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Django and Flask


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Flask vs Django: Which Python Web Framework to Use in 2023?

Posted in Django, Flask
Flask vs Django

When it comes to the Python programming language, most think about data tasks, whether that’s analytics, data science, Machine Learning, or AI. But there’s more than meets the eye with Python, as it’s also used with two popular web application frameworks, Flask and Django.

Want the TL-DR? Sure. While they’re both open-source web frameworks that use Python, Django is a full-stack framework with batteries included, and Flask is a lightweight but extensible micro-framework.

Sound intriguing? Great! Not sure what a web application framework is? No problem! These are a collection of libraries and modules to help you programmatically create and manage web applications, web services, and websites. 

Now we’ve got that out of the way, let’s dive into a head-to-head comparison of Flask vs Django. This will help you understand the difference between Flask and Django as you try to choose the best Python web framework in 2023.

Django vs Flask: Head-to-Head 

There’s no doubt that Django and Flask are incredibly popular web frameworks, as shown by their top 15 positions in the latest Stack Overflow developer survey. You can even see that Django beats out Express, and Flask is ahead of Angular.js.

Django vs Flask Trends

Django & Flask are Top 15 Frameworks: Stack Overflow Developer Survey

Now we know that these two Python frameworks are popular among web developers, let’s figure out the difference between Django and Flask in our Flask Django comparison table.

 

Django

Flask

Launch Year

2005

2010

Architecture

Model View Template (MVT)

Wrapper for WSGI

Framework Type

Full-stack

Micro-framework

Working Style

Monolithic

Diversified

Flexibility

Low

High

Companies Using It

Spotify, Instagram, Dropbox, Pinterest, Mozilla, YouTube, NASA, National Geographic

Netflix, Reddit, Uber, Lyft, Zillow, Patreon, Airbnb, MIT

GitHub Stars

68.4k

61.7k

Open-Source

Yes

Yes

API Support

No

Yes

Database Support

Built-in ORM & support for SQLite, PostgreSQL, MySQL, MariaDB, and Oracle

Relies on SQLAlchemy or other extensions for ORM

Bootstrapping Tool

Yes (Django-admin)

No

Template Engine

Django Template Language (DTL)

Jinja2

Authorization

Account management & sessions

Cookies

Multi-Page Apps

Yes

No (Single-Page Only)

Dynamic HTML

Yes

No

Third-Party App Support

Yes

No

Virtual Debugger

No

Yes

Testing Support

Yes (unittest)

Yes (unittest)

Forms

Built-in

Requires Flask-WTF extension

URL Dispatcher

Controller RegEx

RESTful

What Is Django?

Named after jazz guitarist Django Reinhardt (and not the Quentin Tarantino movie!), the Django framework is a full-stack Python-based web application framework released in 2005 to help developers easily create complex database-backed websites and applications.

Sometimes referred to as the framework for ‘fussbudgets with deadlines’, Django is favored for super-fast development. As a full-stack web application framework, it takes a ‘batteries included’ approach to let you, the developer, focus on building your web app.

With an agile dev process, the Django framework handles organizing content, site maps, client info, and other ‘basic’ functions to let you focus on building your app fast. Django development is also very DRY (Don’t Repeat Yourself), so expect to reuse components and take advantage of built-in features like logins, database connectivity, database CRUD operations, and more.

Django Key Features

  • Versatile: You can use Django to build various applications like content management systems (CMS), social networking sites, and even scientific computing platforms
  • Batteries Included: Bundles many useful features outs of the box, including a caching framework with Memcached, content admin, site maps, RSS, authentication, and more
  • Portable: Django is written in Python, providing portability to run on any platform
  • Secure: Django bundles robust user authentication systems and it helps avoid common security issues, such as SQL injection, clickjacking, cross-site scripting, and more
  • Scalable: With a combination of independent layers and DRY principles, code reuse & maintenance enable scalability without issue
  • Adaptability: Support for a variety of formats, including JSON, HTML, XML, and more
  • Popular: Huge companies like Spotify, Instagram, Dropbox, Pinterest, Mozilla, YouTube, NASA, and National Geographic use Django in their tech stack

What Is Flask?

Arriving in 2010 and developed by Armin Ronacher, the Flask framework is a Python-based micro-framework with minimal dependency on external libraries, allowing developers the flexibility to choose their preferred design pattern, database, plugins, and more.

Initially, Flask was developed to experiment with the integration of the Werkzeug WSGI (Web Server Gateway Interface) toolkit and the Jinja2 template library. Now a fully-fledged framework that is lightweight and extensible, Flask doesn’t take a ‘batteries included’ approach. This means that developers can search for the extensions or plugins they need without extra weight.

Some would say that Flask is very Pythonic, which is reflected in an easy learning curve. This is particularly clear when you build the time-honored Hello World web app, which only needs a few lines of code.

Flask Key Features

  • Lightweight & Extensible: Developers have independence and control over application architecture, libraries, and extensions, along with a neat API
  • Adaptable: Easy to use with any working style, which suits experienced developers
  • Request Handling: Supports HTTP and RESTful requests
  • Testing & Debugging:  Integrated unit testing & debugger allow for quick debugging and development
  • Secure Cookies: HTTP request attributes provide security and prevent unauthorized access
  • Flexible & Scalable: Support for WSGI templates allows for flexibility and scalability
  • Popular: Used by large companies like Netflix, Reddit, Uber, Lyft, Zillow, Patreon, Airbnb, and MIT

Looking for ways to learn Flask? Check out

The Best Flask Tutorials

Django vs Flask: Pros & Cons

 

Django Pros & Advantages

Django Cons & Disadvantages

  • Easy & quick to get up and running
  • Monolithic style can be complicated
  • Comprehensive & easy-to-use admin UI
  • Steep learning curve
  • Highly secure
  • Large codebase
  • Highly scalable
  • Too many functions for simple projects 
  • Integrated unit testing
  • Dependent on Django ORM
  • Internationalization system for global apps 
  • RegEx-based URL dispatching is complicated
  • Supports dynamic HTML pages 
 
  • Easy-to-follow documentation
 
  • Rate-limiting for API requests
 
  • URL model definition assistance
 
  • Excellent in-built template design 
 

Flask Pros & Advantages

Flask Cons & Disadvantages

  • Adaptable to new tech
  • Maintenance can be difficult
  • Extensible
  • Minimum Viable Product (MVP) can be slow
  • Flexible with full control access
  • No built-in admin site
  • Scalable
  • Lack of security & authorization features
  • Allows architecture & library experimentation
  • No support for multi-page apps
  • Great for smaller projects
  • Lacks Object-Relational-Mapping (ORM)
  • Small codebase with simple functions
 
  • Fast & easy to build prototypes
 
  • Easy URL routing via Werkzeug 
 
  • Easy to integrate databases
 
  • NoSQL Support
 

When to Use Flask vs Django?

Are you still wondering: Django or Flask, which is better? There’s no clear answer here, as you’re free to use Flask or Django to build your next web app, but it can help to know the best types of projects and scenarios suited to these two Python frameworks.

You should use Django when you need to:

  • Work on large projects (multi-page) with strict deadlines
  • Use built-in features and gain access support to speed up development
  • Build secure projects that require authorization
  • Have the option to scale up or make projects more complex in the future
  • Create web applications with native ORM support or API backends

You should use Flask when you need to:

  • Work on smaller projects (single-page)
  • Have varied database support, including NoSQL
  • Have flexibility and freedom to choose libraries and extensions
  • Have API support or want to add new extensions in the future
  • Create static websites, rapid prototypes, and RESTful web services

When thinking about Django versus Flask, it helps to consider whether you’re brand new to Python or web frameworks. In either case, you may find it easier to start with Flask than Django, which has a steeper learning curve and a more rigid approach to creating web applications. 

If you plan to build complex apps in the future, it’s well worth learning Django with the wide range of online resources available to you. And if you opt for Django, you can rely on an active community of Django developers who are ready to help if you find yourself in a jam.

This is particularly obvious when you consider that Django is tagged in more than 300k questions on StackOverflow, compared to approximately 50k for Flask.

Despite this differential, both frameworks have trended upwards in StackOverflow questions over the last 10 years, demonstrating growing popularity among web developers.

Django And Flask Trends

Django & Flask Have Trended Upwards In Mentions: Stack Overflow

Conclusion

In 2023, Python developers can take advantage of their Python coding skills for so much more than data science, Machine Learning, or AI. So if you’re interested in web development, you should check out the popular Python web application frameworks, Flask and Django.

These collections of libraries and modules are a fantastic way to create websites, web applications, and web services programmatically. To help you determine which framework to choose, this article has looked at Flask vs Django with a head-to-head comparison of the key features, pros and cons, and best use cases.

With Django, you get a full-stack web framework with a ‘batteries included’ approach that’s excellent for large projects that require security and scalability. Suppose you’re after a little more flexibility. In that case, Flask is a perfect choice as it’s a lightweight and extensible micro-framework that’s great for smaller projects that need the flexibility to add specific libraries both now and in the future.

Want to learn more about Django? Check out

The Best Django Books

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Is Flask Easier Than Django?

Most people find Flask easier to learn than Django as it offers greater flexibility and a less rigid working style. But while Django has a steeper learning curve, it can pay off if you build secure and scalable web apps that will grow in complexity.

2. Should I Learn Django or Flask First?

There’s no correct answer here. If you’re new to Python, you may find it easier to learn Flask before Django. Once you have the fundamentals, you’ll find it easier to transition to Django later. On the other hand, if you’re more experienced in Python or web development, you might prefer to dive right into Django.

3. Django vs Flask, Which Is Better?

Neither is better or worse than the other, but they may be better suited to specific use cases. For example, Flask is suitable for smaller projects that need the flexibility to add particular libraries both now and in the future. Django is great for large projects that require security, scalability, and built-in features. 

4. Which Is Better? Flask or Django For Beginners?

If you’re a beginner in Python or web development, you’ll likely find that Flask is a more accessible place to start, as it’s much quicker to get your project off the ground due to a smaller codebase and a less steep learning curve.

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Vijay Singh Khatri

Vijay Singh Khatri

With 5+ years of experience across various tech stacks such as C, C++, PHP, Python, SQL, Angular, and AWS, Vijay has a bachelor's degree in computer science and a specialty in technical writing. Also, he persists in gaining knowledge of content marketing and SEO tools. He has worked with various analytics tools for over eight years. He is working with Hackr.io as an SEO manager. View all posts by the Author

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JS
JS

"It is written in Python, currently, the most popular programming language that can run anywhere. "
- this statement killed the articles credibility for me. ;(

Gabriel
Gabriel

Does Django support sql server?

Kathryn Woods
Kathryn Woods

Is Django obsolete?

Candace Ramos
Candace Ramos

No, with time its usage has been increasing. Even big organizations like Instagram are using it and taking advantage of its features. It has all the required features for web application development. Developers and contributors are regularly working to keep the Django up to date.

Rolando Harmon
Rolando Harmon

Which database is best for flask?

Lorraine Mccoy
Lorraine Mccoy

Flask does not support databases particularly which is great, as you have many database options to choose from. With the help of flask extensions, the database will integrate with applications. As flask is an open source python platform, people generally prefer open source database options like SQLite, MongoDB or PostgreSQL.

Rudolph Nguyen
Rudolph Nguyen

Is flask good for web development?

Bonnie Wagner
Bonnie Wagner

Flask is lightweight python framework that is used to create sites with great ease and in faster way. It makes development faster by offering codes for even small activities. It depends on middleware to add functionality as per requirement. Flask’s core is simple with number of extensions which blends with it.

Miguel Lawson
Miguel Lawson

Is flask a frontend or backend?

Jodi Graves
Jodi Graves

Flask is a complete back-end framework. It is a small framework that works without any form validation or database abstraction layer.

Lena Shelton
Lena Shelton

Do I need to know HTML for Django?

Elmer Sandoval
Elmer Sandoval

Yes, it is important that you have a sound knowledge of HTML and CSS. It will help you while creating web page templates. If you are not going too deep into coding still the basic concepts should be clear for understanding any project.

Bryan Ortega
Bryan Ortega

Is flask easier than Django?

Enrique Pierce
Enrique Pierce

Flask is a micro-framework for python while Django is a high-level python web framework. Thus, flask is much easier to understand and to learn. Both are open source platforms, flask is used for small applications as compared to Django. Both have different usage and are used in different applications.