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Community Blog Flask vs Django vs Pyramid: How to Choose the 3 Top Python Frameworks

Flask vs Django vs Pyramid: How to Choose the 3 Top Python Frameworks

In this post, we will evaluate the three top Python frameworks and their suitability for use in your ECS instance.

Today, developers have a wide range of Python libraries to pick from. The most famous are Flask, Django, and Pyramid, but others include Falcon, Pecan, Bottle, Tornado, and Diesel. Given both of these options, you may be perplexed as to which system will fit better with your situation. When it comes down to it, selecting the appropriate platform is just as critical as selecting a dependable solution like Alibaba Cloud's Elastic Compute Service (ECS). The system you use has a significant impact on the results of your project.

Understanding the Three Python Frameworks

Let's first look at Django, which, you could say, comes with multiple stuff right out of the box to make the work of developers easier. But there's a catch. You need to be really good with Python already. The included components also mean that your application will be quite heavy for your server and thus a bit slower as a result. Nonetheless, all of this means that this framework does away with the need to bother with infrastructure decisions and minimizes work in routing, templating, authentication and some of the aspects of database management.

Next, we have Pyramid, which at its core is a much lighter alternative to Django. It includes routing and authentication features, but most of the other requirements such as templating and database management will need external libraries. Most developers consider Pyramid as an alternative to the other two frameworks. You will benefit from a substantial number of third-party plugins and libraries such as dashboards and admin panels. When working with large systems that require flexibility, you will find Pyramid more palatable than Django. Since you are at liberty to choose the ORM, templates, and forms, you end up with a slightly lighter application, which translates to less workload for your server. However, be prepared to do some heavy lifting before getting used to it, especially when used to Django. Mozilla and Yelp are some examples of organizations that use Pyramid.

Our last consideration is Flask, a relatively young framework launched in 2010. Despite it being a recent debut, there is already a large user base from the developer community, especially in microservices and small projects. When handling projects that necessitate the use of non-standard ORM, both Flask and Pyramid can be great alternatives, the difference being on the application architecture.

So, what should guide the choice of a framework for use on your Alibaba Cloud ECS?

There are four main considerations to make here:

  1. Application performance
  2. Cost of Infrastructure
  3. Community Support
  4. Bootstrapping

Flask, Django or Pyramid: Which Framework is Right for You?

Application Performance

Alibaba Cloud is very reliable and responsive and with little latency. It also allows autoscaling to meet computational needs of your app. Nonetheless, the performance of your deployed application also depends on how it is built. The overall performance depends on all the components wired together to deliver on user requests. How these components interface and connect between each other varies in complexity and risk. Python framework relies greatly on third-party plugins and as such, failure and response are of great significance. Failure and service slowdown in most cases is as a result of interfacing between components.

This is where Flask is a clear winner. When adapted for use in a lightweight manner, such as in microservices, you are likely to get a very fast response and good performance. Pyramid is also a good contender in this category owing to its light nature, but when the application requires wiring together of multiple plugins and components, the chances of failure increase exponentially. When fewer components are used in an application, failure decencies reduce and performance improves. Django comes pre-integrated with stable components out of the box and would be preferred for overly complex applications that do not need much manipulation.

Here, we go with Flask for smaller applications and microservices, Pyramid for flexible large applications and Django for larger and lesser flexible applications that require a large number of components. Overly, Flask applications offer better performance than Pyramid or Django.

Cost of Infrastructure

Application complexity is one of the most important contributors to the cost of infrastructure. An overly complex application needs the use of more computing power, which translates to higher costs per unit time. If the number of users is constant, the cost of infrastructure required depends on the number of individual moving parts in a system. A framework that incorporates unnecessary components to attain business objective is obviously going to have an impact on the cost of infrastructure.

Again, Flask and Pyramid's stripped-down approach is beneficial in this respect. The Django approach tends to have many components in it, which do not necessarily have much business value but which nonetheless increase the complexity. However, this matter will depend on if you are dealing with a microservices architecture and small applications, complex enterprise systems or larger monolithic systems.

For the microsystem approach, Flask is the clear winner, with light-weight and fast response to save on infrastructure costs massively. Kubernetes is one of the ways to handle microservices on Alibaba Cloud. You want the microservices to be as simple as possible, a solution you can only have with Flask and to some extent, Pyramid.

In enterprise systems that require complex wiring of components and a less flexible deployment, Pyramid is preferred due to more libraries and plugins, but still a less need for unnecessary components. Django is the preferred option for larger and monolithic systems that do not require much tampering with the pre-set integrations that come out of the box. It is noteworthy that microservices architecture is very great for optimal system performance and efficient use of server resources.

Many developers today are understanding the importance and advantages of microservices architecture for optimal availability and failure mitigation. With these considerations, it seems that there are several considerations you need to think about before deciding on the particular framework for use. Your Alibaba Cloud ECS instance will be as affordable as ever, but keep these things in mind if you're also trying to mind your costs. Largely, when scaling services for a large number of users, that is when a significant difference in costs arise. Generally, therefore, it is better to adopt a microservices architecture and Flask is your clear winner. Pyramid can still be a contender if your larger application requirements cannot be met by Flask.

Community Support

For any open source framework, community support is pretty crucial. New libraries, plugins, and documentation come from the community. In this regard, Django is leading the pack with about 80,000 questions on Stack Overflow alone, all of which are a contribution towards the development of the framework. It is also leading the pack with the number of extensions available and you are likely to get nearly all you need from the community. Flask and Pyramid, on the other hand, do not boast of such large communities. Nonetheless, the contributions on GitHub are comparably well developed. If you are a new developer, you are probably keen on great support from the community and this may inform your choice of framework. In this category, Django is the clear winner.

Bootstrapping

Bootstrapping is the ability to get an application up and running with the use of external libraries and plugins. So, you have your ECS up and running and now you want to write an application fast. Django has many built-in tools, which can enable you to get started immediately but the learning curve is much steeper. Pyramid has fewer tools but still a handful of tools and thus does not depend much on extensions to get up and running. For these reasons, Flask is very easy to code and the learning curve is quite low. Flask blueprints are used to separate components in an application.

There is a major difference in approach between Django and the lesser loaded Flask and Pyramid. The former treats an application as componentized necessitating a wide knowledge base. In Flask and Pyramid, a project is treated as an entire application.

Now let us write a simple Hello World app in the three frameworks:

Bootstrapping with Flask

Flask by and large is the simplest of the three:

from flask import Flask
app = Flask(__name__)

@app.route("/")
def hello():
    return "Hello World!"

if __name__ == "__main__":
    app.run()

The python structure is as shown below:

|----Flask App
|---------Flask App
|--------------__init__.py
|--------------static
|--------------templates

Evidently, you can get hacking immediately with little Python experience and thus there is no need for complex bootstrapping tools in Flask. With several different components, use the blueprints. As an example, user roles could be handled by roles.py while configuration roles are handled in config.py. It is easy to see why Flask is great for small applications and microservices.

Bootstrapping with Pyramid

Pyramid has an built-in bootstrapping tool named pcreate that will generate a skeleton for your project. The skeleton comes with configurations, a template and application packaging files for upload the app to Python Package Index.

The process commences with the command below:

$ pcreate -s starter hello_pyramid

Below is a really flexible template by Pyramid:

hello_pyramid
©À©¤©¤ CHANGES.txt
©À©¤©¤ development.ini
©À©¤©¤ MANIFEST.in
©À©¤©¤ production.ini
©À©¤©¤ hello_pyramid
©¦   ©À©¤©¤ __init__.py
©¦   ©À©¤©¤ static
©¦   ©¦   ©À©¤©¤ pyramid-16x16.png
©¦   ©¦   ©À©¤©¤ pyramid.png
©¦   ©¦   ©À©¤©¤ theme.css
©¦   ©¦   ©¸©¤©¤ theme.min.css
©¦   ©À©¤©¤ templates
©¦   ©¦   ©¸©¤©¤ mytemplate.pt
©¦   ©À©¤©¤ tests.py
©¦   ©¸©¤©¤ views.py
©À©¤©¤ README.txt
©¸©¤©¤ setup.py

Bootstrapping with Django

In Django, django-admin is the primary bootstrapping tool which is initiated like so:

django-admin startproject hello_django
django-admin startapp howdy

As we already mentioned, the project will be structured into individual applications.

hello_django
©À©¤©¤ hello_django
©¦   ©À©¤©¤ __init__.py
©¦   ©À©¤©¤ settings.py
©¦   ©À©¤©¤ urls.py
©¦   ©¸©¤©¤ wsgi.py
©À©¤©¤ howdy
©¦   ©À©¤©¤ admin.py
©¦   ©À©¤©¤ __init__.py
©¦   ©À©¤©¤ migrations
©¦   ©¦   ©¸©¤©¤ __init__.py
©¦   ©À©¤©¤ models.py
©¦   ©À©¤©¤ tests.py
©¦   ©¸©¤©¤ views.py
©¸©¤©¤ manage.py

Django makes it very easy to build applications with little coding. The main drawback with this model is that the learning curve for even a small app is quite steep. Also, structuring an individual application is largely the work of an individual.

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To manage these static files Django offers the module: django.contrib.staticfiles

In this tutorial, we will show you how to effectively use the django.contrib.staticfiles module to apply style sheets to HTML pages, how to display images on a web page, and how to improve user interactions by integrating JavaScript code with the Django framework.

To do this, we will create a small web application that will have a user profile page and a home page displaying multiple images.

Objectives

Here are the goals of the following tutorial

  1. Show how to serve images and static files using the django framework
  2. Show how to use the collectstatic command to deploy images and static files to production

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With the emergence of new data technologies and new technology products, it is now a need for every business to build its own e-commerce platform and integrate it directly into the company website. The tutorial we are presenting you now has the objective to show you how you can leverage the power of the Django framework to build a cart system.

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