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Django and Python


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What is Django: Everything You Need to Know About Django

Posted in Django, Python
What is Django

What is Django? Django's official website says, “Django makes it easier to build better web apps more quickly and with less code.” 

Django is an open-source web application framework drafted in Python. This framework further helps to rapidly develop pragmatic designs for organizations. Best of all, Django is completely free of cost. 

There are abundant modules that Django offers to implement in your respective projects. It assists in making the lives of developers much easier. It is ideal for both large as well as small-scale projects.

By the end of this article, you will have an in-depth understanding of Django.

Let’s begin!

What is Django?

Django is a high-level, open-source Python framework. 

Django is one of the most popular choices for supporting backend web application development. It is an open-source framework mostly for backend web applications, though it has applications in the frontend as well. With Django, you can quickly build a backend web application and frontend interface without having to create a backend, APIs and sitemaps from scratch.

Django was first released in 2005 by Adrian Holovaty, Simon Willison and Jacob Kaplan-Moss. The framework was named after legendary Romani jazz guitarist Django Reinhardt, whom Holovaty was a fan of. It is now maintained by the Django Software Foundation. 

How does Django work? Django makes the creation and handling of large, complex, database-driven websites easier by focusing on reusability and the “pluggability” of individual components. It removes much of the tedium in web development, letting users concentrate on developing the app, as opposed to having to write every line of code for deploying the application from scratch.

The framework uses Python for everything from settings, files and data models. It also offers an optional administrative CRUD (Create, Read, Update and Delete) interface that is generated dynamically through introspection and is configured via admin models.

It also has an active and vast community that offers both free and paid support at any time that you need. On top of all this, Django is free to use!

Django Framework 

There are a few steps to follow in order to set up the Django framework on your respective system. We are presenting a step-by-step guide for you to accomplish this task. 

How to Install Django

Django requires Python. Hence, the initial step is to install the latest version of Python. To download the latest version, click here

After installing Python, type ‘Python’ in your shell and verify the installation.The screen shows the below-mentioned data:

Python 3.x.y

[GCC 4.x] on linux

Type "help", "copyright", "credits" or "license" for more information.

>>>

Moving ahead, it's time to set up Django. Here are three ways that you can follow to implement Django on your respective systems:

  • Install the latest version of Django 
  • Install Django beta 4.01b 
  • Install the latest available development version of Django

Install the latest version of Django 

The latest version of Django is version 3.2.9. After reviewing the 3.2.9 release notes, you can perform the installation with pip. Take a look:

pip install Django==3.2.9

Install Django beta 4.01b 

This release is recommended for users who wish to give a try to the latest version and identify bugs before the 4.0 release. Before using this package, you are advised to read the 4.0 release notes. Now, you can install the beta with pip using the following command:

pip install --pre django

Install the latest available development version of Django

If you are a professional coder, then this version is a perfect choice for you. It is loaded with ample impressive features and allows you to work with brand new code during the development phase. You may encounter several bugs during this phase, but there is an option to report them and proceed with the development of Django. You can use the shell command to implement this version. Use the below-stated command:

git clone https://github.com/django/django.git

After installing Django successfully on the system, you can verify it by typing ‘Python’ from your shell. Go to the Python prompt, and type in the following:

>>> import django

>>> print(django.get_version())

3.2

Congratulations! The installation of Django is now successful. 

In addition, you can also sign up for the Django users mailing list. It is a community where all Django users have the opportunity to interact and help each other.

Moreover, if you are curious regarding the latest updates and related information, here is an insight for you:

Latest Updates

Feature releases 

A.B, A.B+1, etc., take place approximately every eight months. These releases will be loaded with stunning new features and improvements to the existing ones. 

Patch releases 

A.B.C, etc., releases are issued as required for the purpose of fixing bugs or security issues. These releases have 100% compatibility with the feature release.

Moreover, some feature releases are termed long-term support (LTS) releases. These releases aim to resolve the data loss and security-related problems for a designated guaranteed time period, which is approximately three years.

Django Community

Django has a thriving community with the Django Forum being around 17 years old. It is a place frequented by thousands of users and developers who discuss Django. You’ll see professionals, as well as beginners, talk about installing, using, or working with Django. 

Screenshot of the Django Forum

The Django community also hosts DjangoCon, a five-day international conference, annually in Europe. Having started in 2008, the conference is very popular and attracts developers from all over the world. Lately, due to the pandemic, the conference has been held virtually.

Like many other frameworks and fields, Django has also birthed meetups and groups in individual countries, and even those related to specific communities. One of the most recognizable of these is Django Girls, an international non-profit organization. Started by two Polish women, Django Girls aims to inspire women from all sorts of backgrounds to learn programming and develop existing skills in a safe and encouraging environment. Since its founding in 2014, it has expanded to 91 countries. 

Django Advantages

The Django language embodies abundant features that make it a perfect choice for both users and developers. Take a look at some of Django’s advantages:

What is Django advantages diagram

Extremely Fast

The ultimate objective of Django is to make the lives of users hassle-free. It follows some steps to achieve this goal, as stated below:

  • There is no need to restart the schedule from scratch as the developers can perform multiple iterations at a time
  • Django follows the DRY or Don’t Repeat Yourself Philosophy. It implies that the developers can use the written code again

Therefore, it saves a lot of time to complete a project.

Highly Secure

Django prioritizes security. It is loaded with some spectacular security systems that help developers overcome some frequent hurdles such as SQL Injection, clickjacking, cross-site scripting, and much more. Django is swift in facing and resolving vulnerabilities. 

Highly Scalable

Django is extremely popular due to its scalability qualities. Some of the major tech giants rely on it. 

Well-Established

Django has a huge community base all across the globe. There are plenty of dedicated channels, forums, and websites. Hence, whenever you are stuck with some obstacle, you can get help almost instantly. The software updates take place regularly. 

Django Disadvantages

Django Disadvantages

Django is not perfect and does come with some disadvantages that will have to be endured. Here are some of Django’s most prominent disadvantages:

Monolithic Framework

Django is what developers call “monolithic”, which essentially refers to an application that has a single-tier in which individual components are combined to form a single program. 

Some developers would say that Django is too monolithic, with a low count of dependencies. This results in a fair bit of extra coding, and can make it difficult to use generally.

Steep Learning Curve

Django has quite a steep learning curve. This may not seem apparent initially, but there are a lot of features and configurations that take time to understand. This will be especially difficult for those who haven’t worked with Python before. Django is easy to learn, but difficult to master.

Doesn’t Suit Smaller Projects

Django is best suited for projects that intend to scale greatly, and its hefty code takes a lot of server processing time and bandwidth. It’s also possible that small-scale developers may get confused with the unique functionalities of Django. There are better options for the latter kind of developers, like Ruby on Rails, which is a much easier framework to build smaller applications.

Django Use Cases

What is Django Used For?

Initially, Django was established for a web application of ‘Lawrence Journal’, a newspaper publisher. But, gradually, it was used to develop eCommerce websites, financial applications for several areas such as transportation, social media, health care, and much more. 

We have curated a list of the areas where you can use the Django framework and reap its benefits:

  • CRM systems and B2B CRM systems to handle communication in the businesses
  • iOS and Android mobile applications
  • Document management systems
  • Property evaluation system for real estate
  • Financial platforms with capabilities to calculate risk factors, or goal-achieving probability 
  • Platforms to handle legal issues including lease-related updates, mortgage conditions, and much more
  • A medium to build a communication channel between two parties like user and client

Additionally, Django also provides methods to develop separate features as some companies like to build their projects based on multiple frameworks, such as:

  • Data-analysis tools or Algorithm-based generators
  • Verification mechanisms (Photo-based)
  • Emailing system to send notifications to multiple users at once
  • Filtering systems with dynamically advanced logics
  • Platform to manage investment funds
  • Development of advanced booking systems, CRMs, etc.

Notable Companies That Use Django

A lot of reputed tech giants utilize Django. Here is a list of some of the most popular companies using Django:

  • Instagram: As you know, Instagram handles excessive data and media along with user interactions. By using Django, the app stands to be seamless, able to handle bugs in no time, and loaded with new features regularly.
  • Reddit: Most people prefer accessing Reddit to discuss social news or day-to-day debates. The platform is filled with plenty of conversations, posts, and media. Django helps Reddit to service the heavy user traffic and makes it easy for the users as well as the developers.
  • Mozilla: Mozilla previously used PHP and then transitioned to Python. At present, this web browser relies on Django. Thereby, it has become easier to handle traffic and API hits.
  • Spotify: Spotify uses Machine Learning (ML). Python is considered to be a top-notch choice to deal with ML. The developers are working with Python as well as the Django framework to bring the best output.
  • NASA: NASA uses Django in several elements to bring reliability. Although the average number of views is approximately 2 million per month, and their site must handle extremely high-resolution images and data. For that, Django is a great pick.
  • Pinterest: Every month, more than 250 million users visit the platform. Pinterest handles huge sets of data. With Django, the creators can further manage the platform with great ease and provide a seamless experience to its users.

As evident, Django is widely escalating its user base and helping numerous organizations progress in the right direction with its impressive capabilities. 

How to Create a Django App

This segment will introduce you to the steps to develop a Django app step by step. 

  • How to create a project
  • About the development server
  • How to create the polls app
  • Steps to writing ‘view’

How to Create a Project

The very initial and vital step is to create a directory. Go to your command line, cd into a directory for storing the code. Type in the following command:

$ django-admin startproject myproject1

This command creates a directory named ‘myproject1’ into your existing directory. Now, the ‘startproject’ consists of the following files:

mysite/

    manage.py

    mysite/

        __init__.py

        settings.py

        urls.py

        asgi.py

        wsgi.py

Here is a brief description of each of the following files:

  1. The ‘mysite’ file acts as a container for your project. You can rename it whatever you want.
  2. ‘Manage.py’ is a command-line utility that helps to interact with your Django project in multiple ways. 
  3. ‘mysite’ is the Python package for your Django project.
  4. ‘mysite/__init__.py’ is an empty file that directs Python about this directory to be seen as a Python package.
  5. ‘mysite/ __init__.py’ consists of the configuration or settings for your Django project. 
  6. ‘mysite/urls.py’ has the URL declarations for the project.
  7. ‘mysite/asgi.py’ is the green flag for ASGI-compatible web servers for your Django project.
  8. ‘mysite/wsgi.py’ is the green flag for WSGI-compatible web servers for your Django project.

After you have created the project, it’s time to move forward with the verification. 

About the Development Server

For verification purposes, change to your outer ‘mysite’ directory, and execute the below-mentioned commands:

$ python manage.py runserver

Here is the output:

Performing system checks...

System check identified no issues (0 silenced).

You have unapplied migrations; your app may not work properly until they are applied.

Run 'python manage.py migrate' to apply them.

November 04, 2021 - 15:50:53

Django version 3.2, using settings 'mysite.settings'

Starting development server at http://127.0.0.1:8000/

Quit the server with CONTROL-C.

With this, the Django development server initiates. To see your server running, visit this URL: https://12.0.0.1:8000/

You will see ‘Congratulations’ on the screen. 

How to Create the Polls App

The polls app in Django is a full featured app that is exactly as it sounds — a polling app. You can create options in the poll and a submit feature to take in votes. The owner of the app can update, delete, and modify the poll, and voters can only vote once. 

The poll app consists of two parts: a public site where voters can submit their choices, and the admin site where the owner can make changes to the poll.

Now knowing what the polls app is and with the project ready, we can start building the app. 

Every application written in Django comprises a Python package. Django generates the directory structure of an app, so the user does not worry about creating directories, and instead can focus on writing the code. 

Type in the below-given command to develop the app:

$ python manage.py startapp polls

This creates a poll directory and consists of the following files:

polls/

    __init__.py

    admin.py

    apps.py

    migrations/

        __init__.py

    models.py

    tests.py

    views.py

Let’s move forward to understand the steps of writing a ‘view’. 

How to Write the View

To write your first ‘view’, go to the polls/views.py. Insert the following piece of code and execute:

from django.http import HttpResponse

def index(request):

    return HttpResponse("Hello, world. You're at the polls index.")

In Django, this is the easiest view that you can create. 

Conclusion

In a nutshell, Django is an open-source framework suited to build web applications. 

Django has the potential to handle huge volumes of data, content, user interactions, and much more, making it ideal for both large-scale and small-scale projects. So, if you're looking to improve your project with more features like flexibility, scalability, and advanced technology, then Django is a win-win option for you.

This article gives you in-depth knowledge about this budding technology from scratch. We hope that the information provided in this article helped answer the question “What is Django?” and much more. Ready to apply your knowledge? Try out a Django tutorial!

Try Django Tutorials Today!

Youssef Nader

Youssef Nader

Youssef Nader, Computer Engineering Student at Cairo University. Technology technical writer and blogger, full-stack Web developer, specializes in rails and node. Founder of Yadawy, an E-commerce platform under construction. AI enthusiast, loves reading, traveling and martial arts. View all posts by the Author

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