Fluent Python – Microreview

If you really want to get into the details of Python and learn about how the language was built and how some of its internals are implemented, Fluent Python is the book for you.

It’s a great book to refresh your knowledge of coroutines, asyncio, and other Python goodies.


Flask Web Development – Miguel Grinberg Microreview

If you’re just getting started with Flask or you want to learn about the innards of Django (yep, that’s right), “Flask Web Development” is the perfect place to start. This book dives right in with creating a full web application, including Jinja templates, authentication, building a REST API, forms, databases, security, and deployment to Heroku using Git. This book will get you up and running with Flask and then quickly go into detail on how to build a full web application.

However, in my opinion, Flask should be used for small applications, but this book goes into full detail about creating a half-Django for a full web application.

With that in mind, this book is great for learning about Django – how would you implement CSRF token checks? How would you set up database migrations from scratch? How would you handle forms? Django does all of that, but hides it all from developers. This book goes into full detail reimplementing a lot of what Django gives you out-of-the-box, which is great.

Overall I highly recommend “Flask Web Development” if you’re learning either Flask, Django, or just web-backend development in general. Don’t just use what Django gives you out of the box and ignore how it’s implemented. This book will answer questions like “Why does my Django app need a SECRET_KEY? What is this CSRF error I keep seeing? How do database migrations work? How do I write my own mail handler?”, making you a better Django developer.

Get it here: http://a.co/73ERCK9


Flask Quick Startup Project

I like to start my projects using Flask and Python because it’s fast and quick for most things, yet lightweight.

By default, Flask doesn’t give you much in terms of test frameworks, application settings, deployment, or running the application in production. I always end up making a skeleton that does some of these things, so I decided to put together a GitHub repository with a skeleton Flask project that does it for me.

Have a look here: https://github.com/mikestaszel/flask_startup


DiskDict – Python dictionaries stored on disk

This weekend while running a rather large Python job, I ran into a memory error. It turned out that a dictionary I was populating could potentially become too big to fit into RAM. This is where DiskDict saved me some time.


It’s definitely not the best way to solve an issue, but in this case I was working with a limited system where rewriting the surrounding code would have been intrusive. Plus, the job didn’t have time constraints, so DiskDict was a decent workaround.

Wanted to share because it proved useful to me!


Really Simple OAuth v1 with Django

Time and time again, developers stumble upon APIs using OAuth. I’ve recently added Fitbit integration to an application I’m working on.

FitBit’s API uses OAuth v1 for authentication, and using OAuth with Django was really straightforward. Here’s what I did:


You’ll need the following packages:



Before I dive in to the code, I’ll give an overview. My application has urls.py entries for /fitbit/ for requesting the request token and storing the OAuth credentials. I store the credentials in a FitBitAPI model (ForeignKey to a Django User and CharFields for the OAuth key and OAuth secret. Whenever I need to make authenticated API calls, I can just pull the key and secret for each user right from the database.


You just need 2 entries for OAuth v1 to work:

from django.conf.urls import patterns, url
from fitbit_api import views

urlpatterns = patterns('',
    url(r'^request_request_token', views.request_request_token, name='fitbit_api_request_request_token'),
    url(r'^store_credentials', views.store_credentials, name='fitbit_api_store_credentials'),


Again, really simple:

from django.db import models
from django.contrib.auth.models import User

class FitBitAPI(models.Model):
    user = models.ForeignKey(User)
    access_token = models.CharField(max_length=128, default='')
    access_token_secret = models.CharField(max_length=128, default='')

def __unicode__(self):
    return self.user.email


This is where the action happens.

from django.shortcuts import redirect
from django.conf import settings
from django.contrib import messages
from fitbit_api.models import FitBitAPI
from requests_oauthlib import OAuth1Session

def request_request_token(request):
    oauth = OAuth1Session(settings.FITBIT_KEY, client_secret=settings.FITBIT_SECRET)
    fetch_response = oauth.fetch_request_token('https://api.fitbit.com/oauth/request_token')
    resource_owner_key = fetch_response.get('oauth_token')
    resource_owner_secret = fetch_response.get('oauth_token_secret')
    credentials = FitBitAPI.objects.create(user=request.user, access_token=resource_owner_key, access_token_secret=resource_owner_secret)
    return redirect('https://www.fitbit.com/oauth/authorize?oauth_token=%s' % resource_owner_key)

def store_credentials(request):
    oauth = OAuth1Session(settings.FITBIT_KEY, client_secret=settings.FITBIT_SECRET)
    oauth_response = oauth.parse_authorization_response(request.build_absolute_uri())
    verifier = oauth_response.get('oauth_verifier')
    oauth = OAuth1Session(settings.FITBIT_KEY,
    oauth_tokens = oauth.fetch_access_token('https://api.fitbit.com/oauth/access_token')
    resource_owner_key = oauth_tokens.get('oauth_token')
    resource_owner_secret = oauth_tokens.get('oauth_token_secret')
    credentials.access_token = resource_owner_key
    credentials.access_token_secret = resource_owner_secret
    return redirect('/')  # all done!

That’s all there is to it! Just make sure when you register your application you set the callback URL to be one that makes store_credentials() run, in this case /fitbit/store_credentials/.