Book Review: Django 1.0 Template Development

This is not a paid review, I did not receive a dime from author, publisher or the affiliated; however, I did get a free copy of the book, so some harsh critics may be sugar-coated. Read with caution.

Though I am a die-hard RTFM guy, it never hurt to take the advantage of expertise of the peers. Django 1.0 Template Development focuses on a relatively narrow topic, the template system of Django. The author puts himself in an dilemma: he expects the target audience to have basic ideas of Django system, but still has to go over all the hassles(not really though) to kick start a new project to make the book self-contained. I think the author did a great job for a beginners, but I still highly recommend the official DjangoBook, tutorial and documentation.

After two chapters warm-up, Chapter 3 shows the magic of Context and RequestContext. It is interesting to see how the project evolve from the low-level operation to the shortcuts. Chapter 4 introduces the built-in tags in the toolbox. Chapter 5 and 6 demonstrates the template inheritance and how multiple templates are served. In chapter 7, the developers can extend their toolbox by creating new filter tags. Chapter 9 gives series examples for admin UI customization. Chapter 8 and 10 are about the performance, pagination and cache. Last but not the least, L10N in chapter 11.

The examples in each chapter is atomic for easy understanding, but in my humble opinion, most of them do not impress the readers the power of Django. The framework shines to solve BIG and complex questions. I just wonder what if the author starts a much more ambitious project with complicated specification, and later decompose it to small tasks and address them in each chapter to make the point, just like Dive into Python does.

Furthermore, I would appreciate if the author could share more first-hand experience with readers. Engineering is always about problem-solving. The framework is naturally easy to learn, otherwise, why bother? But it may suck in the big time if it does not scale. Any real world case would help to establish the confidence for further acceptance.

The bottom line: a good book for beginners, some chapters are quite beefy for the topic. As Django is a fast-evolving project, I hope the author will bring more juicy examples in the future edition.