What is Django Used For?

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Jakub Protasiewicz

Updated May 26, 2024 • 12 min read
When should you use Django?

Django is used for development of different types of websites, in particular, a highly customisable app, such as a social media website.

Django is a free, open source, high-end framework written in the famously simple, flexible, and relatively easy-to-learn Python programming language. Initially released in 2005, it’s used by thousands of programmers every year, owing to its friendliness to beginners and advanced users alike.

At the same time, this robust and effective framework is used (and therefore battle-tested) by some of the largest websites in the world. Mozilla uses it for a number of its websites, and it’s also used by Spotify, Pinterest, Instagram, and the Onion, to name just a few. It’s very popular and, crucially, under active development. It doesn’t matter what operating system you’re using, either – Windows, Mac, Linux – it’s all the same to Django.

When it comes to web development, the framework you decide to use is vital. As with all frameworks, Django is best suited to some situations, and less so to others. Read on when Django is the best choice.

What is Django?

Django is one of the free and open-source Python web frameworks. Django follows MVC-MVT architecture pattern and allows users to build securable, clean and maintainable websites. It distinguishes itself among other frameworks because it is fast, includes tons of packages, it is secure, scalable as well as versatile.

This framework provides a powerful and production-ready Automatic administration interface interface that can be used to manage content on a website. It basically reads metadata from the models to provide a quick, model-centric interface that eliminates adding data manually.

Django also offers multilingual support that is used for translating text into different languages. Additionally, it locates-specific formatting of dates, times, numbers, and time zones.

Exploring the Django Framework

Django's stand-out feature, the admin panel, exemplifies its "batteries included" philosophy, encompassing a wide range of tools and modules that simplify common development tasks. As an open-source framework, it benefits from the contributions of a vast community, providing reliable HTTP libraries and other tools that streamline the development process, making Django an ideal choice for both beginners and experienced developers alike.

The Essence of Django and Its Role in Web Development

The Django framework, with its pragmatic design, elevates it beyond merely being a high-level Python web framework. It fundamentally alters the development process by abstracting common web development patterns, thereby streamlining the creation and execution of web applications. This efficiency is central to Django’s role in web development, enabling developers to focus on the unique aspects of their applications without reinventing the wheel for every new project.

Why Django is Considered "Opinionated"

Django's decoupled architecture allows it to offer a default structure for web applications, which means it makes certain decisions about how development tasks should be accomplished. Unlike unopinionated frameworks, which offer more flexibility at the cost of requiring more decisions to be made by the developer, Django's approach helps streamline the development process, making it faster and more efficient.

How Django's Design Philosophies Affect Your Projects

One of the philosophical cornerstones of Django is its ability to work with multiple databases. This design choice not only broadens the potential for data storage solutions but also impacts the scalability and flexibility of the projects you develop. By facilitating interaction with different database servers without needing significant alterations to the codebase, Django ensures that your projects can grow and adapt to new requirements with ease.

Django's "Batteries Included" Approach

The term “batteries included” aptly describes the Django framework’s comprehensive set of features. Among these, the template engine stands out by allowing developers to quickly generate HTML dynamically, streamlining web page creation and reducing development time.

What This Means for Rapid Development

The "batteries included" philosophy of Django means developers have access to a wide array of built-in tools from the start, significantly speeding up the development process. This approach reduces the need to search for or develop common functionalities from scratch, allowing for more focus on the unique aspects of the application being developed and faster deployment of complete, robust web applications.

When should you use Django?

Django is built to encourage rapid development and clean, practical design. Like any web application framework, it’s a toolkit of components needed when developing a site. Its purpose is to provide a concrete foundation of the basics, allowing developers to focus on parts of their site that are unique to their project and not waste time with the fundamental boilerplate stuff.

A customisable application

This makes it a good choice when you’re building a highly customisable app, such as a social media website. You don’t have to worry about reinventing the wheel. Just let Django cover the basics, and focus on the unique parts you need to tweak and experiment with, such as the interaction between users, or the ability to share different types of media. In addition to this Django, much the same as Python as a whole, has a strong community-based approach. You can utilise libraries of third-party extensions and plugins to customise your app however you wish.

Web apps with a minimal amount of code

A ‘batteries included’ approach to programming is a hallmark of both Python and Django, and it makes the framework an excellent choice for any developer who wants to build modern and robust web applications with a minimal amount of code. It’s a highly structured framework – it forces you to do things the Django way, rather than your own way.

A site that requires secure foundation

When building a site that requires a strong and secure foundation that protects transactions and sensitive data, such as an ecommerce site, Django is a great framework to use. It hides your source code by default, and it’s often one of the first frameworks to respond to a new vulnerability. It has a solid user authentication model with the ability to configure different users, and its core team also usually alerts other frameworks of patches they should make to maintain security. This all makes Django a very suitable choice when cybersecurity is a top priority.

Applications to scale up in the future

Another area in which Django is used for by many developers is scalability. At its core, Django is just a series of components of Python, wired up and ready to go. Since these components are separate entities, they’re not dependent on each other.

Protasiewicz quote on Django

You can pick and choose, unplug and replace them as and when your site requires. This means you can build it up to whatever level of performance you need your site to be capable of, at any time, without compromising the functionality of the website.

When not to use Django

Django is not necessarily the best framework to use in every instance. While it’s a brilliant foundation for constructing large projects, it’s often overkill for smaller ones. Its heavy, monolithic structure can be a hindrance for developers looking for highly customisable, quicker apps, such as a short script. The strengths of Django lay in its reliable, efficient, architecturally sound, secure nature when building apps on the larger side.

Understanding Django's Popularity and Community

The Django web framework has garnered a significant following for its emphasis on rapid development and clean, pragmatic design. Its popularity stems from the comprehensive nature of its documentation and the supportive global community that contributes to its ongoing development. Forums, Q&A sites, and numerous online tutorials provide an accessible platform for newbies and experienced developers alike. This ecosystem not only fosters learning and collaboration but also ensures that the framework stays updated with security patches and new features, making it a reliable choice for web development projects.

A Brief History: The Origins of Django

Django was created in 2003 by web developers Adrian Holovaty and Simon Willison as an internal project at the Lawrence Journal-World newspaper. It was developed to manage the intensive newsroom content management systems and was released as open-source in July 2005. The framework was named after the famous guitarist Django Reinhardt, reflecting the creators' aspiration for the project to be skillful and versatile. Its origin as a solution to real-world web development challenges has shaped its practical, efficient approach to building maintainable websites.

The Growth of Django: How It Became a Top Choice for Developers

Since its public release, Django has evolved into a top choice among developers for creating web applications. Its "batteries-included" philosophy offers a rich set of features out of the box, from user authentication to RSS feeds, which accelerates development time. Django's emphasis on reusability and "don't repeat yourself" (DRY) principle encourages clean, efficient coding practices. The framework's ability to adapt to both simple and complex project requirements has contributed to its widespread adoption across industries, from tech startups to large corporations.

Django vs. Other Frameworks: A Comparative Analysis

While Django stands out for its comprehensive features and rapid development capabilities, comparing it to other frameworks highlights its unique strengths. Unlike Flask, which is a microframework, Django adopts a "batteries-included" approach, providing more built-in features for developers. However, this can make Django appear more complex than Flask for small projects. Compared to Ruby on Rails, another opinionated framework, Django offers more flexibility due to its modular design. Its tight integration with Python, one of the most popular programming languages, further contributes to Django's appeal among developers looking for a powerful yet flexible framework for web development.

Advanced Django Topics for Further Exploration

Diving deeper into Django's capabilities, developers encounter advanced topics that enhance their projects' functionality and security. Mastery over Django’s ORM (Object-Relational Mapping) enables complex database operations without writing SQL. Understanding middleware, signals, and Django REST framework opens up possibilities for creating rich web APIs and interacting with other services seamlessly. For those looking to scale their applications, exploring Django’s caching and asynchronous features is essential. These advanced topics not only improve project performance but also broaden a developer's skill set.

Configuring Django Settings: Best Practices for Secure and Efficient Projects

Proper configuration of Django settings is crucial for maintaining the security and efficiency of web applications. Developers must pay careful attention to security settings to mitigate risks and address security issues proactively. Regularly updating Django to apply security patches ensures protection against vulnerabilities. Additionally, customizing settings to match the project's environment—such as configuring database connections, static file handling, and allowed hosts—optimizes performance and prevents common configuration mistakes. Adhering to these best practices safeguards applications and enhances their reliability.

Summarizing the Power and Flexibility of Django

Django stands out among python web frameworks for its ability to facilitate rapid development and clean, pragmatic design. Its comprehensive suite of tools and "batteries included" approach enable developers to build both simple and complex web applications efficiently. The framework's robust security features, scalability, and versatility make it an excellent choice for projects of any size, from small startups to large-scale enterprises like National Geographic. Django's rich ecosystem of third-party packages further enhances its flexibility, making it one of the most powerful frameworks on the market.

Recapping What Makes Django an Excellent Choice for Web Developers

The combination of Django's rapid development capabilities, clean design principles, and extensive library of django packages positions it as a top choice among python web frameworks. Its emphasis on reusability and "don't repeat yourself" (DRY) principle promotes efficient coding practices, while its security features ensure applications are protected against common vulnerabilities. For web developers looking for a versatile, scalable, and secure framework, Django offers an unmatched solution that continues to evolve in response to the needs of the modern web.

Looking Ahead: The Continuous Evolution of the Django Framework

Django's future is focused on further enhancing its adaptability and efficiency to meet the demands of contemporary web development. With features aimed at simplifying the management of database tables, improving the Django template language, and supporting the rapid scale of projects, Django is committed to staying relevant and powerful. Initially developed with the python programming language at its core, Django leverages python code and the DRY principle to help developers write efficient HTML templates. As Django supports an ever-expanding array of functionalities, its continued evolution is a testament to its robust foundation and responsive development community.

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Jakub Protasiewicz

Engineering Manager
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