Django vs other Python web frameworks?


I've pretty much tried every Python web framework that exists, and it took me a long time to realize there wasn't a silver bullet framework, each had its own advantages and disadvantages. I started out with Snakelets and heartily enjoyed being able to control almost everything at a lower level without much fuss, but then I discovered TurboGears and I have been using it (1.x) ever since. Tools like Catwalk and the web console are invaluable to me.

But with TurboGears 2 coming out which brings WSGI support, and after reading up on the religious debates between the Django and WSGI camps, I'm really torn between "doing it the right way", e.g., learning WSGI, spending valuable time writing functionality that already exists in Django and other full-stack frameworks, as opposed to using Django or some high-level framework that does everything for me. The downsides with the latter that I can see are pretty obvious:

  1. I'm not learning anything in the process
  2. If I ever need to do anything lower level it's going to be a pain
  3. The overhead required for just a basic site which uses authentication is insane. (IMO)

So, I guess my question is, which is the better choice, or is it just a matter of opinion, and should I suck it up and use Django if it achieves what I want with minimal fuss (I want authentication and a CRUD interface to my database)? I tried Werkzeug, Glashammer, and friends, but AuthKit and Repoze scared me off, as well as the number of steps involved to just setup basic authentication. I looked at Pylons, but the documentation seems lacking, and when referencing simple features like authentication or a CRUD interface, various wiki pages and documentation seemed to contradict each other, with different hacks for versions and such.

Thanks to S. Lott for pointing out that I wasn't clear enough. My question is: which of the following is worthwhile in the long run, but not painful in the short (e.g., some sort of middle ground, anyone?) - Learn WSGI, or stick with a "batteries-included" framework? If the latter, I would appreciate a suggestion as to whether I should give Django another try, stick with TurboGears 1.x, or venture into some other framework.

Also, I have tried CherryPy, but couldn't seem to find a good enough CRUD application that I could plop in and use right away.

3/31/2009 6:08:46 PM

Accepted Answer

I suggest taking another look at TG2. I think people have failed to notice some of the strides that have been made since the last version. Aside from the growing WSGI stack of utilities available there are quite a few TG2-specific items to consider. Here are a couple of highlights:

TurboGears Administration System - This CRUD interface to your database is fully customizable using a declarative config class. It is also integrated with Dojo to give you infinitely scrollable tables. Server side validation is also automated. The admin interface uses RESTful urls and HTTP verbs which means it would be easy to connect to programatically using industry standards.

CrudRestController/RestController - TurboGears provides a structured way to handle services in your controller. Providing you the ability to use standardized HTTP verbs simply by extending our RestController. Combine Sprox with CrudRestController, and you can put crud anywhere in your application with fully-customizable autogenerated forms. TurboGears now supports mime-types as file extensions in the url, so you can have your controller render .json and .xml with the same interface it uses to render html (returning a dictionary from a controller)

If you click the links you will see that we have a new set of documentation built with sphinx which is more extensive than the docs of the past.

With the best web server, ORM, and template system(s) (pick your own) under the hood, it's easy to see why TG makes sense for people who want to get going quickly, and still have scalability as their site grows.

TurboGears is often seen as trying to hit a moving target, but we are consistent about releases, which means you won't have to worry about working out of the trunk to get the latest features you need. Coming to the future: more TurboGears extensions that will allow your application to grow functionality with the ease of paster commands.

3/31/2009 9:54:24 PM

the religious debates between the Django and WSGI camps

It would seem as though you're a tad bit confused about what WSGI is and what Django is. Saying that Django and WSGI are competing is a bit like saying that C and SQL are competing: you're comparing apples and oranges.

Django is a framework, WSGI is a protocol (which is supported by Django) for how the server interacts with the framework. Most importantly, learning to use WSGI directly is a bit like learning assembly. It's a great learning experience, but it's not really something you should do for production code (nor was it intended to be).

At any rate, my advice is to figure it out for yourself. Most frameworks have a "make a wiki/blog/poll in an hour" type exercise. Spend a little time with each one and figure out which one you like best. After all, how can you decide between different frameworks if you're not willing to try them out?

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