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Differences between Flask and Django - Part 1

This blog post is highly biased because I have worked a lot with Flask, and not at all with Django. So coming from a Flask background where I don’t always follow a rigid MVC framework, I’ll write about what I discover when comparing the two.

The list of tasks comes from me working on a website to host podcasts that my friend and I record.

1. Rendering a static page

So I have a webpage where I want to display an “About Us”. This will be static information and won’t be require any models (well I won’t say no to a model…) Simple, easy task to learn the ins and outs of the framework.

Flask:

You could have the html all within the route return as well if you wanted to be gross about it.

from flask import Flask, render_template
app = Flask(__name__)

@app.route('/about')
def about():
    return render_template('template/about.html')

Django

Since Django comes with “batteries included”, when you start the project, everything you need is already there. You just have to know which pieces to poke around in.

The urls.py file is where the routing is done within Django, similar to the route decorator in Flask. The routing is a bit more powerful in Django though, with the django.conf.urls utility functions.

The normal usage is to define a list of url() instances that take on the following parameters:

url(regex, view, kwargs=None, name=None)
urlpatterns = [
    url(r'^index/$', views.index, name='main-view'),
    url(r'^about/',  views.about),
    ...
]

The regex usage in Django comes built in, and is quite powerful although I personally have never thought about such a utility until I saw it in Django. With Flask, using werkzeug.routing you can build your own regex converter class that inherits from BaseConverter

The views.py change is just so that the Django project is already well organised and data is abstracted through it’s proper layers. All it’s doing is taking the request for the /about page and then returning the render of about.html

Summary

I know this was a very simple task, but it helps to explain how Django operates, and how different/flexible Flask can be for certain things. If I wanted to make a web application that only served static pages, then it would seem like Django has so much extra overhead that isn’t needed. It’s like buying a formula 1 car to drive 1km to work.

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