Django vs Rails: The Dead-Tree Edition «

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In Conclusion

The difference speaks for itself. I’ll write about why this matters tomorrow.

(Yeah, I used the Fancy Link Builder I posted yesterday about. It was infuriating to use, it has whiz-bang Javascript to open a product detail lightbox that served only to make it nearly impossible to copy cover images. New theory: the creators of the Fancy Link Builder are moles from offline bookstores who have infiltrated Amazon to destroy it from within.)


  1. Hmm. Is this a repost from the mid-nineties? You seem to have misspelled “Perl”, though.

  2. wow, that’s amazing..

    ..the fact that I hadn’t known about the Django Template Development book, i’m going to pick that up..

    Otherwise, nothing else jumped out at me

  3. I think it’s an unfair comparison considering that Django 1.0 was released only 4 months ago and Rails 1.0 was released 3 years ago and now it’s at version 2.2. Publishers try not to publish books about “unfinished” software because the book would lose most (if not all) of its benefits in a very short time. A very good example is the “Practical Django Projects” book.

  4. There are two covers of “Beginning Rails: From Novice to Professional” in the RoR list.

  5. The good new is that anyone who fancies writing a Django development book has a fairly open playing field. :)

    This may also be a reflection of how good the Django’s online documentation is compared with ROR’s offerings.

  6. Have you heard of quality vs quantity? I have personally read most of the Django books and a number of the RubyOnRails books and the quality of some of the RubyOnRails books is poor in comparison.

    In fact the Django books published by Apress are worth their weight in gold. All are authored by core Django developers. Can you say the same about RubyOnRails books?

    It is also interesting to note that O’Reilly and Pragmatic don’t (yet) have books published for Django.

  7. i think the failure of this biased post is:
    try to make a similar comparison with python books vs ruby books.

    90% of books about ruby are on ruby on rails. django is a framework built with a language with a much larger support, community, libraries.

    my personal dead-tree edition:
    google on “ruby programming”: 2.120.000 results
    google on “python programming”: 5.900.000 results

  8. I don’t think there is any failure represented here at all, and think the results do in fact “speak for themselves” as Peter suggests.

    Here’s what I think is going on: the Django documentation is exceptionally well-written and useful. Seriously. A recent poll on This Week in Django showed that the vast majority of Djangonauts originally learned their craft through the reference documentation.

  9. One challenge for would-be Django authors is the need to figure out some way to add value to Django’s excellent on-line tutorial and documentation.

    The other thing that doesn’t show in the list above is the high level of duplication in the Rails books. Many spend a lot of page count covering the same basic material. Once you’ve read Agile Web Development with Rails, the incremental value of many of those others isn’t very high. (With some exceptions: E.g., Ajax on Rails has some excellent coverage of security issues, and the Recipes are useful for some specific problems.) Factor out the duplication, and the page count on the Rails list would shrink considerably.

  10. The only thing that jumps out at me is that Rails people are trying to take the passive-aggressive bullshit that goes on in-house and bring it over to Django.

  11. Looks to me like Django is so easy it can get by with just a couple books — RoR is sufficiently difficult that it needs a whole shelf worth of books.

    Or maybe Django presupposes Python knowledge where RoR needs to teach Ruby concurrently?

  12. Interested to see where you take this but just to fulfill my nitpicky requirement, RESTful Web Services isn’t a Rails book (maybe the fact that Sam Ruby works on Rails threw you off)

  13. To be fair, you might want to include Python books in the Django section since you’ve included Ruby books in the Rails section. Or you can achieve balanced by omitting the Ruby books.

    Second, it’s more important to use the right tool for a given job. Is a hammer better than a screwdriver? It depends on whether… you get the point.

    Finally: number_of-books != measure_of_excellence. I know that you’re only doing a humorous comparison here, and I’m looking forward to a more detailed post tomorrow.

  14. huxley: RESTful Web Services has an example project and lots of demo code in Rails. I included it because I thought it interesting in taking Rails and using it to build a more general-topic book on.

    Raymond: Thanks for reading it in the spirit it was intended. But all the Rails books are indeed about Rails.

  15. There’s also two covers of “Professional Ruby on Rails”.

  16. This is funny considering the ruby/rails people were touting the one book available for rails at the time as a benefit when compared to java. Oh well, no one ever accused the rails folks of making sense ;)

  17. Wow…looking closer at the books makes it even worse.

    You need to include all the Python books if you include a single Ruby book (that would weaken the argument, of course).

  18. For those who have not seen the Newman title (Django 1.0 Template Development) I am about 1/2 way through it and so far I like it. It is aimed at Django developers (as opposed to template maintainers) and even the intro chapters included tidbits I didn’t know despite the fact that I own 4 other Django books and have used Django since 2005. Tentatively recommended.

  19. 4 of those books under rails have nothing to do with Ruby on Rails. One even isn’t about Ruby!

  20. Wowee… well I hope the “why this matters” post concludes that it doesn’t, cuz this is just silly.

    I’m a Rails guy, and this post just made me shrug. If the number of books (good, bad or somewhere in between) made any darn difference, we’d all be hacking Java or .NET.

    Rails has more books, bigger conferences… big deal. Python/Django has appengine, Guido + google… again, big honkin’ deal.

    Can’t we all just get along? Christ.

  21. There’s no need for all these Django books, except the Pro Django one.

  22. Who needs books when you have Official Docs + Django Book + django-users + #django

    Plus its Python. That’s the BIGGEST +

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