IronPython in Action

Michael J. Foord and Christian Muirhead

March 2009 | 496 pages | B&W
ISBN: 1-933988-33-9

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In 2005, Microsoft quietly announced an initiative to bring dynamic languages to the .NET platform. The starting point for this project was a .NET implementation of Python, dubbed IronPython. After a couple years of incubation, IronPython is ready for real-world use. It blends the simplicity, elegance, and dynamism of Python with the power of the .NET framework.

IronPython in Action offers a comprehensive, hands-on introduction to Microsoft's exciting new approach for programming the .NET framework. It approaches IronPython as a first class .NET language, fully integrated with the .NET environment, Visual Studio, and even the open-source Mono implementation. You'll learn how IronPython can be embedded as a ready-made scripting language into C# and VB.NET programs, used for writing full applications or for web development with ASP. Even better, you'll see how IronPython works in Silverlight for client-side web programming.

IronPython opens up exciting new possibilities. Because it's a dynamic language, it permits programming paradigms not easily available in VB and C#. In this book, authors Michael Foord and Christian Muirhead explore the world of functional programming, live introspection, dynamic typing and ‘duck typing’, metaprogramming, and more.

IronPython in Action explores these topics with examples, making use of the Python interactive console to explore the .NET framework with live objects. The expert authors provide a complete introduction for programmers to both the Python language and the power of the .NET framework. The book also shows how to extend IronPython with C#, extending C# and VB.NET applications with Python, using IronPython with .NET 3.0 and Powershell, IronPython as a Windows scripting tool, and much more.

Whether you're a Python user exploring .NET or a .NET developer exploring the world of dynamic languages, IronPython in Action will get you started quickly and show you how to be productive with this powerful new tool.


About the Authors

Michael Foord and Christian Muirhead both work full time with IronPython for Resolver Systems; creating a highly programmable spreadsheet called Resolver One. They have been using IronPython since before version 1.0 was released.

Michael Foord has been developing with Python since 2002. He blogs and writes about Python and IronPython far more than is healthy for one individual and in 2008 was made the first Microsoft MVP for dynamic languages. As the Resolver Systems community champion he speaks internationally on Python and IronPython. He maintains the IronPython Cookbook and IronPython-URLs websites, and can also be found online at In the real world he lives in Northampton, UK with his wife Delia.

Christian Muirhead began his career in a high-volume database environment, and for the last eight years has been building database-driven websites. He has five years of experience working with C#, the .NET framework, and ASP.NET. He has been using Python in most of his projects since discovering it in 1999, including building web applications for the BBC using Django. Christian is a New Zealander currently exiled in London with his wife Alice.


“I needed a more IronPython focused book that will teach me how to write dynamic code that uses .NET as well, luckily for me I stumbled upon IronPython in Action and found exactly what I was looking for.”
Dror Helper, Software Developer, Typemock

“I learned absolutely heaps from this book, even though it's about a language and environment I've been using every day for years.”
Jonathan Hartley

“All of the code is clear, concise, and useful—there are no fluffy, throw-away code snippets that fall short in the real world....I recommend this book for any Windows developer interested in learning about Python, and for Python developers looking into deploying an application under Windows.”
Doug Hellmann, Senior Developer, Racemi, former Editor-in-Chief of Python Magazine

“Seeing a book like IronPython in Action, by Michael Foord and Christian Muirhead, is another milestone for IronPython. This is a solid work in every aspect, and something nobody using IronPython on .NET should be without.”
Guido van Rossum, Creator of Python

“...avoids the trap of simply being a brochure of Microsoft technologies using 'IronPython' in place of 'C#' and 'VB.NET'. Instead, the authors mix in chapters on development techniques ranging from the familiar—such as unit testing and mocking—to the more exotic such as metaprogramming.”
Darrell Hawley, Microsoft C# MVP

“...a very good introduction to what you can achieve with IronPython and the DLR...and will serve as a useful reference when you come to start your next foray into IronPython.”
Mark Bloodworth, Architect Evangelist, Microsoft

“This is a solid work in every aspect, and something nobody using IronPython on .NET should be without. The book is chock full of useful information, presented along with a series of running examples, and covers almost every aspect of IronPython use imaginable.”
Guido van Rossum, creator of the Python programming language

“IronPython in Action is a fantastic resource for anyone learning IronPython and for anyone wondering what this dynamic language IronPython is all about and whether they should learn it.”
—Tarn Barnford, Senior Developer, Hardcat Pty Ltd

“...a thought-provoking read for any developer with an interest in dynamic languages.”
Tim Anderson,

“IronPython In Action covers all you need to get started with IronPython for an .NET or Python developer...coherent without needless ballast, well suited to the philosophy of the language itself.”
—Christian Glessner, Head of Development, Data One GmbH

“I recommend technical books typically based on their reference value, as I usually get bored within the first few sentences and end up turning them into references rather than reading through them. This book, however, was one that I read cover-to-cover...Overall, I would recommend IronPython in Action for anyone wanting to learn IronPython.”
Sarah Dutkiewicz, The Coding Geekette

“...I congratulate the authors on this excellent introductory work. While I initially set out with a desire to learn a skill, I instead received an education. In the process, I got excited about programming Python and OpenSource.”
Rob Oakes, Apolitically Incorrect

“For any serious work with IronPython...this book will save you a ton of learning time. The examples are clear, concise, and -- most importantly -- realistic. Even if you already know Python and .NET inside and out, but are new to IronPython, this book will save you some headaches learning about how they interact.”
Jeff Hardy

“This book is a good for all .NET developers who want to know about the new trend towards the dynamic languages and IronPython in particular. You get a good explanation of what IronPython can do for you and how to go about solving every day programing problems. With the current push towards dynamic behavior, even in languages like C#, every experienced .NET developer should read this book!”
Maurice de Beijer, independent software consultant, DevelopMentor instructor, Microsoft MVP

“...Let me say that I found the book extremely interesting, and I suggest it to everybody needing (or wanting) to work with .NET from a dynamic perspective or to .NET developers interested in the world out there.”
Lawrence Oluyende, Senior Developer, StatPro PLC

“If you are an existing .NET programmer, this book is for you: it will carry you through your first steps into the dynamic language runtime and will provide you with good grounding in the Python language. If you are new to programming and are unsure where to start, this is also the book for you: it provides a high-level overview at the start of each chapter followed by a reasonably detailed explanation...It's free from lengthy introductions and reams of source code. Extensive use of footnotes provide links to further information if it's required.”
Craig Murphy, Microsoft MVP,

“I have started reading the book. Chapters 1 to 3 of IronPython in Action are great. The first three chapters start with a fantastic summary of Python and .NET.”
Rob Oakes, Apolitically Incorrect

“It covers the basics well but does not shy away from more advanced stuff, both at a language level—like meta-programming—and at a .NET level, like DLR/Silverlight...Recommended.”
Sean McGrath, CTO, Propylon Inc.

“This book is a must for your bookshelf.”
Davy Mitchell, Davy Mitchell's Meandering Weblog

“...For any serious users of IronPython, this book is a must have.”
Noel O'Boyle, blogger