If you ask any Back End Web Developer for a list of their favorite frameworks, Django is sure to make the top ten. But what is Django exactly? What are the advantages of using it? In this guide, we’ll answer these vital questions and more.

What Is Django?

Django is a popular Python web framework used primarily in back end web development. As a framework, Django provides a set structure that serves as a foundation for building websites and web applications. Django is a popular tool among Web Developers because it allows them to easily create a complex website or web application from scratch while cutting back on the amount of coding required.

How Does Django Work?

Django offers several different features that allow developers to quickly develop secure websites that are easy to maintain. One of the most vital components is the structure that Django automatically provides to any website or application it’s used to create.

Django’s framework is a variation of the traditional model-view-controller (MVC) structure that separates applications into three interconnected parts. In this type of architecture, the model is used to store and maintain data, the view controls what users see, and the controller provides business logic that manages the flow of data between the model and the view.

The developers of Django used slightly different terminology to describe these three components; instead of using model-view-controller, Django refers to these three elements as model-template-view (MTV). Despite the differences in terminology, the roles these three components play are basically the same as in an MVC pattern. The primary difference is that in Django, the framework itself acts as the controller with the view determining what data will be presented and the template regulating how that data is displayed.

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In addition to providing this set structure for applications to utilize, Django also includes a default object-relational mapping (ORM) layer that allows developers to create, read, update, and delete data using Python instead of SQL. This feature saves developers a considerable amount of time since they can program using a high-level language instead of writing SQL statements or relying on stored procedures.

Another key feature that Django offers is its templates which dictate how data is presented to the user. The Django framework offers a clear separation between application and presentation logic which provides a convenient way to render HTML while improving site performance. Though Django is Python-based, its templates allow web designers to create a complete front end in HTML without the need to learn Python.

Advantages of Using Django

Django is currently among the top 10 frameworks used by web developers, and for good reason; it offers many attractive attributes, including that it’s:

1. Robust

The creators of Django tout it as a “batteries included framework” which means that it automatically comes with a wide range of extra features capable of handling common web development tasks. These additional elements are called “batteries” because they “power” the creation of a website or web application. Some of these features include the MTV structure, ORM, and templates mentioned above in addition to:

  • A built-in administration panel
  • Authentication
  • Session handling
  • AJAX support
  • URL routing
  • Free API
  • RSS and Atom feeds
  • Generation of Google sitemap XML
  • The ability to make database operations on PostgreSQL
  • Management of temporary or session-based messages
  • Multi-site and multi-language support
  • Middleware, a plug-in system that allows global changes to Django’s input or output

Not every developer will need to use all of these features; it’s easy enough to implement those that are necessary for the project at hand while ignoring the ones that aren’t needed. These features may not eliminate the need for coding altogether, but they will greatly reduce the amount of time programmers invest in website development.

2. Fast

The entire purpose of Django is to simplify the creation of web applications from conception to completion to reduce the amount of time and expertise required for development. Django was founded upon the Don’t Repeat Yourself (DRY) philosophy which encourages developers to use the prebuilt code packages that are already available to them instead of wasting unnecessary time writing their own code. This philosophy led to the creation of Django’s many time-saving features that handle common tasks and enable the rapid development of web applications without the need for extensive back end knowledge.

3. Simple

Django benefits from being built on Python, a high-level programming language with a reputation for being relatively simple and accessible. Python also enjoys a fair amount of popularity; in Stack Overflow’s most recent survey of Web Developers, Python was ranked as the third most commonly used programming language in the world with more than 48% of all respondents reporting extensive use in the past year. When you combine the simplicity of Python plus its wide usage, you end up with a framework that’s easy to learn and use.

4. Secure

Django includes many default features that help protect your application and its users, making it one of the most secure frameworks around. It offers strong encryption packages, a substantial user authentication system, and protection against many of the most common attacks including Clickjacking, XSS, CSRF, SQL injection, and cross-site scripting. Features like these cover common security loopholes that were once the responsibility of developers to fill. Django also automatically hides source code and regularly updates the framework with patches that address new security concerns.

5. Scalable

Another big advantage to using Django is its scalability. When creating applications, developers must consider the future of the project in addition to its current needs; a framework that’s scalable will be easy to adapt as the application grows and changes. Django does just that—it comes equipped with various components that can be easily unplugged and replaced for effortless scalability. Django can also handle a huge amount of data and traffic without greatly reducing load time, so it can easily adapt to growing audience volume

6. Versatile

Django is also known for its versatility. Thanks to its many features, Django can be customized to fit applications of virtually any type, size, or scope. Django has been used in the past on a wide range of projects including content management systems, ecommerce sites, social networks, scientific computing, and financial platforms, just to name a few. The framework also works with most major databases and runs on virtually any platform including PC, Mac, and Linux.

7. Well-Supported

One of the biggest advantages that Django has to offer is that it’s well supported, both by the official governing body and the programmers who regularly utilize the framework. The independent foundation that governs Django offers in-depth documentation on its website that’s simple, well-organized, and easy-to-follow with plenty of tutorials to help new learners. There’s also an active community of Django users that can offer assistance whenever developers encounter issues and need answers.

Companies That Use Django

With so many valuable characteristics, it’s no wonder Django is so widely used. You can Django at work behind the scenes in the websites of a variety of companies, including:

  • Instagram
  • National Geographic
  • Mozilla
  • Spotify
  • Pinterest
  • Disqus
  • Bitbucket
  • Eventbrite
  • Prezi
  • Clubhouse
  • Nextdoor

Why Learn Django

With Django, developers can quickly create robust, secure web applications without the need for excessive coding. This makes Django an excellent addition to any Back End or Full Stack Web Developer’s skill set, especially those who are already familiar with Python.

Django is a sought-after skill in the job market; learning it can open up a wide range of job opportunities as either a full-time employee or a freelancer. A few of the opportunities open to those with knowledge of Django include Back End Developer, Full Stack Developer, Python Developer, and Software Engineer.

You’ll need to acquire additional skills to secure one of these positions, but investment in your education will pay off in the long run: salaries for these positions tend to be quite high, typically running between $109,000 and $127,000 per year on average. Keep in mind, however, that salaries will vary based on experience, education, and location.

How to Learn Django

Whether you prefer acquiring new skills in a structured classroom setting or self-learning through online resources, there are various ways to learn Django.

Prerequisites for Learning Django

Before you try to tackle Django, there are a few skills you need to acquire first. The primary prerequisite to learning Django is to have a solid grasp of Python. Without an understanding of Python, it’ll be difficult to learn the ins and outs of Django. Knowledge of database management and SQL queries will help provide a firmer foundation for learning Django, too. It’s also a good idea to have a solid understanding of HTML and CSS since Django offers support for the front end.

Django Educational Resources

There are countless resources available online to help new learners acquire Django skills including videos, blog posts, and tutorials. Many of these resources are free, but it can be hard to know which ones offer the best training and with the most up-to-date information. To ensure accuracy, a good place to start would be the official Django website. They offer thorough documentation that’s easy to navigate plus a variety of tutorials that will walk you step-by-step through the learning process.

Figuring out Django on your own can be challenging without any outside help. There are resources available to you If you ever get stuck, however; you can use the forums on the official website or ask questions on Stack Overflow.

Django Classes

Enrolling in a class is another great way to learn how to use Django. This option works especially well for those who prefer learning in a structured environment with real-time feedback from an expert instructor.

There are several different routes you could take to learn Django. If you’re already familiar with the fundamentals of Python programming, you can dive right into Django classes. If you also need to learn Python, you can learn both the programming language plus the Django framework by taking Python courses. If you’re wanting an even broader education, you might consider enrolling in web development classes or a web development bootcamp.

Web development bootcamps are an excellent choice for those who are wanting to change professions. Bootcamps are intensive, skills-based training programs offered on an abbreviated schedule. Often seen as a viable alternative to university education, bootcamps get students career-ready in a fraction of the time it takes to complete a degree. You can even take web development bootcamps live online from the comfort of your own home, receiving all the benefits of in-person learning without the hassle of a lengthy commute.

The options for learning Django are practically endless. Deciding which to use is simply a personal choice; find the method that best matches your goals, learning style, and individual preferences.