I'd much rather see tools like the Django admin evolve interfaces which can be plugged in to the Django ORM or plugged in to some other backend (PyMongo, CouchDB, SimpleDB, AppEngine DataStore or whatever). That feels to me like a more natural point for an abstraction layer than the core ORM itself.
And I agree, I don't see for now much use of the django models and ORM for mongodb, I just use pymongo code in my views.
Oh and sorry for the disgusting site "design". Our site isn't running on Django-nonrel, anymore, and I still didn't get to making a nicer design (not that the previous one was much better ;).
Out of curiosity (and as a user of Django-nonrel), what are you using at your start-up?
Every single project which tried to port Django to GAE relied on either monkey patching during runtime or forking the codebase. This was an enormous amount of work as you can imagine, and the benefits grew smaller and smaller as simpler frameworks became available.
Now don't get me wrong, I'm not ragging on Django just because it's large. I'm sure at one point, Django started out as a simple, and clean framework. I am starting to see the same changes in Tornado -- the more people who use it, the more features (and code) are added to keep them satisfied. This goes on until a certain point where the underlying technology (the DB in django's case) changes and it's easier to just start again from scratch.
On the other hand, I can't help but think that "development halted" and "no longer maintained" headlines do the Django community a disservice, as evidenced by comments here asking if Django is dead.
Django is alive, active, and serving many of us very well, thank you. IMHO the reason you don't hear much about it compared to the latest hot shit framework is because it usually "just works", leaving us more time to deal with more important things, like actual business problems.
My theory is that the critical mass for App Engine frameworks just isn't there. Most people either use the Django that's packaged with the SDK or straight up webapp (or now, webapp2, which is pretty great). Slicing the already small userbase into those willing to use a third-party framework is just too few people to make maintaining it worthwhile.
And note that the author abandoned Tipfy for it.
The only thing I miss when using Django on EC2 is the automagic zero-admin scaling Google provides. The only thing I miss from Django when using App Engine is the admin (which wouldn't work on top of the datastore anyway)
It does, though, it works fine with django-nonrel.
(It also has a new maintainer, so no issues there either. See: http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=3274745 )
But, sadly, it never actually happens.