Why choose Django for developing web applications in Python

Why choose Django for developing web applications in Python

In order to make life easier for a typical backend developer and help him with the implementation of typical applications, frameworks are used, i.e. libraries defining a ready-made application structure. The programmer only needs to fit his code fragments to this structure, and the "skeleton" of the application itself is immediately ready to use. It is the web that helps to write web frameworks. The most popular web frameworks for Python are Django and Flask.

Web frameworks take care of routing, make it easy to work with headers and query data, generate responses in different formats, save query history to files (for analysis and statistics collection, for debugging).

Django is considered the best web framework written in Python. This tool is easy to use to create websites and applications that interact with databases. In this article, you will learn about Django and understand why it is a key link in the Python ecosystem.

Past and future of the Django framework: a brief history

Django was created by programmers at the Lawrence-Journal World. The newspaper needed a website to publish news online. Adrian Golovaty and Simon Willison were the programmers who built the web application and made it public.

An active community quickly formed around Django. The framework began to grow rapidly thanks to the efforts of volunteers. Several well-known websites that have used the framework have played a big role in Django's success. These include Pinterest, Dropbox, Spotify and The Washington Post, among others. The Django community currently has over 11,000 developers from 166 countries.

Django implements the DRY (don't repeat yourself) principle. This reduces the time it takes to create websites. It means that using Django you don't have to rewrite the same code several times. The framework allows you to create a website from components. This can be compared to building a castle out of Lego bricks.

Django Framework is written in Python programming language, so its structure corresponds to the specifics of this language. The developers have implemented the MVC pattern in Django and it is used in the current version of the framework.

The MVC architecture allows the developer to work separately with the visual representation and business logic of the application. By the way, when working with Django, experts more often use the term MVT - Model-View-Template or Model-View-Template. MVT components can be used independently of each other.

Architecture of the Django framework 

The Django documentation defines a model as "a source of data information that contains key fields and data behaviour". Typically, one model points to one table in a database. Django supports PostgreSQL, MySQL, SQLite and Oracle databases.

Models contain information about data. This data is represented by attributes or fields. Because a model is a simple class, it knows nothing about other Django layers. The interaction between the layers is done through an API.

The model is responsible for business logic, methods, properties and other elements related to data manipulation. Models also allow developers to create, read, update and delete objects in the database.

A view performs three tasks: it receives HTTP requests, implements business logic defined by methods and properties, and sends HTTP responses in response to requests. This means that the view accepts data from the model and grants templates access to the data, or preprocesses the data and then grants templates access to it.

Django has a powerful template engine and its own markup language. Templates are files with HTML code with which data is rendered. The content of the files can be static or dynamic. Templates do not contain any business logic. Therefore, they only show data.

This architecture allows Django to successfully solve various tasks, which are described below.

What tasks can be done with Django: you can build web engines, CRM systems, machine learning.

Inexperienced professionals think that Django is one of many content management systems (CMS).
In fact, it is a development tool that can be used to create and run web applications.

The name of the framework emphasises its versatility. Its name comes from the famous jazz guitarist Django Reinhardt. This musician was a virtuoso guitarist, although two fingers of his left hand were disabled after an injury sustained in a fire. The musician therefore had to play chords with three fingers.

The Django framework can cope with a large number of tasks and an increased workload. It is used to create:

  • CRM systems
  • CMS systems
  • communication platforms
  • room reservation systems
  • document management platforms.

Django is also suitable for algorithm generators, newsletter platforms, verification systems, filtering systems with dynamic rules and complex parameters, platforms for data analysis and complex computing and machine learning.

Thousands of websites around the world have been built using Django. This framework is great for developing web applications. Let's see why developers love this tool.

Why is Django a great web development framework? Because of the ecosystem, SEO and libraries available.
If you ask several developers why they chose Django, the answers are mostly the same. Here are the main advantages of the framework that made it popular.

  • Developed ecosystem

    Experienced developers recommend thinking of Django as a system. This means that the framework is usually used with a large number of third-party applications. These can be selected depending on the needs of a particular project.  To better understand this principle, imagine a Lego builder. It has a lot of generic blocks. Django also has typical blocks. For example, the login block or the mailing list subscription block is used in almost every project. Web applications developed with the framework consist of these independent blocks.
  • Maturity

    Django was introduced in 2005. In its 14 years of existence, it has changed and improved a lot. New features are constantly being added to the framework and old features are being improved.   The important thing is that when you are learning about Django and looking for an answer to a specific question, in most cases it is not difficult. Thousands of experts have solved the same problems before you and shared their experiences online. This is how the Django community works.
  • Administration panel

    The Django admin panel is generated automatically when the application is created. This saves the developer from having to create the admin panel manually.  Thanks to third-party applications, Django's default admin console can be enhanced and customized for your project. Additionally, the framework allows you to customize the interface of the default admin panel.
  • SEO-friendly

    Code written in Python is readable and understandable even for untrained people. One of the reasons why Python web applications are SEO-friendly is that Django generates semantic URLs. These are also referred to as human readable or CNC URLs. Other features required for search engine optimization can be easily implemented in Django applications.

  • Expandability

    The functionality of Django is extended through plugins. These are software modules that allow you to quickly add the desired functionality to your site. There are hundreds of plugins in the official catalogue that allow you to easily implement sitemap.xml, manage accessibility, connect the Stripe payment system and so on. You can disable or replace plugins as needed to adapt the application to your current project needs.

  • Biblioteki

    Popular programming languages have libraries that can be used to solve specific problems. In libraries you can find ready-made solutions: functions, classes, configurations, etc. With such solutions, it is possible to extend the capabilities of the language and simplify application development.

    Django supports the use of libraries when developing web applications.
    Popular libraries include:

- Django REST Framework, which makes it easy to work with APIs.
- Django CMS - a handy content management tool.
- Django-allauth - registration, authorization, ORM account management functions are implemented with it.

In Django, an object-relational mapping (ORM) that provides an application's interaction with databases (databases). The ORM automatically moves data from a database, such as PostgreSQL or MySQL, into objects that are used in the application code.

  • Operation of ORM in Django 

ORM accelerates the creation of prototypes and finished web applications in Django. The developer doesn't even need to know the language used to communicate with databases.

ORM also allows you to quickly switch between databases with minimal changes to your code. For example, you can use SQLite on a local server and then switch to MySQL on a production server. However, to minimize errors, it is better to use the same database during development and in production.

Django disadvantages:

  • Not suitable for small projects

    Django's capabilities may be too much for a small project. However, there are other frameworks in the Python ecosystem that can be used in such cases. For example, if you want to create a simple chat room, Flask is a better choice.

  • No WebSocket support by default

    The WebSocket protocol allows real-time communication between the server and the browser. Django does not support this functionality "out of the box". 

  • Monolitic

    Some Django modules, like ORM or forms, are difficult to replace. Developers have to spend a lot of time changing the internal structure of the framework and using alternative tools.

  • Unpredictable behaviour of some components

    The behaviour of some Django components is not always easy to manage. One such component, for example, is the administration console. If you want to add something that is not part of the Django ecosystem, it can require serious effort and a lot of time.

    Overall, the advantages of Django definitely outweigh the disadvantages of the framework. But it's always good to be aware of alternatives, which will be discussed further on.


Alternatives to Django

Frameworks speed up the development of web applications. And there are several frameworks in the Python ecosystem that can be considered as alternatives to Django. These include Pyramid, Flask and Tornado. All three tools are suitable for both large-scale projects and small-scale applications.

PHP frameworks such as Laravel, Symphony and CakePHP can also be considered as alternatives. Laravel, for example, is suitable for working with large and small projects, and this framework has a powerful template engine.

If security is crucial to your project, Laravel can be considered your first choice tool. It has powerful encryption tools. This PHP framework works with MySQL, PostgreSQL, SQL Server, SQ Lite databases.

There are decent alternatives to Django, and choosing a tool always depends on the specifics of your project, the programming language you are working with and other factors.


Summary: Why choose Django

Programmers choose Django precisely because of these features:

  • Separation of business logic and visualisation at architecture level
  • SEO-friendly
  • Extensibility
  • Developed infrastructure: large number of libraries and plug-ins
  • Large and friendly community, which makes it easy to find answers to complex questions



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