August 26, 2009 by Fernando Duran
(Disclaimer: I was approached by the publisher of the book and I received it at no cost).
The book was released by Packt Publishing on December 11, 2008 and its ISBN-10/ ISBN-13 are 1847195709 and 978-1847195708. There’s also an electronic (eBook) version available.
In summary this book is a great addition to anyone who has to work with Django’s template system.
The book is aimed at web developers and template authors and although previous knowledge of Django’s templates is not required, the reader should be familiar with the basic workings of Django. The skill level spans from beginner to intermediate, so if you are looking for particulars about an advanced topic I suggest you look at this book’s table of contents to see if it’s covered. I’m not aware of any other book dedicated exclusively to Django’s templates.
This book is pretty updated; the latest version of Django at the time of this writing is 1.1, and it was released recently (July 29, 2009) and according to the release notes there are only a couple of minor improvements that affect the templates and they are all backwards-compatible.
The writing style is clear and easy to follow. Also the visual aspect of the book (page layout, fonts, using warnings and tips boxes etc) is pleasant.
I like that throughout the book they use one particular example or “demo application” and also the code for it can be downloaded from the publisher’s web site.
Regarding the contents, chapters one and two are an introduction to templates and Django’s model, similar to the tutorial in the Django’s web site. It’s good that the basics of how the main elements of Django (models, URLs, views) are reviewed so we don’t have to jump to another reference and we get a refresher of some basic ideas.
Chapter 3 deals with the Template Context. Chapter 4 is a reference for the built-in template tags and filters, ordered alphabetically. This is a long chapter but if you are working a lot with Django’s templates this reference could by itself justify purchasing the book, since here you get explanations and examples while in the Django’s web site documentation you just get a brief description.
In the next three chapters we get some intermediate template usage like inheritance or custom tags and filters. Finally, there are also a few topics that are more advanced and they are explained with examples: pagination, customizing the admin templates, caching and internationalization.