Book review: “Rapid GUI Programming with Python and Qt” by Mark Summerfield

May 22nd, 2009 at 4:01 pm

Mark Summerfield has a lot of Qt experience, having worked as a technical writer for Trolltech, and co-authored the most popular C++ Qt book, which I’ve reviewed a few years ago.

This book is about the PyQt library, which is the Python binding for Qt. It starts by introducing Python in a few chapters, and then moves on to PyQt, beginning with the basics and eventually reaching quite advanced levels.

If you’re planning to use PyQt, this book is highly recommended. Not only does it cover the most important aspects of Qt GUI programming with Python; it also provides numerous helpful examples that aren’t just trivial toys, but really show how to achieve useful things with PyQt. In particular, I’ve found the accompanying source code of the book to be a very valuable resource – it contains full source of all the examples (and solved exercises) in the book, and serves as a great repository of well-written and idiomatic PyQt code to borrow snippets from.

Qt doesn’t only cover GUI programming. It’s a huge and extremely well designed framework for C++ programming, that provides tools for image processing, OS interfacing, data structures, network and thread programming, and much more. While critical for C++, these capabilities are less important for Python programmers, who should prefer the Python standard library. My only nit to pick is that the author seems to prefer the Qt versions of some utilities, which isn’t the right approach IMHO. After all, most PyQt users are Pythonistas looking for a robust GUI platform, not Qt gurus using Python to script their programs.

That said, some of the abilities of Qt do not exist in the standard Python library, and instead of installing them in separate packages, you might be better off with what PyQt has to offer – since the Qt code base it exposes is very robust and efficient.

Related posts:

  1. Book review: “Natural language processing with Python” by Bird, Klein & Loper
  2. Book review: “C++ GUI Programming with Qt 3″
  3. Book review: “Programming Pearls” by Jon Bentley
  4. Book review: “Beginning game development with Python and Pygame” by Will McGugan
  5. Plotting in Python: matplotlib vs. PyQwt

4 Responses to “Book review: “Rapid GUI Programming with Python and Qt” by Mark Summerfield”

  1. Eden CohenNo Gravatar Says:

    In “Moving to PyQt” you gave us your initial impressions of PyQt. I would be glad to read your current impressions, having worked with it for some time.

  2. elibenNo Gravatar Says:

    I’ve written quite a few PyQt related posts since then – I’m now using PyQt for all GUI programming in Python. If you have any specific questions, feel free to ask.

  3. devskiNo Gravatar Says:

    i thought the book was horrible. i also dont like that it uses a javaish naming style.

  4. elibenNo Gravatar Says:


    The naming style of the book is pretty good, except perhaps for camelCased method names, which the author tries to align to the style of Qt.

    Anyhow, condemning a book based on a coding style isn’t usually a good idea. The book is full of useful content.