Django is a full-stack web framework, whereas Flask is a micro web framework. Django has a data abstraction layer and supports multiple databases. Flask lacks a data abstraction layer and does not support databases natively. Clearly there are differences between the two frameworks but either one of them will accelerate development and create robust database driven web applications.
Django and Flask are widely supported and popular. Both have mature communities and both offer rich application development environments, letting you focus your time and energy towards solving problems rather than dealing with the intricacies of Python programming. The key difference is the approach in achieving the goal.
Let us look at some of the peripheral differences of Flask and Django:
- Learning Curve
Flask vs Django + “ORM”
Out of the box, Django includes a simple yet powerful ORM (Object Relational Mapping) that supports a number of relational databases such as SQLite, PostgreSQL, Oracle and MySQL. The ORM acts as a data abstraction layer and provides support for database access and migrations. With a built-in ORM, it lends itself nicely to creating forms, views and templates based on the data models which most web applications uses.
Flask on the other hand, does not include support to any database natively. This may sound like a hinderance but if you want to use a non-relational database, Django would fight you all the way. With Flask, you simply choose a library and access your data store the way you prefer it.
Flask vs Django – Authentication
Most web applications require authentication and authorization. Django provides account management and sessions out-of-the-box whereas Flask provides only cookie-based sessions. There are at least three libraries you can use to extend Flask.
Flask vs Django – Admin
Django comes with a functional admin panel that allows you to manage data in your data models. This is a big code saver because you don’t need to write extra code to manage the data in your applications. Flask does not provide anything like what Django provides but you can extend Flask by using Flask-Admin that closely resembles the Django admin panel.
Flask vs Django – Architecture
Django’s architecture is based on the MVC (Model-View-Controller) pattern whereas Flask takes a minimalist approach to development. Django’s implementation of the MVC pattern is actually MTV (Model-Template-View) because the framework takes care of the controller part itself. The controller is the software code that handles the interactions between the model and the view. That model in Django helps handle the database. It is the data layer which handles the data. The template is the presentation layer which handles the user interface part completely.
Without MVC, Flask can be structured with flexibility in mind. Instead of grouping all models, views, etc., you can group all components by similarity.
Flask vs Django – Forms
Forms packaged with Django serve as an essential part of most web applications. This includes input handling, client and server-side validation along with the support and handling of security considerations such as cross-site request forgery (CSRF), cross-site scripting (XSS) and SQL injection. Using the admin panel, forms can be created from the data models.
Flask doesn’t come packaged with default forms. Instead, it require an extension such as the Flask-WTF to create powerful forms based on SQLAlchemy models.
Flask vs Django – Flexibility
By now, it is evident that Django seems to have a lot of built-ins such as its own ORM or Admin Panel and Flask needs to be extended making it more flexible. This seems like a developer paradise but it can prove challenging for most development projects because it allows every developer to do their own thing. This may lead to different coding styles and non-standard approaches.
Flask in general, takes longer to setup since it needs the appropriate extensions based on business needs (eg. ORM, security, authentication). Flask maximizes flexibility but can slow down development since a lot more analysis and decisions have to be made.
Flask vs Django – Learning Curve
Flask is a lot easier to grasp and easier to understand than Django. The reason is because Django has more overhead and it takes more time to setup. From project structure to environment settings, Django requires a lot of variables that you know nothing about to set up before you can start development.
With a strong dependable community to rely on, Django provides a lot of help to beginner coders. This helps lessen the learning time required to pick up Django and be productive.
Flask vs Django – Performance
Because of its smaller footprint and less abstraction layers, Flask is faster. But there is a caching framework for Django that offers significant performance gains, by saving dynamic content so that it doesn’t have to be calculated for every request. The framework provides cache granularity so that you can tweak each part of your web application.
Django employs laziness throughout the framework. A good example is the use of QuerySets. It can be created, passed around and combined with other querysets without actually incurring any trips to the database to retrieve items. The QuerySet object is passed around and not the actual collection of items that is contained in the queryset.
Because Django has a data layer, it provides a flag to enable persistent connections. This allows a connection to be saved in a pool rather than disconnect and reconnect which is a performance drain.
Flask vs Django Summary
It is clear from this comparative study that Flask differs from that of Django. One is a minimalistic framework while the other is a full-fledged comprehensive framework. Depending on the project and the expertise, either frameworks will help accelerate development and produce a highly scalable and robust web application but Flask may be easier to grasp than Django. With a more experienced team, Django may be the better choice because of its built-in MVC or MVT architecture. Working with a MVC design pattern will ultimately allow your project team to structure a large application easily and logically that will be easier to manage and maintain.
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