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How to get started in web development with Python

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Web development using Python

Learning Python is easy. You can do a lot with just a few lines of Python code. However, if you are thinking of building a complex full-fetched web application in Python from scratch, you might be doing it wrong.

There are already some great Python frameworks present in the modern-day that you can use for web development. They are fast, refined and backed by thousands of developers.

Here, we are explaining why Python frameworks are a great choice for web development — where to start with them and how. Also, we are introducing to Python libraries and helper tools that will help you throughout the Web development process.

So let us get started.

What is a web framework?

Before we get into the why let us first understand what a web framework really is.

A web framework is nothing but a collection of packages and modules that allows easier development of websites. It handles all low-level communication within the system and hides it from you to make no issues for performing common tasks for the development.

The line where it draws the line between which to hide and which to not, depends on the individual framework itself (more on this later).

Why choose a Python web framework?

You can always create a web application from scratch, but there are various reasons you would not want to. Below are the top five reasons why you should choose Python framework over your own.

Used and trusted by many large companies

Popular Python frameworks like Pyramid and Django are used by companies like Bitbucket, Pinterest, Instagram and Dropbox in their web application development. So, it is safe to say these frameworks are able to handle almost everything you throw at them.

Hides complicated low-level details

As stated above, web frameworks are meant to hide and handle all low-level details so that you as a developer, do not have to dig deep into how everything works when you are developing a web-enabled application.

Saves your valuable time

The frameworks have been built investing thousands of developer and testing hours. Building on top of it saves your valuable time. Especially, when you are developing a simple prototype of a website or are closer to a deadline, using web frameworks can turn out to be a life safer.

Security

One of the most important advantages of using a web framework as opposed to building something on your own is handling the security of your website. Since web frameworks have been used and backed by thousands, it inherently handles security, preventing any misuse of the web application.

Efficient and scalable system

Good frameworks are built ensuring scalability from the very beginning of the development process. So, whenever you are planning to scale your website by adding a new component or using a new database, web frameworks are more likely to scale better than what you come up with when building from scratch.

Fun fact: Disqus, a popular blog comment hosting service, has more than eight billion page views and 45K request per second through Python framework Django.

Which framework to choose?

There are tons of Python web frameworks, and every framework has their own strengths and weaknesses. Thus, it is necessary to evaluate your project requirements and pick one the best one from the collection.

Below are the three most popular web frameworks in Python.

Django

Django is probably the most popular Python web framework and is aimed mostly at larger applications.  It takes a “batteries-included” approach and contains everything needed for web development bundled with the framework itself. So, you do not have to handle things like database administration, templating, routing, authentication and so on. With fairly less code, you can create great applications with Django.

If you are building a mid-high ranged web applicants and are quite comfortable with Python, you should go for Django.

Pyramid

The Pyramid is the most flexible Python web framework and just like Django, it is aimed at mid-high scale applications.

If you think Django brings too much bloat to your web application, use Pyramid. It does not force you to use a single solution for a task, but rather gives you a pluggable system to plug-in according to your project requirements.

You do have the basic web development capabilities like routing and authentication, but that is about it. So, if you want to connect to a database for storage, you ought to do that yourself using external libraries.

Flask

Flask is the new kid in town. Unlike Pyramid and Django, Flask is a micro-framework and is best suited for small-scale applications.

Even if it is new, Flask has integrated great features of other frameworks. It includes features like unit testing and built-in development server that enable you to create reliable and efficient web applications.

Things to know when you start with Python frameworks

Learn Python and HTML

Before you start with the frameworks, it is the best to learn Python from the ground up. When you are comfortable with the language and its power, you will have a strong understanding of the fundamentals required for your project.

Equally important knowledge to have is the knowledge of HTML and JS. Modern web development is just not possible without them.

Follow getting started guide carefully and grasp their basic architectural knowledge

Since frameworks like Django are based on MVC and Flask uses Jinja2 templating engine, it is always better to how these architectures actually work.

Create simple applications

When starting out, do not rush into creating full-fledged heavy web applications. Start with something simple like a todo list.

This teaches you how CRUD functionalities and basic HTTP requests are handled by the framework. Also, you will have a good grasp on how to get started with the framework itself.

This advice is equally applicable to advanced programmers.

Learn to debug

Exceptions and bugs are programmer’s best friends. Learn to configure and use the debugging capabilities of the frameworks. Understanding the exceptions and how a code behaves in certain cases will take you a long way.

Use IDE’s like PyCharm that makes your life a lot easier with its smart intellisense, debugging capabilities and code optimisation tips.

Integrate third-party modules

The whole point of using a web framework is not to repeat what others have already achieved better, and focusing on the output instead.

Most of the utilities you need for database connection (SQLAlchemy), scientific computations (SciPy) and web scraping (BeautifulSoup) are already implemented and used by many, do not waste time recreating the wheel. Web framework powers itself with the use of external libraries. With them, your development project can catch serious speed.

However, before you go for external integration, it is better to familiarise yourself with Python’s core modules first. Python’s utility functions and object methods support an array of features.

Manipulations like string encoding, filtering and mapping can be achieved through Python’s internal tools itself.

Python with its powerful web framework catalogue is a great choice for web development and will bring you up to speed with today’s modern needs.

Whichever framework you choose, there is no doubt that there is a great advantage in using a web framework than building a web application from scratch. We can also consider that investing your time in learning and using Python web framework, in turn, can save your time, money and production effort.

  • yokesh j

    Python is a famous web designing language than others. Using many frameworks it is very useful to learn and implement python.

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  • Great.. among the suggested frameworks, Django is probably the best for beginners. It offers a great documentation and an easy tutorial (at http://djangoproject.com/) and a free online book also.

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