30th August 202210 mins
Any individual well-versed in software programming has heard of Django and ReactJS technologies. While they are contrasting technologies, they can be used together to great effect.
In many developer corridors, the never-ending argument continues of whether ReactJS is a framework or a library. However, one thing that we are confident about is the fact that Django is considered a full-fledged framework.
So, in today’s Creole Studios Blog, we will explore the individual benefits of both technologies and the benefits of employing them together. So, without further ado, let’s delve in, shall we?
Before we get ahead of ourselves, it’s better if we first revise web frameworks. Typically, a website constitutes two parts: a front end and a back end. That being said, building a website involves the configuration of tasks like database and session management, security measures, authentications, etc.
In practice, a web framework essentially handles all those tasks as components so that developers don’t have to write them again from scratch. Put simply, frameworks make a developer’s life easy by not having to reinvent the wheel.
Though, it’s worth noting that one doesn’t technically need a framework to construct a fully functional website. A developer can choose to write all the logic they need themselves for aspects like data persistence, authentication & session handling layers, template rendering logic, security functions, or even integrated unit testing.
Regardless, if a developer uses a framework, they will be able to benefit from great features and components that are typically peer-reviewed and well-tested by hundreds of other developers. As such, a framework can enable a developer to build what they want rapidly, without them spending significant time worrying too much about the infrastructure of their application.
Incepted and maintained by the social media unicorn, Facebook, ReactJS uses single components where a software developer can break down complex UI components into individual ones, thus giving great modularity and separations of concerns. As a matter of fact, ReactJS is associated with some of the top giants including Yahoo, Instagram, Netflix, PayPal, and many others.
Because of React’s ability to handle view with the input framework, it is considered by some as a framework, while others refer to it as a library. Overall, the gist of the argument lies in the technical distinction between a library and a framework.
A developer employs a library when they want to control the flow of the application, while a framework is used when they want the ‘framework’ to be in charge of the flow. For better context, Angular is widely considered a framework because it controls and connects both Model and View, while ReactJS is a library since it controls only View.
Though when ReactJS was first released, it was marketed as an alternative to “Large MVC Architecture Frameworks.” So, by this premise, ReactJS is technically a framework since it forces a developer to build UIs in the React way as opposed to the Angular, Vue or Ember way (but it doesn’t fully dictate how you architecturally design your entire system, while Angular does).
However, I’d argue that caring about the contrasts between a library and framework is a bit pedantic and frivolous, so you can call it either.
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Generally, Django is a high-level Python web framework that allows developers to utilize modules for faster development. In practice, developers can use Django’s modules to build apps and websites from an existing source, thus considerably speeding up the development process, as they do not have to code everything from scratch.
Django is free and open-source and is famously known for its advanced functionality such as admin panels, file upload support, authentication support, comment boxes, contact forms, app management, and more.
Django encourages rapid development as well as a clean, pragmatic design, thus cutting out much of the hassle of web development, so developers can focus on writing their app without needing to reinvent the wheel.
A notable benefit of employing Django for backend web development is the fact that it’s a Representational State Transfer (REST) framework, which makes it a popular toolkit for building APIs. One of the main benefits of REST APIs is that they offer a great deal of flexibility. Hence, Django REST framework is essentially a highly powerful, scalable, and versatile toolkit for constructing web APIs.
Furthermore, it’s a highly scalable framework that developers can exploit for building smaller projects, before later moving on to complex applications capable of handling heavy user traffic and large data volumes. Generally speaking, many industry leaders employ Django to build all sorts of platforms, from social networks to Content Management Systems to data computing platforms. Examples of some of the busiest sites currently using Django’s ability to quickly and flexibly scale to meet heavy traffic demands are: Netflix, Spotify, Instagram, YouTube, Dropbox, and Pinterest.
As explained, Django is a backend web framework while ReactJS is arguably a frontend framework (tending towards a library) for developing Single Page Applications (SPAs). That being said, overall, ReactJS has similar benefits to Django in terms of scalability, being battle-tested, having exhaustive documentation, an active community, and an excellent set of built-in tools that allow users to focus on the construction of software logic instead of other trivial aspects.
With regards to merging Django and React technologies, it’s essentially a canonical combination for building web software. In practice, an application that combines both technologies will have Django as the backend and ReactJS as front end. Simply put, this means that the REST API calls the backend if any data is needed in the frontend. Since frontend frameworks require a RESTful API to interact with, developers can choose to create a RESTful backend API with Django.
When using React and Django, developers typically take two approaches. The first approach is to build separate Django and React apps. In practice, Django is responsible for serving the API built using the Django REST framework, while React will consume these APIs employing the Axios HTTP client, or the browser’s fetch API. Furthermore, a developer will need to have two servers, both in development and production. In essence, one for Django (REST API) and the other for React (to serve static files).
In contrast, the second approach taken by developers involves coupling the frontend and backend apps. Fundamentally, a developer chooses to utilize Django to both serve the React frontend, then to expose the REST API. They typically integrate React and Webpack with Django, by first generating a Django project, then inside this project directory, they generate their React application using the React CLI.
All things considered; Django is arguably the most complete web development framework available. It’s highly secure, fast, and scalable. With the power of Python, developers can get an app up and running in no time.
We also established that when using React and Django together, React serves as the frontend (client-side framework), that handles the UI and getting & setting data via requests to the Django backend, which is an API built using the Django REST framework (DRF).
Get your very own application built with ReactJS and Django by experienced developers from Creole Studios’ dedicated resource hiring right away! Kindly share your idea with us by contacting us, and we’ll take care of the rest.