the junit equivalent for Python (whatever that is), how do the rest of you deal with finding bugs that would have been compile time errors in other languages?

Re:Never heard of Django before, now it's everwher (2, Informative)

Just Some Guy (3352) | more than 6 years ago | (#24309685)

pylint [] . It has some annoying style checks that I often disable, but is good at finding unused and undeclared variables and that sort of stuff.

Re:Never heard of Django before, now it's everwher (2, Informative)

imbaczek (690596) | more than 6 years ago | (#24309893)

there are tools like pychecker [] , they help quite a bit. junit is right there in the standard library of python, see docs for the unittest module; there's also the doctest module for simple cases.

Re:Never heard of Django before, now it's everwher (4, Informative)

Vornzog (409419) | more than 6 years ago | (#24309977)

The Google App Engine already has the Django libraries available.

Have a little care, there. The GAE caused quite a stir in the Django community, because it is only a partial implementation of the database interface that Django normally uses. It is backed by BigTable, which is blazing fast, but not a full blown relational database. If that works for you, go for it - it looks like a sweet platform for certain kinds of projects.

As for your question about Java->Python, I'm a former C++ convert myself, but I can help a little here. For some 'compile time' checking, look at PyLint [] It may check too much for you, but you can turn off the stuff you don't want.

As for unit testing, PyUnit [] is a pretty straight port of JUnit, so that should look familiar. However, I actually find nose [] to be a little better. It has many of the same capabilities, but with less boilerplate needed, and it integrates well with any existing PyUnit or DocTest [] tests.

Re:Never heard of Django before, now it's everwher (1)

TimeTraveler1884 (832874) | more than 6 years ago | (#24310545)

Just wanted to say thanks for the links and information. I'll be sure to read the Python documentation more, but it's always helpful to get some advice. Cheers.

Python is quite dynamic (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24310061)

Python objects are dynamic the way Javascript ones are. It's possible to define a new method, or a field, on an object at any time. The interpreter doesn't know ahead of time the way Java can.

Type errors are one thing you can control. Since a Python variable can contain ANY object type, you may set it to the NULL value for that type you want.

my_dict = {}
my_dict[key] = value

my_string = ''
my_integer = 0

You may pre-define class fields as well. Django requires a models database field to be declared! Use the Python "property" function to calculate other fields withe getter & setter functions.

class Sample:
    my_field = 100
    my_sqrt = property(get_sqrt, set_sqrt)
    def get_sqrt(self): return sqrt(self.my_field)
    def set_sqrt(self, value):
        self.my_value = value*value

The my_sqrt field is calculated as the square root of the my_field field. You may use the obj.my_sqrt in Django templates easily.

Re:Stupid question (1)

keziahw (869748) | more than 6 years ago | (#24309293)

Look it up! From Wikipedia:

Django is a Romany term meaning "I awake". It is best known as the nickname of Belgian jazz guitarist Jean Baptiste "Django" Reinhardt, whose fame has led to its use throughout music.

Re:Stupid question (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24309339)

When I installed Linux it asked me for my credit card number. Two days later I got a call from Wachovia asking me if I had purchased $400 worth of Totino's pizza rolls and Mountain Dew (I hadn't). Let this be a warning to all of you out there in the Internet.

Re:Stupid question (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24309581)

Imagine a beowulf cluster of stupid questions!

Re:Stupid question (3, Funny)

DeathGod321 (1126621) | more than 6 years ago | (#24309997)

That django ate your baby.

Re:Stupid question (1)

HeavyDevelopment (1117531) | more than 6 years ago | (#24311453)

Nasal douche on that one. I'm forever going to utter this sentence when someone refers to django.

Someone please mod this up as funny.

Just for the record: Django is a Phyton framework (2, Informative)

dk90406 (797452) | more than 6 years ago | (#24308767)

I must be getting old. Never heard of this before, so the article was confusion at first. For info: []

Django or Turbogears? (2, Interesting)

Just Some Guy (3352) | more than 6 years ago | (#24308891)

I'm getting ready to port a fairly large web app from Zope to either Django or Turbogears (easier development, more scalable for us, etc.). From what I've heard, Django is kind of the Ruby On Rails of the Python world, and while outstanding for writing small mostly-read apps, it's not the greatest for large interactive applications. Conversely, Turbogears seems to have the reputation for a higher initial learning curve and startup cost, but better interactivity.

Any thoughts on the matter? I've used Django for some small projects and my experience kind of mirrored what I'd read: it's brilliant when you want to work with it, and a complete PITA when you're trying to do something unexpected. I haven't written anything with Turbogears yet so I can't personally compare them.

No, I'm not going to make my decision solely on the opinions of Slashdot. Consider this the start of my research, not the end. :-)

Re:Django or Turbogears? (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24308969)

Why not keep the application in Zope? You'll have the ability to better fine tune the application from Zope if the application is truly large. if the issue is it's written in Zope 2, you might as well fix it for Zope 3. Django/TG more scalable than Zope? No. In fact you've more limitations with Django, but only because of how restrictive the ORM can be in certain situations.

Re:Django or Turbogears? (3, Funny)

Just Some Guy (3352) | more than 6 years ago | (#24309167)

My company is moving toward using a unified codebase for our applications. Whether you're viewing an invoice in a desktop app or on the web, it's calling the same function (written in Python, using SQLAlchemy). Every time I've looked at using code in the filesystem from Zope, it's been overly complicated and problematic. Right now we use External Methods to make specific functions available inside Zope, but the side effect of that is that we have to restart the Zope process every time we want to run new code.

Another problem is that a lot of our pages take a long time to generate - think reports that take a minute or so. Because Zope is so minimally threaded, that means that other page views are delayed until those reports are finished. We use a pool of 8 Zope instances connecting to a Zeo server, with Apache sending queries to random instances to balance the load a bit. It's still too common for a use trying to view the front page to accidentally get queued up behind another using running "Financials 2004" and cursing at a blank screen until that report is done.

Add those together and you get an environment where most development is done over Webdav and is consequently a lot harder to manage with version control, 8 giant server processes are splitting the load, and changing a line of code can require a complete restart of the whole mess.

Yeah, we're ready to migrate.

Re:Django or Turbogears? (1)

legutierr (1199887) | more than 6 years ago | (#24310063)

Why not just run the heavy reports in a separate instance or on a separate machine? That way reporting won't cause standard transactional traffic to be queued up behind it, but without any more than a day of time investment.

And, if I may add my two cents, might it not be easier to code a wrapper around External Methods that abstracts the complicated elements of loading code from the file system, and that is able to dynamically load new methods from the file system (or check for changes)? And even if you can't do that, it seems a waste to recode an entire system just to avoid restarting a server when code changes are deployed. How often do you deploy into production at a time of day that the system needs to run continuously, without a one-minute interruption?

Just my two cents, but I would like to know your thought process. I have found this type of question to be difficult to answer in the past.

Re:Django or Turbogears? (1)

Just Some Guy (3352) | more than 6 years ago | (#24310473)

Well, by the time I was done with all that, I'd basically be reimplementing a different framework. With Django or Turbogears, I can let Apache spawn off as many child processes as it needs and not worry if a few of them are running slowly.

Sometimes we make quite a few changes during the day, or more specifically, we'd like to make more changes but can't easily because of the architecture we're up against.

Here's how I explained it to my boss:

Zope is an excellent product and it was absolutely the right choice at the time we picked it. We wouldn't have the web application we're enjoying today if Zope didn't exists. However, since then new options have come along that would be a better match for our needs and the way we work, and since the two main options are written in Python (which is our company's standard platform), porting the logic from Zope to a new system should be relatively easy.

Re:Django or Turbogears? (1)

Daimaou (97573) | more than 6 years ago | (#24310607)

If you are going to use Django, I would recommend using memcached, of course, and also using a light-weight webserver like Nginx to serve your static content and only use Apache to serve the dynamic Django content. There is no reason to have Apache serve static content when other servers can do it more efficiently.

Re:Django or Turbogears? (1)

Just Some Guy (3352) | more than 6 years ago | (#24311235)

Actually, we have precious little static content. There's the odd cacheable JavaScript or CSS file, but that's about it. I wholeheartedly agree with the concept, though. I've worked at places where we used multiple Apache daemons on the same machine, some running mod_perl etc. and the others stripped down for nothing but static content.

Re:Django or Turbogears? (1)

dedazo (737510) | more than 6 years ago | (#24309791)

In my experience, Zope is overkill in most situations. And I (personally) have never liked ZODB at all.

Re:Django or Turbogears? (4, Insightful)

VGPowerlord (621254) | more than 6 years ago | (#24309401)

The biggest problem I have with Django is that it was created with newspapers in mind and that sometimes causes problems, particularly in the model.

For example, the FileField isn't friendly for organizing things by users... the upload directory is fixed in the model, and it only takes strftime arguments if you want dynamic subdirectories... and for whatever reason, there is no move method in the FileField model. I have no use for files sorted by time, as this system is user-driven.

Which means you need to manually move the file and update the FileField's value in the model, in addition to doing checks to make sure you don't try to move one file over another. (Note: I haven't tried this, I just assume it works, as the FileField is just a varchar(100) / CharField(max_length=100).)

Oh, and I don't know how Django internally handles <input type="file">, or I'd say to just use a CharField.

Re:Django or Turbogears? (1)

Just Some Guy (3352) | more than 6 years ago | (#24309597)

That's exactly the kind of stuff that had me wringing my hands. Our site involves a lot of data entry, like allowing customers to enter complex invoice information. I've heard that Turbogears is a lot better about that stuff because it doesn't make as many assumptions on your behalf, which conversely means that you have to make them yourself.

Re:Django or Turbogears? (1)

moep (1132491) | more than 6 years ago | (#24309825)

While I agree with you that the "default" FileField implementation is not very well suited for more advanced use cases, I have to strongly disagree that this is actually a problem. Beeing django and not rails you can very easily enhance or even replace every part of the framework without writing everything from scratch. This partly due to the nature of python and partly due to the design of the framework. And I really cannot see why the implementation of the FileField is in anyway newspaper related???

Re:Django or Turbogears? (1)

VGPowerlord (621254) | more than 6 years ago | (#24310503)

And I really cannot see why the implementation of the FileField is in anyway newspaper related???

Because news stories are usually sorted by date, so it makes sense that files and images (ImageField inherits from FileField) are sorted by date as well.

Re:Django or Turbogears? (1)

mweather (1089505) | more than 6 years ago | (#24309949)

Why do you need the files in specific directories? Can't the app figure out which file belongs to which user?

Re:Django or Turbogears? (1)

VGPowerlord (621254) | more than 6 years ago | (#24310555)

It could, but I want to periodically create a compressed archive of all the files each user has. It's much easier if I can just do that using a small program to compress all the files in each directory rather than having to query the database to find all the files for a user.

Re:Django or Turbogears? (1)

imbaczek (690596) | more than 6 years ago | (#24310599)

so the users can organize stuff by themselves if they wish?

Re:Django or Turbogears? (1)

Daimaou (97573) | more than 6 years ago | (#24310667)

That was what I was going to say as well. If your model keeps track of who owns what files, who cares where they are?

Re:Django or Turbogears? (1)

Daimaou (97573) | more than 6 years ago | (#24310547)

I've used Django, Turbogears, and Zope. I hate Zope, so I wouldn't use it for anything. I liked Turbogears OK, but Django has a more unified feel to it. It seems a lot cleaner and more straight forward to me as well, so I would recommend Django over the other two, but that is just my opinion.

Re:Django or Turbogears? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24311625)

Take a look at pylons and SQLAlchemy. Much of the same ease and power, but even a little more flexibility.

Re:Django or Turbogears? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24312409)

Have a look at Pylons [] ; it's only slightly more trouble than Django to get started, but it's much more flexible. No automatic admin pages, though.

Currently on sale at (4, Informative)

gorbachev (512743) | more than 6 years ago | (#24308991)

I just got a newsletter about a sale at for APress books. APress books are 45% off until 8/31.

This particular book is $5 cheaper at than Amazon right now.

Spoiler Alert... (2, Funny)

Eberlin (570874) | more than 6 years ago | (#24309087)


Storm Dtroopers were imperfect clones of Django.

Dboba is a perfect clone of Django.

If you want to stop the Django process, you have to su to Windu and kill -9 Django

If you're looking for Dboba, try this command: cat \dev\sarlac | grep Mandalorian

Re:Spoiler Alert... (1)

DivineGod (1160361) | more than 6 years ago | (#24309793)

made my day

Django n00b (4, Informative)

spaceyhackerlady (462530) | more than 6 years ago | (#24309179)

I recently had a look at web application frameworks for some new development and ended up doing it with Django.

I find it handy. It's logically put together, the Python back end is fast, and, once you figure out a few basic concepts, you can put web apps together very quickly. The template system is particularly clever. I find that I like to set up my database tables first, then let Django create the model classes. Not the other way around. I also like to do table joins as views in the database, rather than gluing things together in Django. YMMV.

My last experience with web application development was with Tomcat. I still have nightmares. :-(


The book may be out of date soon. (1)

Mrs. Grundy (680212) | more than 6 years ago | (#24309239)

I'm just finishing up a project with django. It is a lot of fun, quick, and useful. It is very well designed. One issue, however, is that it is still changing rather quickly. Things in version .95 or .96 can be substantially different than the current development version. This isn't unusual for such a young project, and since the documentation is quite clear and useful it's not a problem, but is something you may want to consider before you plunk down your hard-earned cash on a printed book.

Re:The book may be out of date soon. (5, Informative)

ubernostrum (219442) | more than 6 years ago | (#24309351)

One issue, however, is that it is still changing rather quickly. Things in version .95 or .96 can be substantially different than the current development version.

Hi, I'm James and I wrote Practical Django Projects, and I have a confession to make: I cheated while writing the book. You see, I'm also Django's release manager, which meant I had a good idea of what would land in trunk and what would change by the time we went to press. Except for activating/hacking on the admin interface (the admin refactor just landed over the weekend), everything in the book should be up-to-date and usable on the Django 1.0 alpha we released Monday.

Re:The book may be out of date soon. (1)

number6x (626555) | more than 6 years ago | (#24309431)


Thanks for the update.

Re:The book may be out of date soon. (1)

Joe Tie. (567096) | more than 6 years ago | (#24309955)

That actually is good to know. The api changes are the main reason I'd be hesitant to buy any book related to django at the moment. I might actually pick this one up now.

Re:The book may be out of date soon. (1)

Fnord666 (889225) | more than 6 years ago | (#24313717)

Except for activating/hacking on the admin interface (the admin refactor just landed over the weekend)

Yeah thanks. I had been working with ROR for some time and decided to give Django a try. I was working through the Django book just fine until I hit the admin pages section. After a few hours of frustration I did a little web search. Wouldn't you know it, within the last 48 hours someone had dropped a refactor of the admin system into the trunk right before I picked it up.

This is why I don't do production work with newer frameworks like these. The next time I need to change something, half of my application could be broken!

Re:The book may be out of date soon. (1)

Daimaou (97573) | more than 6 years ago | (#24310799)

You are right! Things are changing in Django; however, I don't think this is a particularly big problem since Django is currently looking mostly as it will when 1.0 is released.

Also, I have the book and isn't one of those Volkswagen sized Wrox cubes. It can easily be digested within a couple of weeks so you can get what you need now and be prepared to migrate to new features in the future.

I highly recommend this book to people wanting to learn Django. It is better than most of the other Django books available today, I think.

Does anyone even read physical books anymore? (2, Insightful)

LS (57954) | more than 6 years ago | (#24309483)

Books about programming, especially internet programming, seem a bit archaic at this point. Or at least physical books. I find that especially with open source languages and tools, and even more so those related to the web, there is a wealth of information online, both in serial book format, tutorials, and searchable references. I haven't used a book to learn a language since Learning Perl back in about 2000. I bought a copy but I ended up using a pirated digital copy anyway because it was more useful...


Re:Does anyone even read physical books anymore? (2, Interesting)

bloobloo (957543) | more than 6 years ago | (#24309779)

I find books invaluable. Perhaps it would be different if I had 2 screens and I could put an editor on one screen and the tutorials on another, but as it stands I find it easier to flip pages to find what I am looking for.

Unless you're copying code fragments, I don't get the benefit (other than portability) of a soft copy over a hard one.

Search... (1)

megalomaniacs4u (199468) | more than 6 years ago | (#24310359)

The big advantage of a soft copy of book is being able to do searches for keywords which is invaluable when you don't know which set of terminology the author is using and the index doesn't cover the word or phrase you require.

Note this is particularly invaluable in API references - particularly with php when you have no clue which daft name php uses for a function, but you are sure that php has function for that job.

Re:Does anyone even read physical books anymore? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24310085)

I read the O'Reilly "learning" books (java, python) as a way to get myself to the point where I would be comfortable using API references.

I may be fairly good with both languages now, but I still find myself reaching for one of the books now and then to ask things like "now I knew there was something that could do this..."

Re:Does anyone even read physical books anymore? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24310573)

The thing is that on the internet you get a bunch of hacked together solutions from people with a wide variety of expertise and background. While this is nice for the "democratic" part of programming, it can also result in lower quality code.

Most people pick a solution for their problem that some blogger posted and run with it, without really understanding what it's doing or if it's even the best implementation.

Plus, since anyone can post, anyone does...which can lead to all sorts of confusion or just plain weirdness/misinformation.

Books by experts still have a value in imparting Best Known Methods and workflows, good style and technique, and (with a good editor) a structure conducive to conceptual understanding, instead of the hack and fix model.

It's the difference between going to school and spending all day reading wikipedia articles. For some structure matters, for some it doesn't.

Re:Does anyone even read physical books anymore? (1)

Just Some Guy (3352) | more than 6 years ago | (#24313117)

I bought a copy but I ended up using a pirated digital copy anyway because it was more useful...

I prefer chocolate. Does anyone even eat vanilla ice cream any more?

I can't grep a dead tree, but neither can I read much of an ebook without getting a headache. That makes the printed version much more useful to me. It's just a preference.

what a coincidence! (2, Funny)

bedonnant (958404) | more than 6 years ago | (#24309491)

in a flabbergasting coincidence that will leave you all wondering about Fate, i just received my copy of this book today, and was at this very minute beginning to read it. my life has just been slashdotted.

Django Jobs (2, Interesting)

daeg (828071) | more than 6 years ago | (#24309565)

We're running Django for basically our entire business systems. It's great. The only downside to Python is that there is a general lack of local developers (Tampa, Florida). Trying to find additional developers when you can't get relocation benefits approved is a royal PITA. (Anyone looking for a job in Tampa? =))

We're very, very happy with Django.

Re:Django Jobs (2, Insightful)

Daimaou (97573) | more than 6 years ago | (#24310825)

I'd be happy to telecommute. :)

Re:Django Jobs (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24313883)

Which part of Tampa?

1.0 Real Soon Now (4, Informative)

the_rev_matt (239420) | more than 6 years ago | (#24309577)

Note that Django 1.0 is due this fall and it looks to be actually on track. I used Zope for personal and freelance projects for about 9 years and professionally for about 2. I migrated my site and the majority of the content over in about a week, and that included the process of learning django.

I will note that one of the things I liked about Zope was the admin interface, which was clunky and minimal but a far sight better than what most other app servers had at the time (late 90's/early 00's). Django's is immensely better.

I've also Read The Fine Book reviewed here and concur with the reviewer. This book is a great introduction to a useful tool.

Significantly better than Zend? (2, Interesting)

JakeD409 (740143) | more than 6 years ago | (#24309619)

I'm about to start a mid-sized project that I'd like to use a framework for. I'm planning on using the Zend Framework, since I know PHP very well. I do not know Python, but it's very high on my list of languages I'd like to learn (like, number 1).

Would it be worth my time to learn Python and then do the project in Django? I'm experienced enough in OO and various languages that I don't think Python would take me too long to pick up, but is the learning curve between knowing Python and using Django steep enough that it cancels out the benefits of using Django over Zend (if there even are any in the first place)?

Re:Significantly better than Zend? (1)

imbaczek (690596) | more than 6 years ago | (#24310167)

Depends on the project, as usual, but IMHO yes, Django is worth a try. I haven't used Zend though, so YMMV (particularly, I don't know what features you may expect from a framework.)

Re:Significantly better than Zend? (4, Informative)

Balinares (316703) | more than 6 years ago | (#24310501)


> I'm planning on using the Zend Framework

I understand the Zend Framework is not so much a framework as a tight collection of helper tools. If you want a framework, as in, framework, you'll probably want to look into CakePHP. Symfony is more powerful, but also kind of more complicated. (And declaring my models in XML makes my skin crawl -- but it's just me.)


> Would it be worth my time to learn Python and then do the project in Django?

Short answer: If you know PHP really well and it works for you, it'll be less work (and less risk) to just keep using PHP.

Long answer: If you're a fast learner, and intend to keep using Django afterwards so the overhead of learning it is worth it, then I'd say, absolutely. If I were in your shoes, I believe I would probably create a small functional site in Django in my spare time -- it doesn't take very long at all to get a blog with comments up and running, for instance -- and see how it flies with me. I understand learning Python and Django hand in hand works very fine, although I can't personally comment on that, having been into Python for many years.

If you go the Django road, you'll probably find these resources handy:

The Django community aggregator is at [] and has many good posts with great insight on how to get the best out of your new Django toy.

The Django Snippets site at [] is a great catalog of small, useful bits of code. I read it in my RSS aggregator, personally.

And of course, there's the #django IRC channel, and the various mailing-lists.

Enjoy exploring Django! I've been following it for a few months already and still don't hate it, and for an old bitter bastard like me, that's the biggest praise.

Re:Significantly better than Zend? (1)

drewtheman (1127999) | more than 6 years ago | (#24312207)

Symfony is more powerful, but also kind of more complicated. (And declaring my models in XML makes my skin crawl -- but it's just me.)

It's true that 2 years ago you had to declare your model with xml, but yaml files are now used, a parser does the work to translate them into xml for you. Yaml files are very human readable and you can write your entire model in a blast, as long as it is already planned.

And being a Symfony user since the very beginning, I can tell you that Symfony is indeed very powerful. And that Yahoo bookmarks was developped using it, it says a lot.

Re:Significantly better than Zend? (1)

entropiccanuck (854472) | more than 6 years ago | (#24313143)

I learned Python and Django at the same time. I needed to transfer some existing apps for the company I was with, and decided to play around with Python/Django to see how that would work. I'd been out of the development/programming thing for a few years and had extremely minimal Python experience, but within a couple weeks I was much further on my projects than was anticipated. Perhaps it's just me, but Python and Django just made sense.
Django's documentation was accurate and thorough, which helped tremendously. Particularly, the Django book [] was very helpful and I'd recommend it to anyone interested in Django. (disclaimer - was using the beta version of the book)

Re:Significantly better than Zend? (1)

Daimaou (97573) | more than 6 years ago | (#24310963)

I have used Zend and PHP and I think Django is easier to program in and the framework strongly encourages good programming practices.

Python is easy to learn and Django apps run significantly faster than PHP-based apps (at least this has been my experience).

As a side note, if you decide to use Django and/or Python, I would recommend getting either the WingIDE editor from WingWare (expensive) or the PyDev Extensions plugin for Eclipse (fairly cheap). Both of these provide code completion and can really help boost your learning by reminding you of what's available and how it works.

Re:Significantly better than Zend? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24313353)

Use Drupal [] . It's like PHP, but with all the shit bits papered over. It's also a proper framework, unlike Zend.

In related news (3, Informative)

dedazo (737510) | more than 6 years ago | (#24309843)

After a loooong time, 1.0 Alpha was just released [] .

Frontend UI questions (1)

neuromancer2701 (875843) | more than 6 years ago | (#24309961)

I just started messing around with python and I am impressed with how easy it is to get started. I looked over Django a couple of times and was just clueless. Is Django just a backend framework? Do all the frontend UIs need to be done in html/xhtml? I couldn't see anything in the documentation about assisting with UI design. Thanks

Re:Frontend UI questions (1)

Teilo (91279) | more than 6 years ago | (#24312455)

Like most web frameworks, Django uses a template library to generate HTML. That is to say, it includes special tags and helper functions to wire your UI into request/response objects and database models. You still need to know HTML/CSS, etc. You have to provide your own JS/AJAX libraries, as Django, as a matter of philosophy, does not endorse/support/provide any JS libraries of any kind.

It does have something called "generic views" which can provide basic CRUD and various common views (such as date-based views). However, these are more for prototyping, and would generally be replaced in a production app with something more custom.

Dwango (1)

yoinkityboinkity (957937) | more than 6 years ago | (#24310233)

Does this make anybody else think of Dwango?

"Dial-up Wide-Area Network Game Operation"

It came with Doom.

Link []

Great Book!!! (2, Informative)

chrisdev (1331643) | more than 6 years ago | (#24311123)

I got this book last week and it's worth the money!! I was having trouble with custom templates tags. After reading The Definitive Guide, writing filters and include tags were easy but the examples given for custom tags were too complex to start off with. However, when i saw James' examples (latest_entries) it all clicked !!! I've already written some custom tags to generate charts from ChartDirector Also i wish i had read his CMS stuff when i first started django it really shows you how to leverage the flat pages By the way his B-List blog ( also kicks ass!!

Django (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24312855)

Django is a Boss-DJ
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