Author: Mariano Reingart, et al.
Publisher: Packt Publishing
Aimed at: Beginner to intermediate web2py programmers Rating: 4
Pros: Easy to read with lots of good recipes sprinkled throughout
Cons: Minor issues with spelling and grammar and some of the code examples seemed incomplete
Reviewed by: Michael Driscoll
A new cookbook for web2py, the Python web framework. Does it provide the answers you need?
I have read about web2py on several occasions, but never used it myself. If you've not come across it, web2py is a free, open source web framework written in Python, similar to Django or TurboGears. It includes a web-based IDE to help you manage your web applications. Web2py also includes a database abstraction layer or object relational mapper, similar to SQLAlchemy that will help Python developers connect to many database backends easily.
This new cookbook about web2py has been written by seven authors, namely: Richard Gordon, Pablo Martin Mulone, Mariano Reingart, Bruno Cezar Rocha, Massimo Di Pierro, Michele Comitini and Jonathan Lundell. I have to admit that I wondered how you could have a coherent book with so many authors, but since it's a cookbook, it works out pretty well.
Chapter 6 covers some third party libraries, like Twitter connectivity, customizing logging, etc. In Chapter 7 we learn about web services and in 8 we go over authentication and authorization techniques. Chapter 9 is all about custom URL routing.
For Chapter 10, we learn various ways to create PDF reports. The last chapter is a collection of recipes that didn't really fit anywhere else and are pretty random. From PDB integration to using web2py with wxPython, it covers a wide array of topics.
Let'sl cover some of the bad aspectsof the book first, as I like to finish with the good. I found lots of silly issues that a normal spell check program should have flagged. The writing isn't compelling either, but most cookbooks I've read are that way. It may be dry, but it does a decent job of explaining most of the recipes. Some are explained more than others. This is also pretty standard in a cookbook. I'm not knocking the authors for the poor editing as that's not their job and I can tell that several if not all are not native English speakers. I'm sure they did their best.
What I liked most is that this book actually has recipes that I not only thought were interesting but that I could see myself actually using. There are recipes for integrating PayPal payments, creating CAPTCHAs, building Facebook and Reddit clones, various web service consumer recipes, and some debugging stuff at the end. I was especially interested in the PayPal stuff as I just haven't seen much in the Python web framework world about payment systems in general.
Developers who would get the most out of this book are probably beginners to intermediate web2py programmers who would like to increase their skill set. I think there are lots of nifty tricks to be learned from this book and I hope to try them out at some point.