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Show HN: I'm writing a book to teach beginner Django web app programming
21 points by limedaring 988 days ago | hide | past | web | 13 comments | favorite
I'm writing a book which teaches Python/Django web app development for non-programmers, and fundraising on Kickstarter (passed minimum funding, 2 days left):



It's basically the process I used to teach myself programming as a web designer a few years back, which I then launched a small web app (infant-version of WeddingInviteLove.com), which has grown into my bootstrapped startup which supports me full-time (WeddingLovely.com).

Most tutorials/books assume some amount of programming experience, or start out too advanced even if advertised as a beginner book. My goal is to assume nothing, and really break it down and make it super simple to get a basic web app launched, which hopefully will make it easier to transition to those other more advanced tutorials.

I also have a GitHub page for the public materials (like installation instructions, which'll live here rather than the book so I can update them quickly if needed): github.com/limedaring/HelloWebApp

I'd love any feedback on the project or any suggestions HN has for the book's materials. Thanks for letting me share!

This looks great! I've been a WordPress dev the past 2-3 years and started my first Django project a few months ago. I know html/css well and can do jQuery plugins, but I'm not too knowledgable past that. I know programming concepts, I just have a hard time putting methods and classes together and all that good stuff. My brain thinks more creatively instead of logically. Hopefully this book can help me out, I'm currently paying a developer $50/hr to build the app (50+ hours deep so far), I'm just doing the HTML/CSS because I'm pretty good at that. Would love to take control of the whole thing!

Maybe this book can help?

Also it'd be neat if you took a look at my project so far and let me know your thoughts! I have a private repo on github and the app is up on Heroku right now. companyhen<at>gmail.com if you wanna chat and take a look :)

p.s. Backed $25 :)

Your skillset is perfect - definitely aiming towards people who might think more creatively, one of the reasons I'm focusing on templates/website parts first before jumping into models/views.

And thanks for the pledge! :)

I am currently going through Miguel Grinberg's Flask dev book (the early O'Reilly version) but I had considered diving into Django instead. My rationale for making this choice basically came down to seeing that Flask doesn't "come with batteries", and I thought it would be more educationally valuable to have a broad understanding of the various components of a web app before trying something like Django which apparently does things that Flask doesn't. (I may be off-base here, of course -- I know that I don't know what I don't know!) All of which is to say that I hope you give some space to at least discussing "why Django?". Good luck!

Yup definitely. The fact that Django comes "with batteries" is one of the reasons why I'm choosing it — for people with less of a tech background, I'm hoping to show the "how" first (getting the web app working), and then work on the "why" in the latter half of the book. For me, seeing things work first was more encouraging and got me more enthusiastic about learning more. I'll definitely expand on this more in the book, and thanks for the comment!

Congrats on the funding!

Have you read two scoops of Django at all? I have the ebook of the last version and it's pretty good, just wondering if you've read it how you'd compare the material covered. I'm guessing you start at a more beginner level than them but it'd be interesting if you could compare in some detail.

Thank you!

Yes, definitely have — Audrey and Danny are friends of mine. :) Their book is perfect for after my book - I'm hoping to teach the basics and get people started, and Two Scoops would hammer in the best practices and more of the intermediate concepts like class-based views.

Tracy, that's a great initiative, I wish you all the best with the book!

I wonder what the thought process was behind the decision though - i.e. how did you decide to write a book, whether you tested/researched the market in any way?


I've been ruminating about the book for awhile now — first, after I learned to code, I got it in my head that I could teach it a bit differently/more efficiently for creatively-minded folks. I've also attended a lot of conferences with beginner tracks which frustrated me as I found they still weren't totally beginner friendly.

The book process officially started last fall — I made a survey to see whether designers (my original market) were even interested in coding, and started working on the book after I got good results. I shopped the idea to a few publishers, was accepted by one, but decided that I would rather publish it myself and turned the offer down. (Mainly keep control and additional potential revenue were my reasons, not to mention that the process looked fun.)

Continued writing until right before PyCon, which I realized that Kickstarter might be a good avenue to get an "advance" as well as being good marketing for the book, so I launched the campaign, and here we are. :)

Just started learning Django myself and have played with Rails in the past. I would love to see you include some design tips. Also, congrats on the funding and just pledged a small amount to get my hands on the paperback!

Aww thanks so much! I'm not sure design tips would make sense for this book, but people have been suggesting a "Hello Web Design" book after this one, which would be fun to write. :)

This is awesome! I've wrote an introductory book in spanish for my class. I think it's buried in dust by now. I'll take a look at it and share my feelings if that's Ok.

Thanks, and sure thing!

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