Understanding the Django Web Framework

Django Bootcamp San Francisco

This tutorial explains the fundamentals of the Django web framework: what it is and why it’s important to coding, as well as its main features and advanced functions.

What is Django?

Django is a Python web framework created by experienced industry professionals that allows developers to create secure, maintainable websites while avoiding common difficulties associated with web programming. Developers rely on Django to build nearly any kind of site, ranging from blogs to social media sites.

Django benefits users in a number of ways: it is open-source, free and well-documented. It is also a complete framework, which means it has everything needed to create functional applications in one place to work together seamlessly while following consistent design principles. Django’s active community is a great resource for troubleshooting issues, and knowing that others have used the framework and found it to work well provides the ultimate peace of mind, especially when you’re just getting started.

Security of the Django Framework 

The Django framework automatically protects your website, helping you to avoid many common security mistakes. Security features include secure password and account management and using a secure location to store browsing session info rather than cookies.

Django uses password hashes to safely store this sensitive piece of user information. When a user enters their password, the Django framework runs it through the hash and compares it to their stored value. Keep in mind, the hash function only works in one direction to make it extremely difficult for nefarious users or hackers to determine the password.

Additional security features include:

  • SQL Injection
  • Clickjacking
  • Cross-Site Request Forgery
  • Cross-Site Scripting

Scalability and Maintainability of the Django Framework

If you’ve started exploring Django on your own or through a data analytics boot camp, you may have learned that its components are independent, or can be individually replaced without affecting the rest of your site, which is extremely useful if you expect your website to amass more content or visitors over time. For example, if your website received more traffic than initially predicted, it’s easy to add hardware to handle the extra visitors. Websites like Disqus and Instagram have both used Django to meet increasing demands.

Django also uses a DRY (“Don’t Repeat Yourself”) code to avoid unnecessary duplication. By reducing the volume of code,  it’s easy to maintain and reuse components however you like.

History of the Django Framework

Today, Django is a thriving collaborative project that has been contributed to by thousands of individuals and companies. The team responsible for creating the framework from 2003 to 2005 had one goal in mind: to be able to reuse common patterns and code when designing similar websites.

Since its completion in July 2005, Django has grown exponentially to include new bug fixes and added features like template engines, databases and caching. You can find the latest framework updates on the Django website.

Popularity of the Django Web Framework

Because Django provides constant updates and user support, it’s a smart choice when it comes time to select a framework. In fact, you may be able to apply the knowledge you acquire through a data analytics boot camp in a professional setting since many popular websites use the framework, including:

  • Mozilla
  • Open Knowledge Foundation
  • Knight Foundation
  • Pinterest
  • National Geographic
  • Open Stack

Opinionated vs. Unopinionated Frameworks

Django is considered to be a “somewhat opinionated” framework, balancing between opinionated and unopinionated.

Opinionated frameworks work quickly when solving problems that have been well-documented and understood. However, they are not as flexible as unopinionated frameworks because they do not offer as many choices for choosing the best approach.

On the other hand, an unopinionated framework does not have as many restrictions, giving developers the freedom to choose the tools to complete certain tasks. Because of the way that Django is built, you can generally customize how opinionated the program is.

How Django Works

With a traditional website driven by data, the application receives HTTP requests that your web browser serves. When the application receives a request, the application uses the URL to determine what it needs to do. The application can write or read information from the database to complete the request. Then, the application is able to respond to the browser when that request has been completed. 

Django works by grouping the code into different files to handle each step. For example, Django can use the URL mapper to redirect requests to a view, which handles the requests. The framework also contains a view that can handle and respond to the HTTP requests and another view that tells the templates how to format a readable response.

The template defines the file’s layout or structure, using a placeholder to represent the content and work with the view to populate the page. While a template often defines an HTML file, it can technically be used to define any kind of file structure.

Closing Thoughts 

After reading this tutorial, you should be familiar with Django’s benefits and uses, as well as its history. Having this basic understanding of the Django framework can be helpful if you ever decide to take a data class in San Francisco.

*Please note, these articles are for educational purposes and the topics covered may not be representative of the curriculum covered in our boot camp. Explore our curriculum to see what you’ll learn in our program.

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