StarNavi Blog - What is Django? Exploring This Game-Changing Framework

By starnavi | Development | February 2020 | 1090 views


Whether you are a new web developer or an experienced programmer who is trying to learn new web frameworks, one of the most exciting frameworks to study is Django - the most popular Python framework. Django offers the dual benefits of being easy to learn and extremely powerful. In fact, you can build a whole host of websites with the Django framework. But let’s take one step back. Especially if you are a new programmer, you may be asking that one important question:

What is Django?

We are here to help. In this guide, we are going to take a deep dive into the Django framework. Specifically, we are going to look at some interesting facts and the history of the Django framework, what Django actually is, the advantage of using the Django framework, and the usage of the Django web framework by several famous companies. Ultimately, at the end of this guide, you are going to have a much better understanding of the Django framework—including whether you should use it for your next side project or startup.

The Django Web Framework: Some History and Fun Facts

The Django web framework is relatively young, yet it has taken on a massive role in web development today. We can trace its genesis back to fall 2003 at the Lawrence-Journal World newspaper. During that time, two web programmers at the newspaper began using Python to build some of the applications that they needed. Out of that work came the Django framework. Just two years later, the Django framework was publicly released under a BSD License, which is a permissive free software license that imposes minimal restrictions on the use of that software.

the rocket is starting up from the year 2003 making yellow smog with the skyscrapers on the background

And, yes. To answer your question, “is Django open source,” we are happy to answer in the affirmative. Django has been free since its inception and, in all likelihood, will remain that way into the future. From here, you may be wondering how the Django framework actually found its name. It’s pretty simple actually. Django (pronounced “jang-oh”) is named after Django Reinhardt. Reinhardt was a well-known jazz guitarist and composer. Several years after its creation, the newly-formed Django Software Foundation was founded to promote, support, and advance the Django web framework. To do this, the Django Software Foundation provides support through sponsoring sprints, meetups, and gatherings, promoting the Django web framework throughout the web development community, protect the Django web framework’s intellectual property and long-term viability, and generally advance the progress and innovation in web development.

While the Django web framework’s history is fascinating in and of itself, several fun facts bring the framework to life. For instance, the approximate cost of the initial Django project was around $7 million. It is safe to say that the Django web framework has created substantially more value than that initial investment. The Django framework community exceeds 1200 developers and thousands of developers are using this framework to create websites for their personal or professional needs.

The Ultimate Question: What is Django?

This background is helpful as we explore the quintessential question: what is Django? In sum, Django is a high-level Python web framework that can be used to create quick and clean web applications. Django is Python-based, meaning that new and experienced Python programmers can quickly pick up the Django web framework. With over 8.2 million Python developers throughout the world today, the combination of Python and Django is an extremely compelling option. The Django framework is perfect for everyone from solo developers to young, scrappy startups that are looking for an easy way to create a web application.

team of developers sitting in front of computers and examining a chart with a python logo

At this point in the discussion, you may also be asking yourself: what is Django used for? In short: so many things. Django is the icon of expert python programming. As a starting point, a Django project powered the Lawrence-Journal World’s web application. Because of this, Django code can be a great choice if you are looking to create a text and image-heavy blog or website that essentially acts as a digital magazine or newspaper. It's also perfect for the mvp development.

Beyond this initial application, however, one of the cool things about Django is that it has countless applications. For example, you can use both Python and Django to create a booking engine or shopping platform that can withstand heavy track. Python and Django can be used to create document management systems or custom customer relationship management (“CRM”) systems for internal data. The Django web framework can even be used to create financial platforms that can analyze lease statuses or verifying mortgage conditions. Even if you aren’t looking to build out substantial web applications, you can also use Django to create discrete features. For instance, you and your team can write some Django code to create a photo-based verification system, an email system that can automatically notify users based on certain actions, or data analysis tools. This is just a preview, however. As we will discuss below, the Django web framework has an intimate community that is more than happy to share tips and tricks on how you can get the most out of your Django project.

The Advantages of the Django Framework

circles picturing the advantages of django framework

Now, let’s get into the heart of the Django framework. Whether you are a new or experienced web developer, you know that there are many web frameworks that you can use. But having said this, creating a new web application in Python and Django unlocks many key advantages for you and your team. To start this discussion of the advantages of the Django framework, it is helpful to return to why the framework was created in the first place. As a reminder, the Django web framework was created to fulfill the needs of the busy Lawrence-Journal World newsroom. Reporters, editors, and web developers at the Lawrence-Journal World were looking for a web application that was quick and could cater to a fast-paced newsroom.

Therefore, when answering the question “what is Django,” you can sum it up in one word: speed. Speed is even a priority at the beginning, as you can get started with Django in just a few minutes. From there, the Django framework is designed so that you can get from concept to completion as quickly as possible. And even when your Django project is deployed, you can leverage a range of tactics and strategies to have your code run even faster. From speed, another one of the advantages of the Django framework centers on familiarity. As referenced above, the Django framework is written in Python. You or another colleague likely have some familiarity with Python, as it is one of the most widely used programming languages today. But beyond this combination of Python and Django, the Django framework is familiar because it uses a model view template (“MVT”) web framework. While this is a slight variation of the model view controller (“MVC”) structure, it is close enough that you will have no problem adjusting.

Django also has some advantages over other web frameworks because it is fully loaded. Instead of needing to reinvent the wheel and create tools to handle common web development tasks, Django offers them to you for free. For instance, the Django web framework contains an object-relational mapper, a free Python API to access your data, a production-ready administrative interface, a clear and elegant URL scheme, and more. All of these features add up and make it much easier (and faster) to move from concept to fully-developed web application. Finally, an advantage of the Django framework centers on the community. Countless Django developers around the world are happy to answer any questions that you may have about the Django code. And if a community member can’t answer your question? There is robust documentation, allowing you to quickly discover a piece of Django code that can help you navigate any development issues that you are encountering.

Successful Companies that have Leveraged the Django Web Framework

instagram and eventbrite logos making a triangle with the logo of django framework

Don’t just take it from us: the Django framework has been used by many prominent companies and startups to build web applications. While the decision to use Django may have slightly varied among these companies, all of them were happy to leverage the features and advantages described above. For example, one of the most famous companies that leveraged Python and Django is Instagram. Instagram creators Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger found the Django framework to be perfect for their specific needs. In the case of Instagram, Systrom and Krieger needed a framework that could handle a significant amount of user data. Along with this, Instagram users would be liking, commenting on, and sharing each other’s posts, so Systrom and Krieger had to ensure that their framework could take on these tasks. Ultimately, this combination of Python and Django fits the bill. It was powerful enough to handle this early influx of traffic, yet quick enough so that Systrom and Krieger could quickly create new features and fix bugs based on user feedback. While we cannot promise that Django will help you create the massive success of a company like Instagram, it is a terrific web framework for handling user data and delivering it at scale.

Instagram is the most prominent company that successfully used the Django web framework. Beyond this stellar success, however, Eventbrite is another terrific company that has found success with Django. As you likely know, Eventbrite is a popular event management and ticketing website. The company was founded in 2006 and was originally built through a combination of Python and in-house frameworks. This worked for some time, but Eventbrite developers recognized that they needed something more to provide a better experience for its rapidly-growing audience. After some internal deliberation, the team decided to move to the Django web framework. Eventbrite was extremely satisfied with Django, as it let the company easily address higher interaction volumes and an increased audience count. Like Instagram, Eventbrite also takes advantage of Django’s speed to constantly improve the user experience. Considering Eventbrite’s terrific growth, it is safe to say that the Django framework has created massive value for the company. These are just two notable companies that have used Django. The bottom line? The Django framework can make life easier for your developers and lead to better user experience. It truly offers a win-win for everyone involved.

Wrapping Up the Django Framework

Starting with the question “what is Django,” we explored a significant amount of ground in this post. While the Django web framework is almost two decades old, it continues to be a vital tool to create countless numbers of web applications. Whether you are a first-time developer or are looking for a way to create faster, more scalable web applications, it is certainly worth your time to check out the Django framework. If you would like to learn more about the Django web framework, check out related courses and books online. We wish you the best of luck!