Book Review: IronPython in Action

IronPython in Action by Michael Foord and Christian Muirhead covers the version of Python built to run on Microsoft’s CLR and explains how to use it with the .NET framework.

Disclaimer: I received a review copy of this book from Manning through the PyATL Book Club.

There are two target audiences for this book: experienced Python developers wanting to learn .NET, and experienced .NET developers wanting to learn Python. Both groups will find plenty of interesting material and learn a lot. After some relatively basic introductory chapters, the authors dig right in building a complex GUI application, and then implementing a web interface for the same desktop application.

Along the way they introduce topics such as different programming models in Python, navigating the MSDN documentation (very important for understanding the scope of features available in .NET), packaging your app for distribution under Windows, data persistence, XML parsing, design patterns, automated testing, system administration, relational databases, and two separate GUI libraries.

All of the code is clear, concise, and useful – there are no fluffy, throw-away code snippets that fall short in the real world. While many of the examples given are specific to IronPython or .NET, the techniques being illustrated are definitely not.

I recommend this book for any Windows developer interested in learning about Python, and for Python developers looking into deploying an application under Windows. If you don’t fall into either of those groups, I can still recommend that you pick up a copy for some excellent advice on general programming topics and the solid example code.