When a client is asking for a custom web application, the main choice that every developer should make is to pick the best available web framework to work with that can provide everything that is needed to build the desired app. Everything in development is based on the usage of specific frameworks and their combinations, and almost every popular language has its own set of frameworks to choose from. Talking about web development, Python and Java are two languages that are trending at the moment. Both languages can provide a wide range of frameworks, with Django being the most used one for Python, and Spring for Java when talking about web development.
Django web framework is a big player on the market since 2005. Its main purpose was to provide an opportunity to create web applications quickly and bring ready-to-use modules that specialize in accomplishing different programming tasks. There is almost nothing that this framework can’t provide developers with – it brings everything for creating a fully functional web application in just a couple of hours – that is the key reason for its popularity. This framework gives you an admin interface that uses a model that you provide and can be easily configured for your needs with no effort, and also can take care of basic CRUD operations. Besides that, it also covers the safety issues with different popular vulnerabilities like SQL injections and CSRF.
Additionally, Django inherited main benefits of Python – its great support for work with external libraries, total productivity boost of developers, and also great machine learning capabilities (it also provides modules to work with powerful machine learning libraries). With all those advantages, developers can stop spending time on programming common things. Django provides loosely coupled components to work with, which can both provide flexibility for developers and slow them down.
While being a robust web framework known for its capabilities, a lot of programmers still do not use it as a primary one. There are a few disadvantages of Django with the main one being the fact that Django does not support the handling of multiple requests, and that can slow down and limit developers. Django is a solid package with a small number of dependencies, which makes it bulky and difficult to use when developing microservices, that’s why it is used mostly for the development of monoliths. Eventually, Django has a REST framework (DRF) that empowers the Django app with REST API capabilities, what makes the development of microservices easy and quick.
Spring framework was officially released back in 2003. Even though it was released two years before Django, Spring significantly loses in popularity and has begun to gradually shorten the distance in recent years. Spring itself is the foundation of a huge group of Java frameworks and provides support for the development of enterprise Java applications of all kinds, including numerous web frameworks. The key features that Spring provides are dependency injection and inversion of control. Those features let you focus on the development of individual components with no need to worry about all the dependencies.
When comparing with Django, we must take a look at Spring Boot framework, not Spring in general, as Spring Boot is a framework that provides default configuration and includes required components and modules automatically based on it. While the pure Spring framework is highly flexible and provides the ability to configure and manage modules in use, Spring Boot does a lot of things automatically, and this makes Spring Boot perfect for the development of web applications, similarly to Django. Spring does not only open the ability to integrate with the entire group of Spring frameworks, but also provides good admin support and offers an easy Command Line Interface for both development and testing. All of that gives a ready-to-use application made with just a few clicks.
In order to make great progress with Spring, you must know how it works and on what principles does it operate, so you can easily troubleshoot it when it’s needed. Besides that, Spring is not recommended to be used for building large monolithic applications and works well with building microservices. It also does not provide a module for an admin interface application, what makes it harder to manage models and data, and can be considered a strong downside for Spring.
Both Django and Spring Boot frameworks are considered opinionated. Software is opinionated if it has its own certain way to approach business process and provides software crafted around that approach. Being an opinionated software is not a bad nor a good thing. Sure, it can cause some problems with flexibility in actions for some developers, but it also makes it easier to navigate and work with the framework.
Now that we had a look at both frameworks, let’s talk about where are they used and why. Big and popular companies use both Django and Spring to develop their products – YouTube, Instagram, Netflix, Spotify, and Pinterest used Django for their web applications, when Spring was used by such companies as Netflix, Platform, Intuit, CRED, and Trivago. Sometimes, companies used both these web frameworks when developing a project. Django is more than 20 times more popular, and that can be seen looking at companies that were listed, but Spring is slowly growing and trying to not fall far behind. Both frameworks are used in wide lists of areas as they can easily be adjusted to different needs. Django is often used to create content management systems, social networks, scientific platforms, etc., while Spring is popular in financial systems and e-commerce applications.
When should you choose Django and Spring? Django will help you with the development of enterprise web applications with Python and will make this process convenient. Big and monolithic projects will only benefit from using Django. Spring, on the other hand, is used more for building and quickly deploying microservices.