How to Choose a Python Framework for Web Development

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Python is by far one of the easier-to-learn programming languages. It is not only easy, but also covers almost every field of development and technology. However, in order for Python as a language to cover so many fields, it requires help. Python gets this help from frameworks.

What is a Framework ?

A framework is a collection of packages or modules which allow developers to write web applications. It acts as a reflection tool that makes it simpler to build up applications and reuse code. In Python there are three main types of frameworks: 

  • Full-Stack framework: This is a one-stop solution for all developer requirements, such as form generators, form validation and template layouts. Some examples include: Django, Web2Py, Pyramid, TurboGears, CubicWeb etc…
  • Micro-frameworks: These are lightweight frameworks that do not offer additional functionality. Developers who use this need to add a lot of code. Some examples include: CherryPy, Flask, Falcon, Bottle, Dash, Pycnic etc…
  • Asynchronous: It is a micro-framework that allows developers to handle a large set of concurrent connections. Some examples include: Tornado, Growler and Sanic.

Things to Consider When Choosing a Python Framework

As Python continues to rise in the ranks as the most preferred programming language, its demand by web developers is also increasing. Even some of the top companies (such as Instagram, Netflix, Facebook, Spotify, and Dropbox) use Python in the development of their sites to sustain top notch performance. As a result, understanding the different Python frameworks is a crucial skill.

Before you even decide to use Python, you have to assess the best web framework for your needs. For instance, on one hand, as a developer, if you are planning to work on a large project that will require lots of features, then a full-stack framework will be the right choice for you. On the other hand, a micro-framework is better if you are planning on a simple product app.

When considering a framework, it is important to determine if the framework is up for the task and if it will perfectly fit your desired project. This is especially vital when developing a project that is required to run on several web servers and needs the ability to support additional features and functionality.

Advantages of a Python Framework

Using a framework during development is very important not only because of the code organization but also because it helps improve productivity, which simplifies the whole development process. 

Some advantages of Python and its frameworks are:

  • Python is an Open-source language
  • Its frameworks are accompanied with good and detailed documentation.
  • It allows for code reusability.
  • It is easier to integrate the frameworks during development.
  • Implementation is easy.

In order to capitalize on these advantages, you have to know what you want and the framework you will need to make it a success. To help you choose your framework to develop your next project, below is an overview of some of the top frameworks.

Python Frameworks for Web Development 

Django

Django is a full-stack framework, free and open source. It is also one of the most used python frameworks for development of large scale applications.

Furthermore, this framework follows the DRY principle (Do Not Repeat Yourself). It takes care of much of the hassle of web development, so you can focus on writing your app without needing to reinvent the wheel.

Django also supports a wide range of libraries, as well as databases like MySQL, PostgreSQL, SQLite and Oracle.

Quick Highlights

  • Ridiculously fast.
  • It is open-source    
  • Reassuringly secure.    
  • Exceedingly scalable.    
  • Incredibly versatile.
  • Supports a wide range of libraries.

Read more about Django on their official documentation site here. 

Flask

Flask is a microframework for Python dependent on Werkzeug, and Jinja 2. It is primarily used to build up a solid web application base. It also allows the users to build genuine web app foundations and database tables from which they can use any source of extensions needed.

While similar, when contrasted with Django, Flask is most appropriate for more simple activities.

Quick Highlights

  • Powerful automatic HTML escaping system for XSS prevention  
  • Template inheritance 
  • Gives support for blueprints 
  • Compiles down to the optimal python code just in time  
  • Easy to debug.  
  • RESTful dispatch request

Read more about Flask on their official documentation site here.

CherryPy

CherryPy is a minimalist Python web framework that allows developers to build web applications similarly to how they would build any other object-oriented Python program. This results in smaller source code developed in less time.

Quick Highlights

  • It’s open-source.
  • Uses the object-oriented paradigm.
  • A reliable, HTTP/1.1-compliant, WSGI thread-pooled web server.  
  • Easy to run multiple HTTP servers at once.  
  • A flexible plugin system.  
  • Runs on Python 2.7+, 3.5+, PyPy, Jython, and Android. 
  • Built-in profiling, coverage, and testing support.  

Read more about CherryPy on their official documentation site here.

TurboGears

TurboGears is built on top of the experience of several next-generation web frameworks including Django and Rails. It allows developers to utilize the diverse JavaScript development tools. Consequently, developers are able to create applications with a supportable setup.

Quick Highlights

  • Starts as a microframework and scales up to a full-stack solution 
  • Code that is as natural as writing a function  
  • Has both a powerful and flexible Object Relational Mapper (ORM) with real multi-database support  
  • Designer-friendly template system great for programmers 
  • Support for multiple data-exchange formats  

Read more about TurboGears on their official documentation site here.

Pyramid

Pyramid makes it easy to write web applications because it offers many features that help simplify writing complex software. Additionally, it works in all supported versions of Python. 

Quick Highlights

  • Culture of 100% test and documentation coverage.  
  • Top-notch performance.  
  • Choose from a variety of templates, databases, security solutions.

Read more about Pyramid on their official documentation site here.

Bottle

Bottle is one of the most popular frameworks under MicroType. It is mostly used in the development of rapid and small web applications. Just like Flask, Bottle is also a lightweight framework and is distributed as a single file module. However, Bottle is considered the better choice for those looking for flexibility in development.

Quick Highlights

  • It is fast and simple to learn.
  • URL routing and mapping.
  • Integrated template engine.
  • Supports various plugins and databases.

All frameworks are equally important, and choosing one largely depends on the requirements of the project you are working on. That being said, generally Django and Flask are the most popular Python frameworks of the ones listed above.

Conclusion

The frameworks, as shown above, are the broadly utilized full-stack and non-full stack backend web application development frameworks of Python. With the expanding utilization of web applications, the interest for these frameworks is growing and new technologies are being implemented. While every framework has its very own upsides and downsides, the key is finding the one that works best for you.

If you want to learn more about this and go beyond web development and learn more about Python for mobile development, check out this article!


Hillary Nyakundi is a Growing Developer, with great interest in technology, open-source and the Python programming language. He is also a technical writer aiming to help share knowledge with other developers through informative articles. Through this, he has been able to work with tech companies from the US, India and Kenya. His passion in the developer world led him to start a podcast, “Let’s Talk Developer” where he gets to connect with other developers, learn from them and share their stories to help inspire upcoming developers.


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