Review: Django 1.2 e-commerce


I already have Beginning Django E-Commerce. When Django 1.2 e-commerce came out, I thought, sure, why not. I’m a pushover for a good technical book. It has positive buzz, modulo some rumblings about glaring errors in the code samples.

The quick details

Chapter 1: What’s Django and why it’s good for e-commerce. Zzzzzzzz…

Chapter 2: Quickly getting going on your e-commerce project. Good intro.

Chapter 3: We’re getting some meat now. The authorization model, user profiles,django-registration, shopping carts.

Chapter 4: Payment processors, using Google, Amazon, and PayPal as examples. If I was the author, I wouldn’t have included Google. But otherwise, good stuff. The narratives that walk you through alternatives and subtleties are just as useful as the code samples, if not more so.

Chapter 5: Backend stuff. Good.

Chapter 6: Searching through the product catalog. Eh… Search is a mighty big topic. If your e-commerce site is small, you don’t need this chapter, because you can use just the ORM, or PyLucene if you want to go hog-wild. If your site is large, this chapter will only start to acquaint you with search issues, and you’ll need more information to do a good job.

I did note a couple of code sample oddities. E.g.,

if model is None:

instead of

if not model:

Chapter 7: Report generation. It’s enough to get you started, but you’ll have to do more reading and experimentation to get the job done.

Chapter 8: JavaScript and Ajax, using YUI and jQuery as framework examples. I wouldn’t have included YUI, but that’s me. Like the catalog-search chapter, this will illustrate what you’ll confront, but it’s nowhere near enough to get the job done.  To put it in perspective, the chapter is only 21 pages. If JavaScript and Ajax is a lake, 21 pages is just enough to post the “Danger! Thin ice!” sign.

Chapter 9 is about selling downloadable products and services. Although well-intentioned, like the JavaScript chapter, there’s not enough information to do the job on a real commercial site. There’s about 20 pages on integrating with AWS, a subject about which some consultants base their entire business. The last time I worked with AWS I nearly threw myself out a window. It’s hideously complicated. At best, this will whet your appetite, and you better understand that you’ll need a lot more information and alcohol to do the job.

Chapter 10 is about deployment. Fabric, buildout, apache2, mod_wsgi, etc. Decent.

The quick summary

B-. If you’re a novice, you’ll get the lay of the e-commerce land. But you’ll have to then find other, more detailed, information sources. If you’re an intermediate or advanced developer, you’ll breeze through this in one sitting, and probably pick up a couple of useful nuggets of information. I wouldn’t rush out to buy it, but it’s a decent book for your shelf.

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2 comments
  1. Dmitry said:

    Great review; It’s funny, but full of content, so thank you very much.

    Let me just one mention. To my mind, “if model is None” expression is more explicit than “if not model”. And, as we know, explicit is better than implicit, right? But it’s just my opinion, nothing more.

    Thank you again.

  2. Tim said:

    Hi,
    I think you are so nice on the B-…

    The author talked about django-registration and django-profiles, but he didn’t say how to use them. And in his attached code, none of them has a template! I guess he was assuming his audience are all django-masters.

    I would like to give it a C at most.

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