Friday, October 10, 2014

Flask Web Development by Grinberg: Book Review

Flask Web Development: Developing Web Applications with PythonFlask Web Development: Developing Web Applications with Python by Miguel Grinberg
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I'm not a web developer, but Flask has always had an appeal of potentially being a potential front end to a database based application. But I've never gotten very far as tutorials generally look at only the main application, and I'm pretty sure I need some extensions but I have not been able to assess the quality of the many plugins available. Flask Web Development is that tutorial that shows Flask and selects quality extensions to introduce.

Flask Web Development is written as a tutorial, not a reference. As such Grinberg can decide on what is important. It starts like many other Flask tutorials in looking at the basic application structure, templates and web forms. But then it looks at databases along with a set of extensions for database management built around SQLAlchemy: Flask-SQLAlchemy, Flask-migrate. (and email, which I don't do)

He brings it all together with walking you through a blogging application. What gives the tutorial an over-the-shoulder feel to it is an innovative use of the github repository that goes with the book. Instead of having source files in the repository, the repository uses tags to incrementally build source files, so it is really like working alongside someone who knows what they are doing as they build the application. One tag will have a basic working version of functionality, and checking out subsequent tags builds out more features.

Flask Web Development covers many aspects of web programming, well beyond what most Flask tutorials will cover. I appreciate the deep dives into database management with SQLAlchemy, and the sections on testing and profiling which have applications beyond web development.

Disclaimer: I received a free electronic copy of Flask Web Development as part of the Oreilly Blogger programming.

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