Is Django the Ultimate Web Framework?

At the start of each of my coding seminars for undergraduates, I initiate a simple coding game. I ask them to define a concept (such as “web frameworks”), and the first person to answer correctly will be rewarded with a token of appreciation. Invariably, the students respond quickly, with many reaching for their phones, tablets and computers to find the solution. Usually, a winner is identified within a few minutes.

I ask my students to switch off all electronic devices and try again, this time with a different approach. If they are unable to connect to the internet swiftly, they will have to go outdoors to find a signal. Generally, they have to wait for a response for a period of 10-15 minutes.

Lastly, we will endeavour to explore another concept, without relying on the internet. To do this, we need to visit the library, which could take up to thirty minutes.

Following the presentation of the prizes, we discussed the experiment in more detail. My point was regarding the amount of time available, however, many students misunderstood me as suggesting that life was harder before the widespread use of the internet.

The standards of timekeeping have remained constant for several centuries, however our understanding of the concept of time has changed considerably during this time. It appears that time is passing more quickly than ever, emphasising the importance of each second. Our workloads, spending habits and pace of life have all intensified, meaning that the time we share together is of greater value as we eliminate unnecessary and time-consuming activities.

For the present, let us continue to utilise this analogy. One could compare a web framework to the skinning knife used by chefs while preparing a meal, which in this instance is a web application. Through automation, we are able to reduce costs, enhance quality, and accelerate the service offered in web development.

As a perfectionist, I often feel that using web frameworks and pre-made components and modules can seem like a shortcut. I am constantly reminded that I am not giving my best effort until I build everything from the ground up.

When considering a bespoke build, it is important to bear in mind the potential time and energy investment required. To ensure the best results, it is advisable to use a web framework which is built on a reliable and versatile technology, allowing for customisation without compromising the efficiency that automation can bring.

Django is the web framework I use if I need to create a site that interacts with a database.

The term “Django” doesn’t seem to fit.

Django, named after the celebrated jazz guitarist, was developed by Adrian Holovaty and Simon Willison as an open-source web framework based on the Python programming language. As the creators moved from PHP to Python in 2003, an organic framework manifested.

In 2005, after several years of developing and refining the framework, World Online released it under a 3-clause BSD licence. Subsequently, in 2008, the Django Software Foundation (DSF) was founded as a charity organisation to manage the continual development of Django and promote its advantages. As of writing, Django is 15 years old.

DSF and a large, engaged community ensure that this web framework, which is somewhat old by modern standards, is being improved.

Use of Django, Why?

Django has benefited from the popularity of the Python programming language, due to its ease of use and readability. This makes it an accessible and manageable choice.

Django considers component reuse and the “don’t repeat yourself” ethos to be fundamental principles. This allows for the quick and efficient development process, as it encourages the reuse of assets and the minimisation of code.

If you are dissatisfied with Django’s approach to a particular situation, Python can often be utilised to enact modifications. For example, if the existing administration interface does not meet your needs, you can opt to replace it with your own custom code.

This is also true of other Python-based frameworks like Flask, however Django’s superiority lies in the following areas:

  • The Django framework is renowned for its supportive community and extensive libraries, making it an ideal choice for novice web developers. Furthermore, users of Django have access to a variety of packages, including the Django REST framework to construct APIs and the Django Content Management System to administer websites.
  • Django offers preconfigured solutions to facilitate a quick start, whether you require a basic object-relational mapper to express your database in Python, or an advanced administrative interface with a model-centric interface.
  • Django offers strong security due to its capabilities in protecting developers’ work from potential attackers. These methods include cross-site scripting, cross-site request forgery and SQL injection. Furthermore, the use of a web-framework provides an additional layer of security as the code is tested and verified by the community.
  • Django has been established for over 10 years, with numerous alterations and utilised for a broad range of web applications, such as e-commerce sites, news portals and even social media platforms. If you are looking for inspiration for your project, it is likely that you will find a tutorial, documentation or a related Stack Overflow topic.

OK, so what’s the catch?

There is no such thing as a flawless web framework; even Django has its flaws that a perfectionist should be aware of before adopting it.

  • Django is a powerful and comprehensive framework for constructing complex web applications. However, its performance for smaller apps is not optimal, and the expansive features it offers can result in a slower performance in applications which would otherwise run quickly with frameworks such as Flask.
  • Unfortunately, Django was developed in an era when the ability to serve multiple requests with a single process was not the standard. As such, Django does not provide support for this feature, which is now commonplace in modern frameworks and helps to improve web app performance. In this instance, the developer will need to come up with inventive solutions to enable a single process to handle multiple requests or use a brute force approach.
  • Django’s reputation as a low-coupling solution is no longer accurate and is now outdated. In comparison, certain systems have components that are more easily detached.

What Is the Final Judgment?

Django is widely recognised as one of the most powerful and popular Python web frameworks available. It is a straightforward and effective product that delivers on its promises from the outset. However, JavaScript and PHP developers still dominate the market.

Flask may be the more suitable option for more modest projects. Many Python developers find it straightforward to acquire knowledge of both frameworks, enabling them to make an informed choice for each individual project.

Django is a powerful framework that is capable of scaling and adapting to different needs, due to its underlying use of a highly versatile programming language. This makes it an ideal choice for developers who are seeking to produce a top-quality product in a timely manner.

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