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Ask HN: Where is the Django community?
147 points by ciniglio on July 18, 2011 | hide | past | favorite | 155 comments
I'm debating whether to pick up Ruby on Rails in addition to my basic django knowledge, and as I explore the RoR community, I can't help but be amazed at how rich and active it is. For learning rails there are 3 very high quality books that talk about the latest version (Rails Way, Rails Tutorial, Agile Web Development with Rails). Compare this to the books available Django, none of which discuss the latest edition and many of which are outdated(e.g. Django book v2 (the latest ed.) covers Django 1.0!).

This doesn't touch on the huge number of blogs/sites that are dedicated to ruby news and tips (e.g. planetrubyonrails, railscasts, etc.).

Is there a reason for this discrepancy between the two ecosystems? Am I just not aware of where the Django community lives? Also, for those of you using Django or Rails, did the size of the community for your framework of choice influence your decision?






To be honest, Reddit has always been a Python stronghold. (may be because Reddit itself is written in Python)

And if it wasn't for the excellent http://railsforum.com, Rails could have got several thousands more tags on Stackoverflow.


I think part of the difference is that the Django docs are just so good, there isn't a lot I can think of that a book would add.

DjangoSnippets.org is also pretty useful, as are the multitudes of Django apps available on GitHub and BitBucket.

You can also hang out in #django on freenode. People can sometimes be a bit gruff with noobs (though what IRC channel isn't) but there are usually some good discussions going on there.


The django docs arn't as good as they're made out to be, at least not any more. The major problem is they're lagging behind at this point, in both using the new core features such as class based views, and in best practices, such as the tutorial teaching reusable apps.

the core devs have said this themselves though on stage at cons, so i'm sure it'll get fixed at some point.


The lack of documentation for class based view is quite annoying! How can they release a feature without at least a few lines?


tl;dr; (Not meant as a smart-ass comment but...) they're busy building stuff.

I think one of the interesting with Django is just how easy it is to get started with it without prior programming knowledge. I believe this has to do with Python itself and the great docs on Djangoproject.com

Just start doing the tutorial and voila. This has introduced a large amount of new programmers to Django and Python, making it gain in popularity extremely quickly. Case in point: when Django 1.0 came out the "core team" was often on Google Groups "django-users" answering even the most basic questions about programming.

Now most have moved on from Lawrence to businesses of their own; e.g. they're building cool new things. Other users within the Django community need to take over the baton and build up the community. I truly think there are tons of developers out there that are just using Django and haven't taken time to contribute back (I'm partly looking at myself) I think a new surge can take place in Django development in that respect; the user base Django has accrued over the years need to start returning the investment as it were.

Speaking for myself, I've been able to find most if not all information I needed online, and haven't so much needed to go to meetups or even irc and google groups. In this respect the lack of Django community you speak of rests on my shoulders and other Django users out there who haven't taken the time to contribute back to the community.

EDIT: I'm going to make a point of being more involved in the community via IRC etc.


Yep. The docs are top-notch. Definitely the best documented open-source project that I work with/on.

It's python and everybody knows python > ruby (also vim > emacs).

The only real wart for me is django.contrib.auth.models.User -- we should be able to easily replace the main auth model and not extend it. It feels like a real anti-pattern sometimes.


I think one of the interesting with Django is just how easy it is to get started with it without prior programming knowledge.

Wait, you're kidding right? Django is positively horrible for beginning programmers because it's a gigantic framework with an insane learning curve, and if you haven't done much/any webdev before it's almost impossible to learn.

Sure, you and i can pick it up in a weekend, but i don't think it's even in the realm of decent for beginning programmers.


I love working with Django, consider it a beautiful tool, and feel significantly more productive with it than any other framework I have worked with.

However, I did not get into Django to learn how to program (or to learn how to program with Python). Rather, I got into Django after I already had experience programming in Python and several other languages. Consequently, I didn't have to learn how to think like a programmer (or how to translate my thoughts into Python), rather I had to learn how to use Django to make building web apps easier.

Forgive me if this is unpopular, but I actually agree with this comment. I don't think Django is great for beginning programmers. However, I think that any sort of abstraction is bad for beginning programmers. In fact, I would go so far as to argue that beginning programmers should arm themselves with a very basic text editor, a list of assignments, and some source code written by extremely good programmers.


I learned how to write my first web app using Django. It had a learning curve, but once I got over that I was (and still am) flying.

Tracy Osborn's story about how she learned Django and built her first web-app is great too:

http://www.women2.org/from-web-designer-to-django-webapp-dev...


    0> Set up the DB  
    1> Describe a model    
    2> Write a view function  
    3> Write a template  
    4> Set up a URL conf
How is this more difficult than or different to other web frameworks, and what do you consider 'insane' about it?


Your steps aren't too difficult provided the new programmer knows MVC (sorry, Model-Template-View), regular expressions, ORM principles, basic database design principles, understand how migrations work and how to use south, django's template specifics, and is willing to wade through a maze of documentation for hours on end to find the solution to simple problems.

I'm not noing to list alternatives because that starts flamewars, but there are many smaller frameworks that don't have such a large learning curve.

I'm also not saying that Django is a bad framework-- i even launched my first commercial web app with it-- just that it's not optimal for beginning programmers.


What framework does not require one to understand those things?


You forgot step -1> Write a test


Hmmmm. I was a pretty green PHP coder when I picked up Django and I found the only parts of the learning curve which were tricky were doing things WELL. i.e. understanding how to write elegant, reusable code. And that's hard in any language because it's about being a good programmer, rather than just learning an API.


I taught someone programming with Python and Django. 6 months later he has a job at a bioinformatics startup.

Python is dead easy to teach and Django is dead easy to apply for newbies.


I think the biggest thing most people are missing is that django is an okay base, but you shouldn't look just to the django community, you should look to the python community. Django is only one aspect of a whole stack, and you should be more worried about your language choice then your framework choice.


absolutely true.


Let me tell you the truth, though this will not be popular: Django is not a good framework. It's clumsy, inflexible and restrictive. The community is pretty much dead.

If you want to work in ruby, go for ror. If you want to work in python, go for a micro framework like Bottle.

I made the mistake of investing a lot of my time in Django. It was not worth it in the end. All my Django projects ended up being a big mess, and I had to undjango my way out of the various restrictions it placed on me.

And the community in general seems to agree - there is not much different in the django ecosystem, comparing 2 years ago to now.

My advice, go for Ruby On Rails or Bottle. Leave Django alone.


As someone who's been using Django since the magic removal branch, its documentation is top notch, not to mention the lack of magic makes it very usable, supportable, and build-able on. I can say definitely what's going on from the top layer to the bottom layer without any black box behaviour.

Rails is full of sloppy coding, lots of magic, coders who think that return is an keyword, and bad practices. I have no problem with ruby as a language, even if it takes flexibility a step too far, however the style of coders, and the general "I did something clever and unreadable so I'm awesome" attitude seems to permeate the ruby-verse. Also while many improvements have been made on the ruby interpreters... the performance is STILL lagging behind Python, which as a dynamic language with compiled backend elements, gives languages like Java a run for their money.

Both systems are very powerful, Django has certain batteries included that I find it strange that rails fails to do (namely a plugabble extensible flexible user authentication system) and both have their adherents.

The writer of this original piece is clearly not very up on Django development, the strong community apparently how to write well implemented MVC code. Having spent years working with a variety of frameworks, I've yet to find a place where Django stops you doing what you want (unless its a fundamentally stupid idea).


the performance is STILL lagging behind Python

It's hard to benchmark these things with accuracy and impartiality, but there's not a significant gap between them anymore. For example (see JRuby here):

http://shootout.alioth.debian.org/u32/which-programming-lang...

I just ran an identical-technique-almost-identical-code recursive fibonacci benchmark against Python 2.6.1, Ruby 1.9.2, and JRuby 1.6.1 and got times of 17.4s, 7s, and 3.2s respectively. (Undoubtedly you could find benchmarks where Python wins, but this is an interesting test of a common algorithm nonetheless.)

Perhaps in real world tests there are places where performance can be made up, but at its core, Python isn't showing much improvement over Ruby nowadays until you start to use things like PyPy (which is, I admit, totally awesome).


Return is absolutely a keyword in Ruby: http://www.ruby-doc.org/docs/keywords/1.9/files/keywords_rb....


Its a keyword, but its not needed (as its not needed in many modern languages) but many rubyists I've worked with said that it was a nice feature that the return keyword was unnecessary and did not use it.


> but its not needed

Depends. It's needed for non-local returns (returning from within blocks), and it's also useful for early returns within methods.

It's not needed for the final return of a method, or a normal exit from a block (not a bad thing in my opinion, and Python's lambda do the same)


> coders who think that return is an keyword

What makes you think it isn't?


I had to google 'django magic removal branch' just because it sounded so cool:

https://code.djangoproject.com/wiki/RemovingTheMagic

I think your experience with Rails (and the community) may be a little out of date. Check out wycats' changes in Rails 3.0 to see where most of the cleanup happened. There's a lot less magic than there used to be.

As far as authentication and admin sections, I guess it just depends on your preferences for which pieces should be included in a framework and which users should have a choice over. Authentication is often app-specific enough that it's hard to drop in different solutions and have them act equivalently.


The simplicity and plugability of django's authentication system gives you as much as you need and as much as you want, if it doesn't provide something then you can reuse it. I can't think why I'd want to "choose" between different systems that should be provided in the core functionality.

The admin is not the auth system, you are not forced to use it and in fact its disabled by default in every single django startup app. I've in the past done my own functionality pages, and would use Admin when it was most suitable.

Personally I haven't seen anything in Rails 3.0 that makes me think "ooh this is a killer feature" the only thing that rails had over Django was migrations, and South closed that hole up years ago.

I'm going to to reinvestigate Rails 3 soon, however my concerns with magic are related as much to the coding style as the overal magical structure. One of the reasons I understand Django so well is the well written code, the other being that it is clean and well designed as a system.


José Valim has written a book[1] that shows how to swap in all manner of functionality into Rails 3. It covers alternate renderers (PDF), alternate models, alternate template stores (SQL), custom template engines, using the built-in notification system, and alternate backends for I18n.

I highly recommend it.

[1] http://pragprog.com/book/jvrails/crafting-rails-applications


Wow. That's bit harsh. I'll try and stay civil.

"The community is pretty much dead." - not from where I'm standing. I live in a tech-savvy town and there seems to be more Django devs here than Rails devs. Of course - it's not a popularity contest otherwise PHP would be the best web framework ;-)

"All my Django projects ended up being a big mess" - that used to be the case with my own code but by reading other people's code (and the Django source) I've improved hugely. Should you be blaming your tools?

"And the community in general seems to agree" - the Django community agrees that Django sucks? Or did you mean the web dev community in general? If so - can you back that up with anything more substantial?


PHP would be the best web framework

PHP is not a web framework like Django, it's a language like Python.There are however, many good Django like PHP frameworks.

Just wanted to clarify.


Partly a slip of the keyboard. But PHP is language + web-oriented 'libraries' (actually built-ins) so the it's a blurry distinction.


In the context discussed in this thread, "framework" means code that includes MVC, URL routing, and often an ORM. PHP in itself doesn't offer that; you need a framework such as CodeIgniter or Zend Framework on top. So no, PHP isn't a "framework" in itself (at least not in the way that Django is).


Having been writing web interactivity since before PHP, I'd disagree with you that PHP "is a language like Python".

Look at how it started, as personal home page template processing scripts in Perl, and you'll see it started with much more in common with a templating tool or web framework than with a formal language.

"PHP/FI was created by Rasmus Lerdorf in 1995, initially as a simple set of Perl scripts for tracking accesses to his online resume. He named this set of scripts 'Personal Home Page Tools'. As more functionality was required, Rasmus wrote a much larger C implementation, which was able to communicate with databases, and enabled users to develop simple dynamic Web applications..."

"PHP/FI, which stood for Personal Home Page / Forms Interpreter, included some of the basic functionality of PHP as we know it today. It had Perl-like variables, automatic interpretation of form variables and HTML embedded syntax."

http://www.php.net/manual/en/history.php.php


First of all, how it started isn't as important as where it is now. And what we have now is a full-fledged programming language. Secondly, if you can build large-scale maintainable websites with PHP, who cares how the language got started originally. It's all about what you can do with the language - and in that regard PHP is a great tool (although certainly not the only tool available).


"I don't know how to stop it, there was never any intent to write a programming language [...] I have absolutely no idea how to write a programming language, I just kept adding the next logical step on the way." -- Rasmussen Lerdorf, inventor of PHP

But to your point, he also said: "I've never thought of PHP as more than a simple tool to solve problems."

http://twitter.com/#!/rasmus/status/1938080214814720


Sorry to say my friend, but the Ruby and Rails community out teaches the competition. Hands down! It's that simple. But, more importantly the founder of Rails has deliciously swirly hair. Can Django top deliciously swirly hair? I didn't think so: http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=509808


I've got to disagree with you.

It's clumsy, inflexible and restrictive.

Pretty much anything can be swapped out with custom code. Need a custom auth backend? Just write a class. Need custom session backends? Just write a class. Need to customise a certain view of an application? Just override the url. Don't like the ORM? Just use something else. Have special caching needs? Write a backend.

A look at the release notes are full of good things and following them is definitely worth it. Since 1.3 you've got class based views that make it dead easy to create RESTful views for example. There's new logging support, you can have multiple databases with different backends.

The community is pretty much dead.

It's true that there was a lot more blogging happening in the earlier days. I suspect that the community is simply busy building new things - but a look at the CheeseShop shows on any day a healthy amount of new and updated Django components. Right now there are 7 Django projects on the main page.

All my Django projects ended up being a big mess, and I had to undjango my way out of the various restrictions it placed on me.

I'm a big fan of how Django creates structure through its applications. It makes it very easy to build parts of functionality on a plug and play basis and use them across projects.

Django offers a lot of functionality and it can be difficult to pick the right ones being a newcomer. But once you get the hang around applications and repositories and start working with "advanced" Django and Python features and apps like the built in signals, Celery, Fabric, GUnicorn, etc building and deploying apps becomes a breeze.


Django works just fine. If you want to build your own framework (e.g. use Bottle) then go for it. Waste [Invest?] the time while the rest of us are busy getting things done.

I don't think that you can compare ANY Python framework (or any framework in any language) with Ruby on Rails. If you write Ruby, use RoR. If you write Python, don't use RoR.

Also, for anyone recommending something like Tornado, please stop. It's NOT THE SAME THING and completely off topic. If you want something micro for a small concise project use Flask.


I tried to use Flask for a GAE project a few months ago. I stopped two views later, when I realized I'd started reinventing half of Django. I switched to Django for GAE at that point, and I'm very happy so far.


> The community is pretty much dead.

http://groups.google.com/group/django-users?pli=1

20245 Members, 126619 Threads

Last 12 hours, 14 new threads, 27 new messages

https://code.djangoproject.com/log/django/trunk

16546 changes, last change 28 hours ago.

> ....Django projects ended up being a big mess,

Are you sure it was not the result of the team you worked with, and not Django itself?

Everything else is hand wavy, but if you would bother to explain "clumsy, inflexible and restrictive" technically, I would be glad to respond technically.


> My advice, go for Ruby On Rails or Bottle. Leave Django alone.

Bottle has far fewer features than Django. It's hard to believe that Django is tripping you up if you aren't using its advanced features. You're welcome to discard the Django ORM, auth, models, and even have middleware return requests before it gets to django's router in some places.

I've had similar sentiments before, but ultimately I realized that I would have to fight with this kind of frustration no matter what tools I picked. The details would have been different, but my immaturity as a programmer would have been the same.

As time goes on I get better at substituting custom functionality if a framework doesn't do what I want. This can mean custom css, overriding templates, subclassing, or just placing my own objects in place of inbuilt functionality.

Finally, for a counter-example - not sure why convore split up and slowed down, but they were absolutely crushing it with Django when they first started. They were having Django handle some requests and a more low level server handle other requests (can't remember if it was Tornado or Twisted). There are countless other counter-examples.


I have my own pet gripes about Django, but then I have gripes about any framework I've used, Rails included.

However, when I've seen a Django project that's a "huge mess" that's largely due to the incompetence of the developer. A more "rails-y" framework probably suits such developers, as it gives them less leeway to screw up.


If you have specific constructive criticism I'm quite happy to hear it.


Here's a true fact about programming:

Following the herd means that there's a better chance that someone will have already solved any given problem you encounter and released documentation or a drop-in implementation.

I like the idea of Django/Bottle/etc. because I use Python for a lot of my non-web stuff. But RoR has a bigger and more active population. Unless there's something specific to your situation which changes this equation, you'll save yourself time and effort if you go with the more mainstream option.


OK, then, I'll go with PHP sigh.


Agreed. I've been using Django for 3months now and while the documentation is top notch, the examples are piss poor for things that are pretty much required to make anything past a simple blog.

And I actively reached out too, went to the IRC room, went to the forums, read the mailing list. And it feels dead, most blog posts with tutorials are years old and obsolete, there most of the applications we've tried to incorporate use deprecated methods. Its a real pain in the ass.

Not to mention the applications are all over the place, just look at this list https://code.djangoproject.com/wiki/DjangoResources#Djangoap... it has lots of components but most of the "suggested" are not on there? Even worse is that most of those links are to dead projects with no activity.

I would go with Flask, Bottle, or tornado and if you need an ORM go with sqlalchemy or Mongo.

/rant sorry its been a hard few months.


I think you were looking for http://djangopackages.com/ Makes it very easy to find out which packages are actively maintained (also - just see which ones have recent commits on Github!)

And remember some projects have little activity because they were born perfect :)


I think RoR and Django are both great frameworks. If you think that Django is too restrictive or inflexible, you are relying too much on the framework and not on your own abilities as a programmer. Django gets you up and running quickly, Python is where the real magic happens.


I can't believe I've read this far into an epic flamewar already, but thank you for making the one comment I can get behind. My experience with most development teams is that they have their own custom version of whichever framework(s) they use with as much of the warts removed as possible, in their own style. There's just no way you're going to get around this part, no matter what framework you use.


This is what I did (Django for one project -> moved to Rails) and second this.

I think Django is a lot easier to get started with, but RoR is much more thought out.

OP should also read:

http://www.scribd.com/doc/37113340/Why-Django-Sucks-and-How-...

Which summarizes some of the problems I had with it. Getting components to work was always a custom job; a stark difference compared with the ease of getting Rails components to work.


I'll just point out that was one of the major talks at DjangoCon 2010 and the title was meant to be provocative and in good humour. Eric Florenzano was and is a major player in the (allegedly non-existent) Django community.


I complain about Django all the time, it seems like things could be done better. But I think I'm better with it than without it. It takes care of the vast majority of security issues out of the box. Does bottle do similar?


In what ways is Django clumsy, inflexible or restrictive?


I'm not an expert on it but we used it for half a dozen projects and I have to say I found it to be all of those things.

It's a typical scenario really. On the surface it gives you a great framework for creating a website that works in a certain way but if you deviate from that you tend to find yourself in trouble.

In our case it was mostly the admin section that created the issues. I'm sure that if you know the framework well enough there are ways around the inflexibility but the fact of the matter is, the Django admin is heavily based on configuration. Where you have configuration you have limitations.

Things may have changed (it was about a year ago when I last worked with it) but at the time I struggled with simple things like; customising the auth system, easy debugging / error handling, clean outgoing email switching between dev / live, the templating system, etc. I seem to recall spending most of my time ripping code from the core framework into my views.py and tweaking it so I could get the behaviour the client was asking for.

As I say, it's been a while since I worked with it and I'm sure people have solutions to the issues I encountered but if you're planning on going off piste at all it's probably not for you.


I'd loved to have exchanged emails with you a year ago.

The admin is amazingly malleable. Almost everything can be overridden and replaced. There's plenty of nice debugging/logging solutions (Werkzeug+Django Extensions being my favourite). Email switching between dev/producution is trivial (unless I'm misunderstanding you).

There ARE some clunky parts to customizing auth - mainly around extending the User model - but it's not that terrible.


Yup, just as I say, I'm sure there are solutions to these things if you know the answers. I did look long and hard at the time though. We were using a version of Django where the auth/user stuff had just changed and there were no good examples of how to extend the user model (frustratingly there were good examples for the previous version).

Regarding the email stuff, my criteria for a framework is that I'd like it to send real emails on live and fake ones on dev. That is, email everything to me on dev along with a little header showing who the email was going to etc. Invaluable for testing.


About the email stuff, all you have to do is override the mail backend (recently added) or specify a fake server (non-recently added) in your dev settings.


I don't want to be defending the OP's position, but. . .

settings.py is a mess. Even Simon's written a post bashing it (http://simonwillison.net/2009/may/19/djng/). I cringe a little starting up a project and having to dive into the settings.py file.

In some ways, Django tries to be flexible, but it's clumsy. For example, you can have your templates in your app directories. So, you have /path/to/project/posts/templates and /path/to/project/people/templates. However, you can't just put your templates in there because Django doesn't namespace them. Like, if I do {% extends "people/base.html" %} it will look in both those template directories for a people folder. It won't be like, "oh, I should look in /path/to/project/people/templates/base.html". I have to put the template in /path/to/project/people/templates/people/base.html. That's clumsy.

urls.py is another flexible/clumsy thing (IMO). Django wants me to write a regexp for the simple cases. It's kludgy to do r'^people/(?P<id>\d+)/?$' just to have a URL with an ID in it. And other frameworks have been able to offer the power of regexps for the case where you want them while making the common cases a lot easier.

Django caches certain things and if you try to change it at runtime, well, it doesn't change.

Django's reusable apps aren't that reusable. They were a lot more reusable than Rails' apps, but the Rails team has worked on that a lot - especially with 3.1 and how each app can have its own assets (images/css/js) all namespaced and neat and tidy. There isn't as much utility there as advertised. Like, if I want to use a Django "reusable" app, I often have to manage images/css/js manually, figure out where to put them, etc. This is one of those interesting ones. Like, I have my /var/projects/cool_project directory, but if I put the reusable app under that directory, then I need to have both /var/projects/ and /var/projects/cool_project in my pythonpath which feels wrong. It also feels wrong to put it directly in the projects dir since it isn't a project on its own.

Django doesn't really have init hooks. Like, you can stick random code into the models.py files for installed apps and they'll be loaded when the app is initialized and so you could set things then and, well, it's python so the __init__.py files should get loaded. However, no one seems to talk about it. Granted, almost no one in the Rails community talks about init files, but it seems a tad more common. I mean, it's Python and so clearly one can write Python, but while Django is extensively documented for what I'll call "blessed features", I wish there was a little more talk about making alterations at startup.

I never really warmed to Django's forms. They're fine, but they don't feel good. I hesitate to say this one because my argument is "they feel clumsy" and I'm sure many agree with that and many disagree with that.

Here's one that recently got resolved: nearly everyone had written their own wrapper around render_to_response so that they wouldn't have to do render_to_response('tpl_name.html', {}, context_instance=RequestContext(request)). In Django 1.3 they added the awesome render(request, 'tpl_name.html', {}). It's not even a big thing, but it felt so clumsy before to have to set a kwarg with such a long object name.

Rails has really settled on that Gemfile and you can use pip/virtualenv and requirements.txt, but it doesn't seem to be as much of a thing. Like, it isn't always about what can be done as much as what is done sometimes. Plus, the Gemfile makes the app require the libraries. I'd have to also add them to settings.py or somewhere else. And I'd potentially have to add it to INSTALLED_APPS and TEMPLATE_CONTEXT_PROCESSORS and MIDDLEWARE_CLASSES since you can't just install an app and have it work in those places without naming it specifically in settings.py

Here's a counter example. Let's say that no one agreed on what the main content block would be called in base templates - or that base templates would be "base.html". It would make templates from reusable apps useless since they might be {% extends "home.dj" %} or {% extends "layout.tpl" %}. They could have {% block main_content %}. It does matter what people do in practice sometimes.

Really? No migrations? I have to resort to a third-party project? I should have the SQL sent out to my terminal, go into my database, figure out the deltas and apply the SQL? While I'm on database stuff, would it kill Django to specify InnoDB and UTF-8 for MySQL when creating tables? I get it, most of them use PostgreSQL and I like PostgreSQL, but I'm not always using it and it's a sensible default to go with InnoDB and UTF-8 unless told otherwise - and loads of people don't know or forget to set that as the MySQL default.

Now, I could also write one of these about Rails if I wanted to. Anything that has worth will have plenty of warts. It's the nature of creation. I wouldn't write this unless I cared a lot about Django. I enjoy using it. But there will always be things I'm not fond of in it (or in Rails, or anything else - even if I created it).

For myself, the thing I don't like most about Django is the "well, we didn't think of it/need it and there's a third party project so, well, I guess we're not going to go there" situation that I feel sometimes. Now, I wanted to stress that this is a feeling more than something objectively accurate. Migrations are one of those things. User authentication, an admin section, a basic CMS, sitemaps, lorem ipsum, textile, markdown, restructured text, a list of US states, a comments framework, etc. all have made their way into Django. Now, those are some useful things. I don't need all of them on every project, but batteries are nice (even if they're those D batteries and I don't have a device that uses them). However, migrations are a tad fundamental. Likewise, it was many years before the messaging framework worked for non-logged-in users (like Rails' flash). Yes, many people had put out a little package that one could use, but (without something awesome like a Gemfile) it takes more than a little setup. I mean, it isn't arduous, but it isn't free. And the point of frameworks is what they do for you for free. Heck, someone posted on django-developers a couple months back about prepared statements (http://groups.google.com/group/django-developers/browse_thre...). If you've seen Aaron Patterson's presentation on Rails and prepared statements (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kWOAHIpmLAI), you can see the benefits of them. Prepared statements are in Rails 3.1. The message on django-developers seemed to get a very luke-warm response because Django has kinda decided that they don't want to deal with connection pooling - after all, there are already third party libraries for that (even if they aren't so integrated and require more user setup and work). So, the fact that Django doesn't want to deal with connection pooling means that the great speedup that could be had from prepared statements won't happen. And yes, I could put the patches on myself and when Django makes new releases re-apply the patches (and figure out if anything broke) and deal with potential edge cases where the patch wasn't right, etc. and set up a connection pooler and get my prepared statements and the speedup that comes with them. But that's kinda kludgy and feels restrictive. And for a framework that likes PostgreSQL, they're missing out on a large speed bump by not using the query planner effectively.

Again, I could make a list about Rails or any sufficiently large project (it's hard to criticize web.py or something since the retort would simply be "it isn't meant to do that"). This doesn't mean that Django is bad or that I dislike Django - it's quite the opposite. Personally, I don't care about things I don't like. People are free to do as they like. However, when there's something that I'm 95% "wow, that's awesome", the 5% that I'm like, "omg, this is crap" bothers me. I'm not sure if you were looking for a response to "what's so clumsy, restrictive, etc. that one shuldn't use it". If that was your question, well, I think people should use Django (and Rails). But just because something is good, doesn't mean that it doesn't have clumsy pieces that will annoy you.


Unlike the troll at the top of the thread, there are some fair comments here. It's maddening when the maintainers shrug and say more or less "well, that's the way it's going to be".

My pet hate is contrib.auth - the models used feel seriously out of date and the whole get_profile() thing feels inefficient and hacky. Almost every client I work with does not want usernames but email login these days and I have to use the same damn workarounds each time. I get the feeling there were some bad decisions made early on in the project - maybe to work around the lack of model inheritance back then - and they've stuck, but still somehow need to be defended.

And yes, for crying out loud, South needs to be part of Django itself. This "we shouldn't have opinions" is a crock. Everyone who needs migrations uses South. When we don't have South but we have a highly opinionated - and practically useless - comments app, that argument doesn't hold water.

Like yourself, though, most of the time Django does what I need, I can make it work, and love 90% of it - the ORM, forms, middleware etc "fit my brain" and work nicely. But the framework still needs a lot of work and some serious wart removal.


RE:

"I often have to manage images/css/js manually, figure out where to put them, etc"

This has (yay!) been solved in 1.3 with the inclusion of the staticfiles app. I now just put my app-specific static stuff in static/ and then run manage.py collectstatic and all is well in the world :)


Awesome! I'd gone through the release notes when 1.3 came out and wrote it off since the release notes say "Part of the purpose of introducing the staticfiles app is to make it easier to keep static files separate from user-uploaded files." I thought to myself, "well, I'm going to be putting user files on S3 anyway so it's not going to get messy anyway."

I'd completely missed it. Thanks!


After starting to read your post, I thought I'd be able to defend most of the things that bother you, but you're 100% correct. What especially bugs me is the lack of an initialization file. I needed one to put some signals (or some other functions, it's been a while) in, and there just wasn't anything.

It's a trivial thing to add, but its lack really hurts sometimes.


> In some ways, Django tries to be flexible, but it's clumsy. For example, you can have your templates in your app directories. So, you have /path/to/project/posts/templates and /path/to/project/people/templates. However, you can't just put your templates in there because Django doesn't namespace them. Like, if I do {% extends "people/base.html" %} it will look in both those template directories for a people folder. It won't be like, "oh, I should look in /path/to/project/people/templates/base.html". I have to put the template in /path/to/project/people/templates/people/base.html. That's clumsy.

That one I completely disagree with, especially considering the idea of reusable applications.

While the repetition of 'people' does feel redundant at first glance, it means a second application can have its own `people/base.html` template which will be used instead of the one originally provided by `people`, and without needing any magical manipulation of paths/namespaces in the template loader. The path within the templates folder is completely independent from the path outside of it. And I think that's a fine behavior for the app_directories and the eggs loaders.

Furthermore, note that you could write your own template loader based on these which will do the namespace munging for you. How is that "Django tries to be flexible, but it's clumsy"?


>However, migrations are a tad fundamental.

FYI, I think the South authors are the ones preventing South being part of Django, not the Django maintainers.


Honestly?

I don't think either "side" (if there is such a thing as "sides" here -- South's lead developer has a commit bit on Django) wants to just transplant South into Django directly. The plan, which got hashed out secretly behind closed doors in a shadowy back room (on our public mailing list), is to work the low-level support for migration-ish stuff -- APIs for DB manipulation, etc. -- into Django, but not officially "bless" any particular high-level implementation.


Ah, my recollection was that the Django guys wanted to include South in a previous Django version (maybe 1.3?) but that the South developers didn't want that to happen. I had a quick look and couldn't find where I read that, and you seem to know better than I do, so I'll assume I'm misremembering something.


this was echoed at djangocon europe, they're looking to split functionality between stuff that every migration app could use (like generating alter statements, etc), and the actual tool itself.


Actually, in my recent job hunt (in Chicago no less) I saw a very even distribution in RoR and Django centric jobs. I believe outside of the Chicago area, it may even move towards a more Django dominant role. I am unsure of whether this is due to the abilities of the framework or if Python is more accessible and widely used a language than Ruby.


From where I see, Django has a decent community. I have been helped a lot, I regularly go to meetups with a turnout of 20+ Django devs at a time.

Django is a Python framework. It has some nice features of Python like explicitness over implicitness rather than depending on a lot of magic. But in no way I feel it is a clumsy, inflexible or restrictive.


IMO, Django had great documentation in it's time (i.e. the django book), which is why it's so popular; but the competitors have caught up, and people are questioning how good Django really is. The main advantages of Django are - lots of libraries, and the generic views. But I personally dislike generic views. They just feel a little like magic, and a little over-engineered. They might be good for larger projects, but using them from the start feels like premature overengineering.

I like Tornado. In the overview (http://www.tornadoweb.org/documentation/overview.html), it gives you - auth (using OpenID), secure cookies, XSRF protection, templates, localization, UI modules (really basic, compared to generic views), running in prodution with Nginx, and aync programming. It doesn't have much database stuff (just a wrapper around MySQL), but you can use SQLAlchemy, or some other ORM.

Only the auth stuff feels over-engineered, because it uses async programming to call a general interface for Facebook OAuth, OpenID, Twitter OAuth, and so it's a bit of a dog's breakfast.


> IMO, Django had great documentation in it's time (i.e. the django book)

The "great documentation" is not and has never been the django book. It's the official documentation on the website.

> but the competitors have caught up

Uh... no it has not. Even in the Python sphere, where Sphinx and Django have led to drastic improvements in documentary quality. One of the few projects which could lay claim to that would be Pocoo's/Armin's (Flask, Werkzeug, Jinja) and in my experience the API still feels much more like APIDoc than the craft I feel when I read Django's docs.

As to Rails, it's still a joke. The first documentation link on the rails website is this: http://api.rubyonrails.org/

> But I personally dislike generic views. They just feel a little like magic, and a little over-engineered. They might be good for larger projects, but using them from the start feels like premature overengineering.

That sounds very strange, especially for the older non-class-based generic views: they provide very simple behavior and usually end up replaced over time as it's not possible to customize them sufficiently (a major reason why class-based generic views were introduced).

I have to say I'm not sold on the class-based generic views, they feel far more complex than the old ones (because they are) and the documentation does not help and does not remove that feeling of complexity.


I am involved in Django and love it and the community. I only do RoR work when I have to and I hate it.

It comes down to personal preference. To me Django was much easier, more flexible, and "funner" to work in.


I couldn't agree more. Django's inability to deal elegantly with, for example, development vs. testing vs. production SETTINGS is an obvious drawback.

If I have to use third party middleware or apps to deal with inadequacies of a framework, that's a pretty big alarm that something bigger is wrong.

I saw bottle just this past week on HN and I'm itching to give it a shot.


This is rediculous.

Everyone's app is different, and so Django is rightly agnostic as to how your settings are stored, and which are loaded.

As for the scope of the problem: dealing with multiple development settings is Section 1, Page 1 of professional programming. It's a solved and trivial problem. This isn't like coding your own ORM or templating language.


Okay, let me rephrase.

It's not trivial. In rails, it's trivial. The framework has knowledge of these separate states of applications. Deploying a serious, hardened service on top of Django is an order of magnitude more complicated than something like Rails.

Schema migrations are yes, a "solved" problem, if by "solved" you mean a third party application that isn't baked into the framework.

Having built a service that hosts Django apps, I can tell you that serious, hardened, services are not as trivial as you think to build with Django. There are countless headaches, and at this point it makes sense to use Rails over Django if you care about making your life easy.

I'm not saying Django isn't without its advantages, but those advantages tend to pale in comparison to some of the problems when you scale past 10 users of a trivial app like a blog.


This whole comment is rife with ignorance.

> Deploying a serious, hardened service on top of Django is an order of magnitude more complicated than something like Rails.

That's funny. How so? I just start gunicorn, point nginx at it, and I'm ready to go. Of course, you could just as easily do it 500 other ways that might make sense to you more.

> Schema migrations are yes, a "solved" problem, if by "solved" you mean a third party application that isn't baked into the framework.

This is absolutely the most absurd thing you've said so far. South handles migrations very well, the code of of excellent quality, and I'm always thrilled to see incremental improvements come down the pipe when they're ready. I don't have to wait for a new Django release.

> Having built a service that hosts Django apps, I can tell you that serious, hardened, services are not as trivial as you think to build with Django. There are countless headaches, and at this point it makes sense to use Rails over Django if you care about making your life easy.

Completely unsupported drivel. We run two separate PCI compliant websites with well over 10k uniques a day per, and have had a pretty easy time of securing both. Django bakes in XSS and a lot of other protection with little to no effort. SQL injection attacks become all but impossible if you don't do anything goofy.

> I'm not saying Django isn't without its advantages, but those advantages tend to pale in comparison to some of the problems when you scale past 10 users of a trivial app like a blog.

Work we do for client spans in the many thousands of users. Django bears the load well, has kept ourselves and our clients safe for over four years now, and lets us develop and deliver quickly.

I'm sure you can do the same for RoR, but why dump on Django when you clearly don't have a firm grasp on it and/or Python?


About PCI compliance... It matters to mention which level you are.

PCI 4 is far different from PCI 1.


"a third party application that isn't baked into the framework." In what way is this a bad thing? South has excellent support, code-quality and usage. The only thing that would change by building it into Django would be to tie it's release schedule to that of a much larger code-base.


Heh, I'm not bad mouthing south at all. If it didn't exist, I wouldn't use Django at all. Thank god for south.

But I'm using Django DESPITE the fact that I have to use south. Contrast this with Rails, which FORCES you to use migrations (last I checked).


Why would I want to be forced to use South? There are other migration methods that approach the problem different ways, or perhaps I want to write my own?

Third part != Lower quality. In this case, it means being able to make incremental improvements outside of the Django release schedule. So while Rails bakes it in and forces a release schedule on migrations, South isn't encumbered by this, and is more agile.


This is the best trolling I've seen yet in this thread.


Obviously you're going to disagree with me. You gave a talk about this at Djangocon, didn't you?

I'm not saying Django completely sucks -- I'm saying that in certain ways, it gets more and more complicated, rather than staying simple as you grow or build projects that need to scale.

Disqus is a clear outlier here, so I could be wrong. It just seems that every time I encounter a problem, someone says "It's easy to hack Django to fix this!" and that's the problem. I don't want to hack it -- I want it to work like that in the first place.

Pylons was AWESOME. I need to give Pyramid a try, I've heard great things.

I'm also certainly not badmouthing the contributors, I'm criticizing the framework's design. Which is something that's really hard to change after years of momentum.


The difference between my keynote and your comment is that I gave suggestions on how to fix the things I saw problems with, and I didn't belittle people by implicitly trivializing their apps in suggesting they only have "10 users".

Development and production settings is trivial with Django, so if you had problems with this, then I don't know what more I can say.

Lastly, there is a world of difference between developing a Django app and developing an company that deploys Django apps. There are some design decisions that were made in the beginning that makes the former easier and the latter more difficult. I think you're conflating the two.

In any case, I'm done with this thread.


In my experience, I found it difficult from time to time to do certain thing, but when you dig deeper you almost always find that the hooks you need and the functionality you need is already there.

I come to think that the Django team must have the Guido's time machine. If you need something, take a good look, the solution might be under your feet.


web micro frameworks are evil although they don't look like that in the beginning, I advice to avoid them by all means.

IMO, even though pylons 1.0 is now frozen, it is still one of the most flexible frameworks out there.


Care to qualify this highly general and rather hyperbolic statement? Which specific aspects of "micro" frameworks do you find to be "evil"?


micro frameworks provide incomplete feature set. You tend to reinvent the wheel many times. I see no advantage in using them when I can have something more complete and feature rich.


Because as your app grows and you need more custom behavior, you find that you start stripping out the full-stack framework features and you end up with using it like a micro framework, which it wasn't designed to be so you have now have a framework mismatch.


pylons is a glue framework. It allows you to replace whatever you want, easily and without losing other framework features.


You tend to need to add features in unforeseen ways. Popular large frameworks can facilitate this more than micro-frameworks can, resulting in less work on the developer's part.


I like pylons a lot and I am using it for few projects, but I hate dependecy on many libraries, things get complicated this way very soon. For smaller sites I recommend web2py - it is one package and it is very straightforward and easy although Pylons seems to be more flexible.


dependencies are taken care of by pylons once it gets installed. I like that Ben made it this way because many of these dependencies can be reused in other projects.


Has anyone else moved over to Pyramid (next iteration for Pylons - particularly with the Akhet suite : mako, beaker, SQLalchemy)? I'm surprised it isn't mentioned on HN more.


I liked Pylons and I wanted to like Pyramid but couldn't get into it. Then I discovered Flask (http://flask.pocoo.org) and moved on to using it with Bulbflow (http://bulbflow.com).


Any experience with web2py?


Web2py is great for those brand-spankin-new to Python MVC web development. That said past that stage I found it to be constricting in the amount of hand-holding it required, seeing myself begin to pour into the source code when I realized I was fighting with the framework and not enjoying it.

But truly, for beginners, it's top notch. Great teaching tool.


Many experienced developers use web2py and find it to be quite flexible and powerful. For example, see comments here (http://harrywolff.com/2011/01/web-application-development-fr...) regarding questions about function re-use and form customization. In web2py, I don't think the complicated stuff is generally any harder than it would be in other frameworks, yet many things are often much easier. Granted, though, sometimes documentation is lacking for some of the more complex stuff. A recipes book is due out soon, so hopefully that will help.


I never tried anything else, but my next project will be with Bottle.


Why Bottle instead of Flask (http://flask.pocoo.org/)? Bottle looks fun for little experiments, Flask seems like it's a little better suited to web app development given that it has plugins for all kinds of useful libraries.


flask is really great!


You've never tried anything else, and out of everything available for Python, you picked a framework I heard of for the first time two days ago? Without trying it, either?

Hey everyone, can we get a top comment on this thread that is something other than nonsensical flamebait, please?


the problem is simple, most people come to django with no previous web development knowledge and no python experience. they expect it to "just work" like php.

this ain't gonna work that way. if you know python, you will always find your way out by looking at the django code (there lie the best examples of how to write django.)

and if you have web development experience, you will recognize the time you've wasted on boilerplate stuff django gives you for free.

'nuf said.


"All my Django projects ended up being a big mess".

maxklein, it seems u lack descent programming skills, since my experience with django is completely different. Most of the time the problem is with who codes, not the framework or tool.


It's not so much Django is dead as is using a relational database as the primary datastore is dying.

Django (and Rails) both came from a time when the RDBMS ruled so they were built around an ORM and are very ORM centric. People are moving away from using a relational database and onto using Mongo or a graph database as the primary datastore.

Graphs are a much more elegant way of storing relational data, and so I prefer a framework that isn't so tied to the RDBMS. Now I use Flask as my Web framework and Bulbflow (http://bulbflow.com) to connect to the Neo4j graph database.


I'm pretty sure that, once you populate a class instance with your data, the rest of Django is usable with very few changes. It's pretty loosely coupled, generally.


Yeah, but most of the libraries that make up Django (and Rails), such as auth, are based around the ORM so if you don't use the ORM, you have a framework mismatch.


I don't know about Django but in Rails ActiveModel works pretty well to bridge the gap and let you use any Rails auth system on Mongo, etc.


Yes, pick up Ruby on Rails.

The RoR community is surely more vocal. Rails has been described as "an opinionated framework" and this ripples through many of the Ruby communities and projects.

Community thought leaders include people like Yehuda Katz, Jose Valim, Giles Bowkett, Ryan Bates, Ryan Davis, Loren Segal, and Charles Nutter, and companies like PeepCode, ThoughtBot, Intridea, EngineYard, and Pragmatic Programmer. There are many more of course.

In the Ruby ecosystem you'll often find these opinions lead to "more than one way to do it". Some examples that we're discussing at my company relate to comparisons of RubyGems/SlimGems, MRI/JRuby, Rails/Sinatra, RSpec/minitest, HTML/HAML, CSS/SASS, Capistrano/Chef, and many more choices.

I suggest you try RoR version 3.1 and you'll find many built-in pieces that can help you, including jQuery, HAML, SASS, the new asset pipeline, and more. You can use these or swap these out as you like. Heads up that some people think these provide too much "magic" and are hard to learn all at once, whereas other people think these are solid choices based on experience. Be sure whatever books you read are for Rails 3, not Rails 2.

Feel free to message me if you'd like more info.

And a plug: I'm hiring Rails developers.


I think one of the reasons that RoR might seem bigger is because RoR is a much bigger part of the "Ruby experience" than Django is for Python. Rails had a huge hand in making Ruby what it is today and I think you'd have a hard time finding a Ruby dev that wasn't introduced through Rails.

This isn't true of Python, though. Most people are Python coders first, web framework users second. Their level of experience with Python has a part in dictating what they're looking for in a web framework and many experienced Python devs are more attracted to small or micro-frameworks like Bottle, Flask, web.py, etc. Django has never been the "one true web framework" for Python the way Rails is for Ruby. Personally I have never touched Django, just Flask and web.py.

Also, if you are going to base your framework usage on its popularity in comparison to Rails you're going to have a tough time ever being satisfied. When has any framework (web or otherwise) generated the same level of cult following as Rails? The Rails community is an absolute outlier in the open source software world (and I mean that in a positive way).


I went through this "ror vs. django" thing a few months ago, and ended up picking up Django.

I got the Django book and liked it and I had no problems with my actual project itself in terms of having enough "community."

However, now I'm in the "figuring out how to deploy it" stage and it's been a real pain. My free webhost supports RoR and python, but doesn't have Django installed, I don't want to spend the money on a VPS, and while there's been a recent surge of beta Django hosts, none of them have worked out for me. (I.e. I tried out gondor.io, it wouldn't deploy, I asked for help in the IRC channel, someone said they'd "look into it" but never got back to me.) I'm currently rewriting my models (db structure) for Google apps since it's basically my last hope.

I really love Django, so it pains me to say this, but you might want to check out RoR.


I think you'll find that any "free webhost" is going to give you a lot of trouble if you want to deploy a project built on a modern web framework.

Rule of thumb: if it doesn't have SSH access, and it's not a Platform-as-a-Service like Heroku or Gondor, you're probably not going to have much luck deploying anything except PHP or static HTML.

Check out webfaction.com, it's great for beginners and does most of the deployment for you.


My webhost has SSH access, it just doesn't give me root. It offers RoR through CPanel, which I just assumed would work, but I haven't tried using it so I don't really know.

But I take your point, a VPS is really the best thing. I just can't convince my husband to let me spend money on it and I'm unemployed :P.


If you have SSH access, and Python is installed on the system, you don't need root to install Django. The best approach is via pip/virtualenv, but as a last resort, you can just upload the django source folder in the same directory as your manage.py, and it will work.


Look into ep.io, gondor.io, djangozoom.com or one of the other recently-available Django/Python/WSGI hosts, then. They're free to start with (like Heroku) and are built with Django in mind.


Take a look at virtualenv / virtualenvwrapper for managing your python packages. Complete lifesaver when it comes to deploying apps.


Django is just a Python package. You don't need root to install it, you just need it to be on your Python path. If they have virtualenv installed that's probably the easiest way to do it. Otherwise, look here:

http://groups.google.com/group/django-users/browse_thread/th...


I feel with Django, only 30% is learning Django "coding" and the other 70% is the deployment.

Everybody uses a different method.


I've met a few of the creators of both the Rails and Django frameworks and noticed that their communities are very much a reflection of the creators.

DHH and crew tend to be very vocal and opinionated about their software.

The Django community (like the python community) tends to shun this type of behavior and prefers to let the code speak for itself.


I'm not sure I believe the RoR community is larger than the Django community. I do believe it is more vociferous, though, which seems to be indicative of the general difference in communities between Ruby and Python.

It really doesn't matter which you choose. You will hit points with either where you are tearing your hair out trying to figure out how to do something. You'll find good peopke to help you in both communities. Eventually, that phase will pass and you will achieve Zen, until the next shiney framework shows up. :)

Personally, I really like Python as a language, so that's my path to Zen. Yours may be different.


This is part of the reason that some people claim "the Ruby community" is full of drama. In reality, it has no more drama than any other group of people. The difference is, those people interact with each other and publish a lot, so any disagreements are more visible.

Anyway, maybe one place to start is http://djangoweek.ly/ - not exactly a community but it's a news service so you're likely to be led to interesting places.


Mozilla's web development team uses Django for most of their current and new projects. If you come to #webdev on irc.mozilla.org they might be able to point to some other resources and gathering places.


there are totally unfair comments to django, django committers and the django users. having used many tools such as grails, rails, django, pylons, turbogears and pyramid for different size of projects and loving them all i have a good amount of experience with these tools. whenever i needed a hand, people in #django (in irc.freenode.net) or a djangonaut's blog post or answer on stackoverflow or the django mailing list helped me out. same applies to rails as well.

what you like with rails is its just being fancy and people acting like it's a miracle. it's not. it's a a tool which helps you prototype your application with scaffolding and some other nice things in a very small amount of time. so is django. complex application means complex code. this is not a django thing. it applies to every tool. do not let screencasts or posts hypnotize you as those guys are working with rails for many years. you will not develop rails apps like they do when you start over. your code will suck. you won't like your own code as you learn ruby and rails in depth and sharpen your skills. oh wait, that applies to python and django as well. :) it's not you though, we all have been there.

one final note. django community does not need a reference book. because django documentation is a reference manual that contains everything a django developer needs. however a cookbook or application-type teaching book would be nice.


I am newbie when it comes to development, and I had the same choice between developing my product on RoR or Django. I chose Django, and between the tutorial, docs, and the google mailing list, I think there is a pretty good community out there.

A book would be nice, but there are some good apps on registraton, profile, etc. available on GitHub or BitBucket out there. Granted, it might not be plug and play like in the case of RoR, but I have found it to be alright so far.


I went through the very same experience you're going through now, and ended up with Rails. The largest deciding factor was the size of the community in my geographic area. Sure, there's always going to be a nontrivial online community for any activity, and the online presence of Django is enough to keep you going. But, you'll need to get some face-to-face interaction in there -- at least I needed that when learning. Waiting for a message board post is not the same as asking a few questions back and forth with a more experienced developer.

My impression that I got from both communities is that while both are good at fostering the growth of existing members (most programming communities do this well). Django is really bad at "evangelism," via teaching non developers to code via Python/Django or converting existing devs over to the framework. In contrast, the Rails community is better than most for profit groups at this (think about Microsoft's initiatives vs. something like Rails for Zombies).

For an example, compare the two homepages. The Rails page is much better at actually conveying the it's information effectively than Django.


There are in fact more books focused on Rails compared to Django, and this logically reflects the inferior documentation of Rails compared to Django, necessitating and creating a greater market for additional documentation. This market doesn't exist so much for Django not because of the lack of interest in learning Django, but because the documentation is so good. End of that story.

As for the greater perceived online presence of the Rails community, I think this reflects two things:

1) Greater confusion among Rails users, who as a general group seem less technically inclined "on the whole" (there are obviously a ton of brilliant Rails developers as well). In general, Rails users want things to be pre-configured for them, and therefore never really learn how things work under the hood, and are thus ill-equipped to make simple changes to their own apps.

2) Greater Apple-like fanboy-ism among Rails users, which takes on a religious fervor with people thinking they have met salvation, and it makes them feel special. They love to evangalize about it, and this personality trait in part the perceived greater popularity of Rails.

That said, both frameworks are obviously still very popular and effective at building web applications. Try both and go with whichever one you like better, and stop fretting about whether you've made the "right" decision.


Frankly, the discussion below turns quickly into bickering, but in response to your question, in my limited experience I think you've hit the nail on the head in terms of the size of the community, though I think that has more to do with the prominence of 37 signals etc and less to do with any technical superiority.

I personally prefer Django for a number of reasons though I've also been impressed by RoR in my dabbling. active record's migrations are nice, and the ease with which rails let's you write dynamically changing forms and various other niceness is really great.

Technical questions aside, I think RoR is the default web framework. At general hacker type meet-ups like Startup Weekend, Rails is pretty much the default framework to work in as more people are familiar with it.

Django is wonderfully well structured and literally just about anything can be accomplished elegantly by subclassing this or that. As you said, the difficulty comes in figuring out what and how to fill in those gaps, which more often than not includes heavy use of grep and browsing around the Django source.

I think you'll be fine with whichever you choose. Learning new languages and frameworks is enjoyable, so try some rails and see how you like it. Smart people and great projects have been done with both.


I have the same first two questions as you, so I'm glad you asked.

I can say a large part of me starting developing with Rails is the community. Many, many publishers have books. When I was in school our library had more material on Ruby/Rails than anything else in web dev. The online community is also fantastic as you've noted. Example: someone has taken the time to make ASCIIcasts out of Railscasts is incredible...and very helpful, as I'd often rather read than watch.


Yes it's true that the Rails and Ruby community is very talkative and innovative. I see a lot of projects being ported from Ruby to Python and not so much the other way around.

As for getting work done, in my experience Rails and Django are equivalent. The only thing against Rails is that it's slower, which can be a burden for development.



I'm in this same boat. I decided to go with Python vs Ruby due to what seemed like a better language for Sys Admin scripting. I tried Django in the past and quickly ran into issues after Django Book. I think I might give Bottle and Flask a try and get my project live.


What issues did you run into by the way?


For a long time I debated which framework to pursue in my off time (work is Java/struts blub programming). Python is the first and only programming language that I truly fell in love with, so I've investigated Django and rather like it. But I'm going to the Lone Star ruby conference next month, and I'll be doing the 0 to Rails tutorial. I guess I'm still having a hard time making up my mind. If exposure to live events is the deciding factor, then ruby will win, because I don't see many nearby django events...


In my opinion, the decision whether to use Rails vs. Django should largely be based on which language you know/prefer and which culture you know/prefer. In terms of capabilities, the distance between them is tiny.

Austin Python Web meetup: http://django.meetup.com/cities/us/tx/austin/

No?


The strongest part about django has always been (imo) it's documentation. The books that are out currently are simply not as good as the docs on the main site. I suspect this is the main reason there are not new books. If no one is buying django books, why write new ones?

The only dig I've read here that I agree with is that the plugins vary wildly in quality and ease of use. I would suspect that's true of ror as well. (Although, I think they have more to choose from, so there's probably more diamonds in the rough)


The best book I've found for picking up rails was the latest edition of the Agile Web Development book, which I actually own 3 different editions of it, for differing versions of rails.

The lack of a Django book, probably has more to do with the fact of the community being more focused on tutorials and Blogs rather than cashing in, although there are a few django books out there. That said with the documentation and tutorials out there I've never felt a great need for a missing book.


There is a Django book.


Everyone talking about RoR and Django, but what about Scala? Does that a good language with a good web framework?

I experienced RoR and trying Django now, and thinking Django is much easier than RoR (Django configurations and conventions make much more sense for me), but seeing the same problems everyone talking here.

Meanwhile, Scala coming and a lot of services written in RoR or Django are now build in Scala (Twitter, Foursquare).


I have a lot of Python experience. However, I recently started to learn RoR. Having a great time so far. I'd recommend making the investment.


The size of community for Rails vs Django does not really matters in your selection as both are big enough community. Choose base on your language preference Ruby vs Python as this is where you will be coding in. Learn the basic of both and decide then which is more suitable. I started with Rails/Ruby and switch to Python.


Enough of a community that Google chose to let Django on App Engine, not Rails.


That has much more to do with Google and GAE already using Python and not Ruby.


GAE also supports java webframeworks(Play-framework)


#django irc.freenode.net


Want to propose a talk comparing Rails to Django at PyGotham?

http://pygotham.org

Based on your findings, form a panel and let the community decide.


Everyone is talking about Django.. What about Zope ? Except the learning curve how does zope fare when compared to other frameworks ?


rails and django are both extensions from the ruby and python community. if you know your programming well, you'll be able to grok it in whatever framework you choose. on that note, i'll bet my last penny python's community is more vibrant than ruby. ruby is essentially dead without rails whereas python thrives quite happily without django.


Rails 3.0 was released almost 1 year ago on August 29th, 2010

Django 1.3 was released March 23rd, 2011, about 4 months ago.


You are contrasting the versions incorrectly. Rails 3.0 may have been released then but the latest version of it is Rails 3.0.9, which was released < 1 month ago.


I was just interested in these books about the "latest" version of rails. Are they about Rails 3.0.9?

The Rails 3 Way - Published December 20, 2010, I doubt it includes the 3.0.9 release. Ruby on Rails 3 Tutorial - Published on December 26, 2010, also doubt this book covers 3.0.9 Agile Web Development with Rails - March 31, 2011 - don't know about this one.


Who is the DHH of Django?


We have GvR as a BDFL


I worked for four years in my startup in which we decided to go with django; four years ago RoR (v1.2.3) and django(0.97) were almost at par. Even though RoR had a slightly bigger community, django was clearly emerging as a leader. Both were equally good but we went for django because it had better performance, the explicit style seemed better than the inflexible conventions approach, Python's one-clear-way-of-solving syntax seemed better suited for teams and django's performance was certainly better than RoR.

Fast-forwarding four years and coming to 2011 with django 1.3 and Rails 3.0: I happened to work in another team to build a product in RoR from scrach. I was blown away by what Rails community has achieved while django is lagging behind a lot and is least likely to catch up.

Here are a few highlights:

* As a generic statement, to achieve anything in RoR, usually there is one clear and simple way of doing it. On the other hand in django you can do in many ways and most of the programmers have their own preferable ways. This is ironic considering Python endorses the very same principle but Ruby has a flexible syntax to cater different styles.

* In RoR, you can find a gem for almost anything. Plugging gem in your app is usually extremely simple. On the other, comparatively there are very few usable django apps and integrating them in your django project usually turns out to be painful. * Resolving and maintaining gem dependencies across the team is a piece of cake with bundler. However when it comes to django, I couldn't find a good tool. There is virtualenv but I couldn't find it comparable with the power of bundler.

* Deployment is fun in Rails. In django, it was and still is painful.

* Rails has a far better support for Backend databases, including some support for NoSQL. On the other hand it was just a while back django started supporing multiple databases and that too is hackish approach.

* Databases migrations in Rails are straightforward and explicity. django doesn't have anything like that builtin but does have a django-evolution app which can be really troublesome in some cases.

* Django's restrictive templating system theoretically lets you not shoot yourself in the foot by imposing a new language. But having to learn a new language and dealing with its quirks sometimes makes you pull your hair. Rails approach of embedding Ruby in templates is much more powerful and practically useful. Sure you can override templating systems in both frameworks but defaults are the ones almost everyone uses.

* There are very few hosting services specifically tailored for django. But Rails community boasts services such as heroku which save you so much time that a django fanatic cannot understand.

* I haven't seen testing in Rails in depth but from the bird's eyeview, automated test-cases in Rails seem much more powerful than in django. I might be wrong here.

* Rails has much better documentation and a much stronger community. Compare the Rails and django books on Amazon, questions asked on SO, blogs, tweets, everywhere Rails now dominates.

Its just that I really love Python and prefer it much more over Ruby. Even then I'll probably completely switch to Rails.


You clearly haven't used Django in quite some time:

try "pip freeze > requirements.txt" and "pip install -r requirements.txt" for managing dependencies between deployments

deployment is a matter of making a generic .wsgi file and pointing your server to it, how is that hard?

the "south" app makes database migrations very easy, the fact that you didn't know about this speaks volumes about your "experience"

Django is universally known to have better docs than Rails and virtually any other web framework, see almost every comment on this page

Your other comments lack any objectivity and aren't even worth responding to. I have nothing against Rails, but it's fanboys like you that give it a bad name.


Have you been living under a rock or why don't you have some fun with nodejs?

Not saying django is dead here because its not (rails is though lol/Trollman Troll). It has a very vibrant community, almost as nice as the nodejs com.




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