Hello Web App

Learn Python & Django by building a web app (pre-order)



most upvoted
Tracy Osborn — Founder, WeddingLovely
Hey everyone — what a nice surprise to wake up to!

I'm a designer who taught myself Python/Django a few years ago to launch a startup. I've always been super frustrated about current programming tutorials, since usually they assume some programming knowledge (throwing around terms like MVC and whatnot) and most Django tutorials, including the official one, don't get to the "website" stuff and templates until the very end or not at all.

Some of the things I tried to do differently:

* The first thing you do is set up static files and templates, so you can see the web app as an actual website before jumping into databases and models.
Anything that isn't crucial to know starting out, I don't mention to keep things simple. I'm hoping to help people launch a web app as fast as possible, even if there is a bit of "hand-waving" magic going on during. Learn by doing! (Also the motto of my alma mater.)

* The tutorial isn't anything specific, like making a polling app. You made a "collection of things" which you're encouraged to update to what you want to build (a blog is a collection of posts, a store is a collection of products, a directory is a collection of people... etc.) Hoping adding creativity will help the material stick.

* Includes deployment on Heroku, which honestly was the hardest chapter to write. I ended up making my own deployment package to make it easier: https://github.com/hellowebapp/h...

* Added (and continuing to add) a bunch of additional help and instructions on a public GitHub repo: https://github.com/hellowebapp/h...

Also, the whole book was laid out and designed by me as well, which was a really fun process.

Happy to answer any questions and would love to know what everyone thinks — like ways to improve the website, recommendations for the book (yay for self-publishing, I can easily make a new edition), places I can share this with... anything appreciated.

Thanks everyone!
Irving Torres — Freelance Designer
@limedaring Wow this sounds great. Interesting how you decided to go with a physical book package as well. Definitely a must for people just starting out and I like that it is tailored for non-programmers. The videos, web resources and the GitHub repo add-ons are legit. Added this my collection.
Tracy Osborn — Founder, WeddingLovely
@irvingtorresyc A lot of that was because I have a background in design and couldn't resist (masochistically). Since you're making something digitally, it's nice to have an online copy, but there is just something so awesome about having something in your hands... not to mention, the book is actually going to look better than the test version I photographed for the website. I added a spot gloss, which should be super sweet.

I'm finishing up the videos this week and should have a big preview of them up soon. Regretfully they aren't perfect before this got on PH but they're going to be a huge value-add.

Thanks for the comment!
Andrey Petrov — Creator, self
I've been mostly sitting in the next room while Tracy has been writing her book for more than a year now, one of my favourite stories is how Tracy was trying to work with a traditional publisher originally—and even got some offers. The rates were pretty abysmal, though. Something like $8K and 5% royalties.

Instead, Tracy decided to go the Kickstarter route and raised $12K (a bit less after fees/failed payments) and kept 100% of her royalties. Traditional publisher terms vary, but you'll never get a deal as good as self-funding if you're equipped to do so. Good thing she's a designer, as she built out her own website, her own book cover, did her own book layouts, etc. Definitely earned that extra royalty, I'd say. :)
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