Flask vs Django - When to choose Which?

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    Python is one of today’s most often used programming languages. Thanks to this popularity, developers and programmers have many tools and resources at their disposal. Today we cover two of the most popular Python Web Frameworks: Flask vs Django.

    A Brief Python Overview

    Here is how the Python Software Foundation, the organization behind Python, sums up the language: “…an interpreted, object-oriented, high-level programming language with dynamic semantics. Its high-level built-in data structures, combined with dynamic typing and dynamic binding, make it very attractive for Rapid Application Development, as well as for use as a scripting or glue language to connect existing components together.”

    Python is the most popular programming language now. It appeals to beginning and veteran programmers, as well as non-programmers. Python is the language preferred by many data scientists, web developers, and software programmers, thanks to its easy-to-use syntax and versatility as a general-purpose programming language.

    Why Frameworks Matter

    Inevitably, you will encounter many tedious and repetitive tasks when working on Python projects like building a web application. These tasks include building back-end logic, designing a user interface, and hooking the app up to the internet so it interacts with a browser better. Web frameworks are designed to implement the functionalities commonly found in web applications, such as mapping URLs to Python code pieces.

    But each framework offers different benefits. Let’s explore Flask vs Django.

    Django – the web framework for perfectionists with deadlines

    Django’s general goal is to make it easy for developers to create quality Web apps quickly, using less code. It’s an open-source high-level Python Web framework with built-in dependable security measures, designed to bring quick results and be easily scalable. That means you can get your MVP fast, and add more to your app later with relative ease. The Django approach is to equip the framework with everything a web app developer will need, at the cost of some creative freedom. This usually makes Django better than Flask for businesses with a strong grasp of what the final product should be like.

    Why use Django?

    The framework comes as a bundle of standard functionalities that you can pick and choose from. The developers don’t have to seek the best solution or reinvent the wheel themselves – the proper component may already be there. This means your developers can focus on creating the app as a whole and improving elements unique to your app. Thanks to its modular nature, it’s easier to work on each functionality independently and scale up your project. Django’s all-inclusive approach can also positively impact the security of your app.

    Third-party extensions used in Flask are a potential risk and need regular monitoring and upkeep. 

    Django's long presence comes with excellent documentation and great popularity. You can always count on a huge, passionate community already having a solution to the problem your developers encountered. Django’s official forum hosts thousands of topics, there are 20,000+ questions tagged [django] on Stack Overflow, and the community on Reddit has more than 80,000 members.

    Django cons to consider

    Less flexibility can be a plus in some circumstances, but it’s limiting to developers, especially those more creative ones. Django’s extended nature leads to a bigger codebase (that includes unused features and extra code). The framework is also a little bit more challenging to grasp at the beginning than Flask.

    What apps are built with Django?

    Bitbucket is a powerful Django success story. This Git code management system for professional teams started in May 2008 and launched only one month later. The developers praised Django’s native elements and orderly structure that allowed working quickly and scaling up easily. In 2010, Bitbucket was bought by Atlassian. 

    Other well-known businesses that use Django:

    When to use Django?

    Enjoy Django’s organized system and prepackaged goods to quickly develop an MVP and then add new functionalities. Stop reinventing the wheel and create a complex app in less time using Django’s standard features.

    Flask – web development, one drop at a time

    Flask takes a radically different approach to creating web apps. It’s a microframework, equipped only with the web app development essentials. Its strength lies in its customizability. Flask is flexible, allowing you to experiment and switch directions easily. This usually means Flask is better than Django if you’re going for an open-ended solution or want to use a variety of independent features.

    Why is Flask good?

    Flask is a lightweight web application framework designed to get results fast and leave room to make the app more detailed in the future. With Flask, your project's code always consists only of what developers put in it, with no unnecessary code responsible for features you don’t use.

    Many developers love this framework because of its simplicity, resulting in clean, concise code. Active communities (like those on Facebook and Reddit) and useful documentation make it easy to find relevant information, appropriate extensions, and simple solutions to encountered difficulties. Others choose Flask for the freedom to choose from multiple solutions or even create a new one. Not having to follow a strict convention could accelerate the development process for experienced developers who enjoy the added flexibility. 

    Disadvantages of Flask

    Despite Flask having virtually every Django-like security measure in form of a downloadable extension, the usage of third-party additions comes with more risk than choosing the monolithic Django. In Django, all security features are already there. In Flask every third-party extension is developed by various teams, making updates harder and potentially increasing the upkeep time for the developer.

    What is Flask used for?

    Airbnb’s workflow management platform Airflow uses Flask for its Web application.

    Other popular companies that use Flask include:

    When to use Flask?

    Flask works best when you take advantage of its flexibility and customization capabilities. If you’re delaying some technological decisions for later, it can be beneficial to depend on easily customizable Flask rather than Django. You can also use Flask for simple Web apps that have limited functionalities.

    Flask vs Django- Similarities

    Both Flask and Django are open-source web frameworks used for Python. Both have well-established, mature use communities, are popular and widely supported, and offer developers a way to increase their programming productivity.

    And the only way you can use either of these frameworks is to learn Python, of course.

    Flask vs Django - Differences

    Now we get to the heart of the matter: how do these frameworks differ? Perhaps the best way to compare and illustrate the differences is with a handy chart.

    Flask vs Django

    Flask

    Django

    Python Framework Type

    Simple, lightweight, minimalist Python web framework

    Full-stack Python web framework based on batteries-included approach

    Admin Framework

    No tools to handle administration tasks

    Contains a ready-to-use admin framework — a boot-strapping tool that lets developers build web apps without external input

    Templates

    Relies on Jinja2

    Has a time-saving template engine

    Best Used For

    Simple applications that don’t need much coding and can be built easily

    Larger projects that require more functionality

    Footprint

    Requires fewer lines of code

    Requires more than twice the number lines of code as Flask

    Learning Curve

    Easy to learn

    High learning curve

    Best Practices

    Since it’s more open-ended, developers won’t necessarily follow best practices

    Since everything has a template, Django ensures that developers will follow best practices

    Scalability

    High scalability with simple applications, flexible

    Not suited for dynamic changes and scalability and not as flexible

    Databases

    Doesn’t support ORM frameworks, so developers must type in SQLAlchemy (Protest Social Mapper and SQL toolkit for Python) to perform common database operations

    Supports ORM frameworks so developers work with many databases, like PostgreSQL, SQLite, Prophet, MySQL, etc. Developers don’t need long SQL inquiries to execute everyday database operations.


    Conclusion

    In summary, Flask and Django are both Python-based web and app development frameworks. Flask is a lightweight framework suited for smaller projects and allows for a more “seat of the pants” approach. At the same time, Django is a monolith that gives developers everything they need to tackle the big, high-functionality projects. 

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