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Show HN: I wrote a book teaching web app development for non-programmers
16 points by limedaring on April 6, 2015 | hide | past | favorite | 7 comments
Hey HN,

I wrote a book teaching beginner web app development using Django, launching on May 4th (successfully Kickstarted last year.)

Website: http://hellowebapp.com


- Aimed at people who have previous HTML/building websites experience.

- Template-first development: see the web app as a website first, before setting up databases and models.

- Generic “collection of things” tutorial. Readers are encouraged to create something using this rubric that means something to them (a blog, a directory of people, etc.) Adding creativity will make the material stick better.

- Includes Heroku deployment, which was honestly the hardest chapter to write (I ended up creating my own Python package to make it partially easier: https://github.com/hellowebapp/hellowebapp-deploy)

- Additional resources are being added to https://github.com/hellowebapp/hellowebapp

If anyone has ideas of how to reach people who are getting into webapp stuff (HTML/CSS) but haven't been able to cross the threshold to programming a backend, would love to hear them!

This is great! I love Django, and am a big proponent of TFD (template-first development). It seems most Django tutorials are so focused on the Admin and making models...they wait too long to actually show the developer something.

One of the issues a lot of Django books run into is that they become "dated" fast. Did you do anything specific to "future proof" the content? For example, Django 1.8 just released with a few important changes (notably the Template settings configuration and URL definitions). Did you do anything to confront these differences? I've noticed that a lot of new developers won't touch a Django 1.6 book, for example, because it's two releases behind...

One way to contact aspiring Djangonauts or new coders is to search Meetup.com for web development meetups. You can usually contact the event organizer and pitch your book. There's also Reddit's sub-reddits for various programming topics (/r/learnprogramming, /r/django, etc).

Good luck!

EDIT: Just noticed you're from the Bay Area. One of my good friends runs the Designers Who Code meetup. It's very active and would be the perfect demographic for your book. You may try to reach out to him and see about presenting at one of his events. If you can't get a hold of him, find me online and I'll see what I can do.

Yeah, tutorials that did templates last were my biggest frustration when I was learning a few years ago.

Very good question re: future-proofing. It's one of the reasons why I tried to build a lot of stuff online in the GitHub repo, like the installation instructions. While the template config and URL definitions have been updated, thankfully 1.8 is still backwards compatible for the old settings (AFAIK - I just checked and all HWA code still works.) Next print run of the book, I'll update the code to 1.8 and update the install instructions. Not much I can do other than decouple the stuff that changes frequently and release updates when I can. It's kind of a pain, and definitely something I worry about!

Great suggestion regarding Designers Who Code — will reach out ASAP, thank you!

Pre-ordered! Just getting into Python now, should be an awesome help!

Yay, awesome!

This looks great. Congratulations on finishing the book and good luck!

Thank you! It's been a really fun process.

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