Free tutorials for learning Django

So, you have heard about that awesome web framework named after a Quentin Tarantino movie and want to learn how to use it. But how do you get started?

In this post, I want to present you some free resources for learning Django and discuss their pros and cons. But first, you have to know that Django, the web framework, is actually seven years older than Django, the movie. It is named after Django Reinhardt, a Jazz player.

One of Django’s most compelling features is the excellent documentation. So your first stop on your journey of learning Django would be the official Django tutorial.

The big advantage of official Django tutorial is that is always up to date. When a new version of Django is released, third-party resources always take some time to catch up. At the time the post was written, the Django was at version 1.10, but most resources were still referencing Django 1.8.

The official Django tutorial does a good job of explaining Django itself, but it doesn’t cover the underlying concepts. If you are completely new to web development or programming in general and terms like web servers, SQL databases and APIs don’t really mean anything to you, you might face a steep learning curve.

A more gentle introduction is offered by the Django Girls tutorial. It doesn’t assume any prior knowledge of web development, Python or programming in general and is really a great resource to start completely from scratch. Don’t let the name deter you, the Django Girls tutorial is suitable for all genders and ages. A big advantage of the Django girls tutorial is that it is available in several different languages.

One thing I especially like about the Django Girls tutorial is that you will end up with a web site that is actually accessible from everyone on the Internet, so you can easily show your friends what you achieved. How cool is that?

This tutorial is used at Django Girls events, which are free, one-day workshops that aim to bring more women into the world of technology. Those workshops happen all over the world, so if you are a woman, I highly recommend to check if there is an event near you.

Both the official tutorial and the Django Girls tutorial make you build a rather simple application. If you are looking for something more advanced, check out the Taskbuster Django tutorial by Marina Mele. It takes a test-driven approach to build a more complex app with authentication through Twitter and Google.

If you want to take the test-driven approach even further, I recommend the book Test-Driven Development with Python by Harry Percival, which you can read online for free. It goes way beyond the basics and covers topics like JavaScript and deployment. If you consider buying the physical book, note that the 2nd revision is due to be released in January 2017.

If your preferred language is German, check out check out django-marcador. In this tutorial, you learn to build a bookmarking application with a nice frontend with Django 1.8. It is also available in English and Spanish.

Did I miss any free Django tutorials? Let me know in the comments!

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