Web frameworks make development as easy as possible for web developers. However, Python, one of the most popular programming languages, has received many contributions in terms of application in backend development.
Python has many web frameworks. These frameworks fall into macro or micro categories. TurboGears, Web2Py, Pyramid, and Django are some of Python’s macro web frameworks. Meanwhile, Flask, CherryPy, and Bottle are examples of microframeworks.
However, the most used examples in both categories are Django and Flask. For that reason, let’s take a look at both frameworks to help you decide which one is worth spending more time learning.
Basic frame structure
Although they are Python frameworks, the architecture of Django and Flask are entirely different from each other. Let’s see how their architecture affects your choice as a user.
Due to its use in building more complex Python-based web applications, Django has a robust architecture that allows for scalability. It is Model–See–Model (MVT) makes it the ideal framework for full-stack development. So, if you are looking for a way to master the frontend and backend aspects of web development and use Python as your server-side language, Django is still the best option to consider.
In addition to the availability of a wide range of development packages and a pre-built Python file structure, Django offers a built-in object-relational mapper (ORM), giving it flexible access to a variety of databases. Essentially, you don’t need to write many queries to insert or call objects from the database.
When you create tables through Django’s templates, all you have to do is set the attributes of those tables in your database inside individual objects. The raw queries that make up these tables are then automatically validated in your migrations file after moving your tables to the database.
Thus, Django’s ORM helps you deal with the extra work of writing separate queries for your database. And if you want to focus more on running your website without worrying about setting up third-party database injection, Django might be a choice.
Structure of the bottle
Flask offers minimal architecture compared to Django. It’s a microframework that doesn’t deal with as much complexity as Django. Unlike Django’s MVT architecture, Flask follows the most common Model–Views–Controller (MVC).
However, Flask’s views and controller are synonymous with Django’s models and views, respectively. This means that instead of views from Django, you get controllers in Flask. And Flask’s Views take over the functions of Django’s Templates.
Unlike Django, when you install Flask in your virtual environment and open your project, you get an empty file directory. This means that you have to start creating your files manually.
So, if you want to avoid Django’s complex structure, Flask is a great choice to consider. However, because it’s lightweight, Flask doesn’t offer as many built-in packages as Django. And for you to use ORM functionality in Flask, you need a third-party database injection package called SQLAlchemy.
Ease of learning and chances to deepen
In terms of ease of learning, Django involves a lot of twists and turns that can get boring for you over time. However, Flask might be more interesting to learn because of the few tweaks needed to make your app work.
Due to the complexity and wide application of Django in various development angles, such as its REST framework’s role in developing navigable APIs, the learning curve can get confusing. But considering that, the functionality alone might be a good reason to learn Django regardless.
Although Flask also has a REST extension for building APIs, it still doesn’t offer the full, integrated API framework provided by Django. But looking at the usability of either framework in general, Flask is more beginner-friendly.
And because you make most of the connections and structure in Flask, it exposes you to basic understanding of web development workflow with Python. Unlike Django, it’s a simple framework that focuses on building what you intend to do, without necessarily losing control of how your files connect.
If you don’t have much Python knowledge yet, learning Flask might be the perfect way to get started. Also, writing code in Flask is mostly writing pure Python.
However, if you’re aiming to choose a more challenging Python framework that gives you greater exposure to standard web development practices—without worrying too much about internal wiring, Django might be the right choice. That doesn’t mean you can’t dive deeper with Flask as well — as stated earlier, it’s a great way to start your learning journey with Python web frameworks.
User base and community
Although easy to learn and lightweight, Flask lags behind Django in popularity. The robustness, release stability, and speed of developing web applications with Django are some of the reasons why it is the framework of choice for most developers.
And looking at their trending on Stack Overflow, Django is a bit more talked about than Flask. This means that there is a large Django community to rely on for help when you run into problems. However, that also doesn’t make Flask any less of a framework in terms of community support.
Moreover, the difference between their popularity is not so significant. According to the 2020 Developer Survey, as reported on the JetBrains website, Django takes 49% in popularity, while Flask is popular at 46%. That’s only a 3 percent difference.
This stat alone should calm your fears and anxieties about the availability of a support community for Flask. So no matter how stuck you find yourself, there’s always a solution to fall back on.
What kind of projects does each framework serve?
One of Django’s features is that you can create multiple applications and link them through dedicated URLs. This makes Django a framework of choice for building more complex applications that require future scalability.
However, building complex apps with Flask is also possible, but that doesn’t sit well with its current architecture. It is more suitable for creating simple applications that do not require complicated infrastructure to advance.
Although Django offers scalability, you still don’t have full control over its units. Flask, on the other hand, offers simplicity but gives you the ability to dig your hands into its various components. This is because in Flask you tend to write most of the blocks yourself with minimal dependency on third party packages.
Which of the Python web frameworks should you choose?
We have mentioned the two frameworks, without trying to place them one above the other. So, based on what you know now, the best Python web framework to start learning depends on your existing capabilities and your use case.
However, a better approach is to know the basics of Python. You can then try the easy setting first before moving on to the complex. And whichever you choose, both frameworks have their area of expertise. So you can also decide on this basis.
Interested in learning advanced web development? Avoid writing repetitive code — use these web development frameworks instead.
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