Django: an overview

Django: an  overview
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Written by Nilima PaulDecember 21, 2021
13 min read
Django
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Nilima Paul

Technology Security Analyst

In this article, we will know about what is Django overview

What is Django?

Django is a high-level Python web framework that enables the rapid development of secure and maintainable websites. Built by experienced developers, Django 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 is free and open-source, has a thriving and active community, great documentation, and many options for free and paid-for support.

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Features of Django

  • Rapid Development
  • Secure
  • Scalable
  • Fully loaded
  • Versatile
  • Open Source
  • Vast and Supported Community
  • Rapid Development

Django was designed with the intention to make a framework which takes less time to build web application. The project implementation phase is a very time taken but Django creates it rapidly.

Secure

Django takes security seriously and helps developers to avoid many common security mistakes, such as SQL injection, cross-site scripting, cross-site request forgery etc. Its user authentication system provides a secure way to manage user accounts and passwords.

Scalable

Django is scalable in nature and has ability to quickly and flexibly switch from small to large scale application project.

Fully loaded

Django includes various helping task modules and libraries which can be used to handle common Web development tasks. Django takes care of user authentication, content administration, site maps, RSS feeds etc.

Versatile

Django is versatile in nature which allows it to build applications for different-different domains. Now a days, Companies are using Django to build various types of applications like: content management systems, social networks sites or scientific computing platforms etc.

Open Source

Django is an open source web application framework. It is publicly available without cost. It can be downloaded with source code from the public repository. Open source reduces the total cost of the application development.

Vast and Supported Community

Django is an one of the most popular web framework. It has widely supportive community and channels to share and connect.

What is Django Used for?

Django’s model makes use of a powerful ORM layer which simplifies dealing with the database and the data and accelerates the development process.

Without Object-Relational-Mapping, developers would have to create the tables themselves and define the queries or procedures which sometimes translates to the hefty amount of SQL that is prone to be complex and hard to track.

The ORM layer lets you write all the table definitions in simple python code, and it takes care of translating that to the appropriate query language chosen, and it also facilitates the CRUD operations.

In fact, the developer doesn’t necessarily need to know the complex SQL altogether or what it translates to, though, it worth noting that understanding SQL would allow you to write better and faster queries and also make your website more secure.

Unlike other frameworks, the models are all placed in one file, conventionally, models.py, which might make it feel crowded for bigger projects.

Django supports many database systems. SQLite is really good for testing and development because it could be used right out of the box without having to install further software. For production, you can go for MYSQL or PostgreSQL, and if you’re looking for a NoSQL database, you can use MongoDB with Django, and here’s a further read on the topic.

Advantages of Django

1. Batteries included

Django prides itself as a batteries-included framework. What that means is that it comes with a lot of stuff out of the box, that you may or may not use depending on your application. Instead of having to write your own code (the power), you just need to import the packages that you want to use.

It’s a part of the convention over configuration paradigm that Django is part of, and it allows you to make use of the solutions implemented by world-class professionals. Django batteries span a wide range of topics that include:

  • Authentication with auth package
  • Admin interfacing with admin package
  • Session management with Sessions package
  • Managing temporary or session-based messages with Messages package
  • Generating Google sitemap XML with Sitemaps package
  • Postgres special features with Postgres Package
  • Hooking into “types” of content with content types framework
  • See all Django Batteries/Packages

2. Python

Since Django uses Python, it leverages some of the fame and power of python to its own benefit. Python is arguably one of the easiest -if not the easiest- programming language to learn for beginners, and it’s also quite popular in introductory computer science courses around the world. The 2017 Stackoverflow Developers Survey revealed that Python is now more common than PHP and Python jobs pay better than C# and C++.

3. Community

Django’s community is one of the best things about it, they are helpful and actively working on making the framework more beginner-friendly and stabilizing the framework while adding new features. Django’s documentation is quite thorough and is useful as a standalone tutorial, it will help you wrap your head around various features so you can use it as a primary source of information.

4. Scalable

Most developers, when thinking about picking up a framework plan for the future in their choice. That’s why picking a scalable framework is quite essential for many, and Django is just that. It allows you to take a lot of different actions regarding scalability, as Nigel points out in his article, such as running separate servers for the database, the media, and the application itself or even use clustering or load-balancing to distribute the application across multiple servers.

5. Built-in Admin

The Django team was quite thoughtful when they created the framework, and they kept user and client satisfaction in mind. It’s quite unreasonable to create your own admin interface at the backend just to be able to manage your data with basic CRUD operations. That’s why Django offers an administrative interface right out of the box that is both professional and versatile, according to the documents the developer can now develop with the presentation in mind.

Disadvantages of Django

While Django is an amazing framework, there are a few cons that may or may not be a problem for you. First, the URL specifying with regular expressions is not an easy task to accomplish, at least for beginners. It also feels a little bloated for small projects, and some people find it quite populated with big projects since models, for example, are all included in a single file. Template errors fail silently by default, so if you don’t know that, you might waste a lot of time trying to figure out what’s wrong with the application, or even worse, you might not even know that your application has a problem. It’s also a strongly opinionated framework, which gives it a monolithic feeling. There’s one popular and advised way of doing things and you’re supposed to follow it.

How to learn Django

First, you should start with Python and understand the natural flow of web applications. You can find the programming community’s best recommended Django tutorials on Hackr.io.

You can pick the most upvoted tutorial or select tutorial as per your learning style: Video-based tutorial or a book; for beginners or for advanced learners. You can begin with CS50’s lectures on web development and you’ll also get briefed on Python and how to use it.

To master Python, Bill Weinman's course on Lynda is a masterclass and you can also check Udemy for courses on both Python and Django. The official documents of Django are also a good place to start with and it provides thorough tutorials as we said before, not just API usage.

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Nilima Paul
Technology Security Analyst
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