Python Web Programming

Python Web Programming by Steve Holden with David Beazley; New Riders, 2002, 691 pages.

Python Web Programming is a great resource for web programmers. I have found not found this much information on all aspects of web programming with Python in any other book. It is extremely well written and a joy to read.

The book first gives an overview of the Python language. This overview is well worth reading, even if you are already a Python expert. Steve Holden has a unique and interesting perspective on the matters at hand, and he gives very detailed expositions on the whys and wherefores behind various Pythonic idioms. I found this section gave me a different point of view and a deeper understanding of several aspects of Python's design and structure than I had previously realized.

Next, in a very rich and informative section, over 100 pages are devoted to Network Programming in Python. After giving a very clear and detailed overview of basic network programming basics, the author shows how the Python libraries can be used to do meaningful client side and then server side web programming. I am sure that I will come back often to this section as I further explore CGI programming and also server side programming. The book gives good instructions on how to practice server side programming even if you only have a simple web connection. This section is really valuable.

Database Programming in Python then receives over 100 pages of work. I am weak in this area, but the explanations in this section gave me a good enough background to better understand the database parts of later web programming topics.

Next, almost 100 pages are devoted to XML and Python, including SAX. This section is also well written and the explanations were enough for me to again comprehend the following web programming topics whenever XML came into play.

Finally, the book covers some home brewed, integrated web applications. AWeFUL, an object oriented web site framework, and PythonTeach, a web application for use in academics, are two straight forward programs very well understood by Steve Holden and are beautifully explained.

This book is worthwhile to anyone with an interest in CGI, server-side programming, or just web programming using Python in general. Really, I think that anyone into Python will thoroughly enjoy this book, and will learn a lot. The database and MXL sections are like icing on the cake. I believe the book is aimed at folks experienced with Python, but the explanations are detailed and clear enough for even those who are not "experts".

I highly recommend this book.