When it comes to web development frameworks written in the Python programming language, a common question new web developers ask is “Should I Learn Flask or Should I learn Django?”
The easy answer is “Learn Both!”, but each framework has its pros and cons. Your choice of web application development framework will depend on your project requirements and your personal preferences.
Let’s create a high-level look at both, go over pros and cons, and see example of when it’s appropriate to use one Python Framework or the other.
Why a Python Web Framework?
Python is one of the fastest-growing programming languages in the world right now due to its ease of use, readability, and versatility. It’s a great language for beginners, but it’s also a great language for experienced developers. It’s also a great language for web development.
Python has a lot of great web frameworks, but the two most popular are Flask and Django. Both frameworks are great, but they are very different. This article will help you decide which Python framework is best for your project.
What is Flask?
Flask is a micro web framework written in the Python programming language. It is classified as a micro framework because it does not require particular tools or libraries. It has no database abstraction layer, form validation, or any other components where pre-existing third-party libraries provide common functions. It is a very popular framework for simple and quick web development.
History of Flask
The Flask framework was created by Armin Ronacher in 2010. It was inspired by the Sinatra web framework, which was written in Ruby. Flask is also influenced by the micro frameworks offered by other languages, such as the Bottle framework for Python and the Pylons project for Python.
What are the Main Features of Flask?
- Lightweight: Flask is lightweight because it does not require particular tools or libraries for web development. It has no database abstraction layer, form validation, or any other components where pre-existing third-party libraries provide common functions.
- Extensible: Flask is extensible because it is built on top of the Werkzeug WSGI toolkit and the Jinja2 template engine. This means that Flask is very easy to extend with custom functionality.
- Widely Used: Flask is widely used because it is easy to learn and use. It is also easy to integrate with other Python libraries and tools. Its low barrier to entry and learning curve lead to rapid development.
What is Django?
Django is a high-level Python Web framework that encourages rapid development and clean, pragmatic design. It takes care of much of the hassle of Web development, so you can focus on writing your app without needing to reinvent the wheel. It’s free and open source.
What are the Main Features of Django?
- Speed: Django was designed to help developers take applications from concept to completion during web development as quickly as possible. You can build a simple app in a matter of hours, or a fuller prototype in a day or two, and then scale up to a full-fledged site with hundreds of pages.
- Security: Django takes security very seriously and helps web developers avoid many common security mistakes, such as SQL injection, cross-site scripting, cross-site request forgery and clickjacking. Its user authentication system provides a secure way to manage user accounts and passwords.
- Scalability: Some of the biggest-name sites on the internet use Django as a backend framework, including Pinterest, Instagram, and Mozilla.
- Excellent Documentation: Django has excellent documentation, and a vibrant, helpful community. It’s easy to start using Django, and easy to find help when you need it.
History of Django
The Django framework was created by Adrian Holovaty and Simon Willison in 2003. It was inspired by the Ruby on Rails framework. Django is also influenced by the web framework for Perl, called Catalyst.
What are some key differences between Flask and Django?
- Django is a full-stack framework, while Flask is a micro framework.
- Django is more opinionated than Flask.
- Django is more feature-rich than Flask.
- Django is more mature than Flask.
- Django is more secure (out of the box) than Flask.
- Django is more enterprise-friendly than Flask.
- Flask is more lightweight than Django.
- Flask is more flexible than Django.
- Flask is more extensible than Django.
- Flask is more customizable than Django.
When should I use Flask?
Use Flask when you need a lightweight framework that is easy to learn and use. Flask is a good choice for smaller projects that don’t require a lot of features. Flask is also a good choice for projects that require a lot of customization.
Flask allows you to get up & running very quickly.
It is also very easy to learn.
Flask is also very flexible, which means you can customize it to fit your needs.
Flask is also very extensible, which means you can add features to it as you need them.
Flask Project Examples
- Very simple web app
- Web apps that require a lot of customization
- Small Python utilities that need a web interface and can even run locally
- Blog applications
- Simple Social Networking applications
- Weather Apps
- To-Do Apps
- Portfolio Apps
- Web Scraping Apps
- Simple Rest APIs
Sites Built with Flask
When should I use Django?
Use Django when you need a “batteries included” web framework.
Django is a good choice for larger projects that require a lot of features. Django is also a good choice for projects that require a lot of customization.
Django Project Examples
- Large web app
- Web app that requires a lot of features
- Web app that requires a lot of customization
- Web app that requires a lot of security
- Social Network apps
- E-commerce apps
- Content Management apps
Sites Built with Django
- The Washington Post
- The Washington Times
- National Geographic
- The Onion
Flask and Django Concepts and Frequently Asked Questions
What is a Web Framework?
A Web Framework is a collection of libraries and modules that can be used to develop web applications. Web frameworks provide a standard way to build and deploy web applications. They provide a lot of functionality out of the box, so you don’t have to write everything from scratch.
What is a Full Stack Web Framework?
A Full Stack Web Framework is a web framework that provides all the tools and libraries needed to develop a web application. This includes a database, a templating engine, a form validation library, and more.
What is a Micro Framework?
A Micro Framework is a web framework that does not require particular tools or libraries. It has no database abstraction layer, form validation, or any other components where pre-existing third-party libraries provide common functions.
What is a Batteries Included Framework?
A Batteries Included Framework (like Django) is a web framework that provides all the components needed to develop a web application. It includes a database abstraction layer, form validation, and other components where pre-existing third-party libraries provide common functions.
What is a Batteries Not Included Framework?
A Batteries Not Included Framework (like Flask) is a web framework that does not provide all the components needed to develop a web application. It does not include a database abstraction layer, form validation, and other components where pre-existing third-party libraries provide common functions.
What is an ORM?
An ORM (Object Relational Mapper) is a library that allows you to interact with a database using an object-oriented paradigm. It allows you to write Python code to query and update your database.
What is a “Template Engine”?
A Template Engine is a library that allows you to separate your application logic from your presentation logic. It allows you to write Python code to generate HTML pages.
What is a “Jinja2”?
Jinja2 is a modern and designer-friendly templating language for Python, modelled after Django’s templates. It is the default template engine for Flask.
What is a “WSGI”?
WSGI stands for Web Server Gateway Interface. It is a specification that describes how a web server communicates with web applications, and how web applications can be chained together to process one request.
What is a “Werkzeug”?
Werkzeug is a comprehensive WSGI web application library. It is the foundation on which Flask is built.
What is MVT?
MVT stands for Model-View-Template. It is a software architectural pattern for developing web applications. It divides an application into three main components: the model, the view, and the template.
The Model is the data layer. It is responsible for managing the data that is used by the application.
The View is the logic layer. It is responsible for processing user input and returning the appropriate response.
The Template is the presentation layer. It is responsible for displaying the data to the user.
What is a Rest API?
A Rest API is an application programming interface that uses HTTP requests to GET, PUT, POST and DELETE data. This allows you to build web applications that communicate with each other.
What other Python Web Frameworks are there?
There are many other Python web frameworks. Here are some of the most popular ones:
Why Use a Python Web Framework?
Python web frameworks provide a lot of functionality out of the box. They provide a standard way to build and deploy web applications. They also provide a lot of security features, so you don’t have to write everything from scratch.
What are some popular External Libraries for Django?
Here are some of the most popular external libraries for Django:
- Django REST Framework
- Django Channels
- Django Crispy Forms
- Django Debug Toolbar
- Django Filter
- Django Suit
- Django Taggit
- Django Allauth
- Django import-export
- Django Rest Auth
- Django HTMX
What are some popular External Libraries for Flask?
Here are some of the most popular external libraries for Flask:
Keep a Django Djournal