An Honest Look at Django

I’ve written a few posts on Django and those were mostly a response to Django’s admin interface. However, when I switched to building a web application in Django instead of Ruby on Rails, I saw the benefits immediately. Faster, easier and more productive. Period.

In Rails there are different ways to do anything. The approaches can become easily unlimited depending on your skill level. For a developer like myself who is primarily a designer, it seemed less appealing that I had to spend 60% of my time learning how to do it right. Don’t get me wrong, I want to do it right. Nevertheless Rails documentation and the elitist community didn’t shine light on anything. I realized then and there, Rails is not for newbies.

I’m almost positive there are plenty who disagree, but the fact of the matter is your disagreement is irrelevant cause you’re not me. Moving on. I’ve bought all the “important” books for Ruby and Rails and have come to the conclusion that Rails isn’t as productive as it claims to be. Surely its more productive than what we’ve had over the years in the shadow of Java, PHP and others. But I’m speaking mainly about building production ready web applications and web sites.

This is where I came back to Django. Previously, Rails gave me good fuzzy feelings and the only reason I took to it was because it had a larger influence and everybody else was doing it. Now that reality has set in, I needed something that was less hassle. So I’ve switched to Django.

Why Django over Rails?

  • Deployability – Rails is not easy to deploy on shared host environments. When I say easy, I mean I should have the proper control to start and stop my application layers whether they be servers or just applications. Rails needed at least Mongrel to work smoothly. And if you really wanted your projects to sing, you’d had to incorporate more stacks. Django leaves this to be optional. Django runs well no matter how many stacks you have.
  • Portability – Django was built to run on any hardware anywhere. It runs well with older versions of MySQL and Apache, so on and so forth. So moving my projects from one server to another was simple. Rails on the other hand leaves all the heavy lifting to the developer. Quietly, Rails in a nutshell is a luxury framework.
  • CRUD and the Admin – Often I like to test and validate my model structures before adding end-user centric functionality on top. To do this in rails I have to build “non-scaffoldish” admin intefaces and relate my data manually. Django doesn’t make me do this. It does it all for me and it looks hot at that. It makes CRUD and the admin UI enjoyable.
  • Views and Templates – They just make sense. I hate recreating the same layouts over and over again, luckily both Rails and Django create paths of least resistance in this area, however Django does a better job.

Those are just a few things Django has proved itself in and as time moves on, I will post more about how Django does documentation. Stay tuned.

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