Django is one of the most popular frameworks for web application development today. This handy open-source framework allows for rapid development, offers support from a large and active community of developers, and simplifies the development process to help teams focus on the more unique product features.

One of the factors behind its success is the growing popularity of the Python language. According to the TIOBE index, Python is one of the most popular programming languages and its use is becoming even more widespread as organizations embrace Python for projects in demanding areas such a data science.

Are your wondering about where Django can be used to bring the highest benefits? Here are 3 examples of successful startups that bet on this framework right from the start.

1. But first, what is Django?

Django is an open-source web framework, written in the Python programming language. It offers a great value to any web development project because it comes with a set of  ready-made components that help to accelerate and simplify the process of building web apps.

The Django framework features handy components that realize the most common functionalities we find in web apps – for example,  user authentication, management dashboard, file upload, and more. 

By using this technology, web developers don’t have to reinvent the wheel and build these components from scratch every single time. The framework helps them to save time, speed up the software development process, and focus on aspects that make a web app unique on the market.


2. Key benefits of Django

The framework has become a key web development technology for a number of reasons.

The Python language

Python is one of the most popular software development technologies in the world. Finding talented Python developers is easy because the language is commonly taught at universities, being of use to academic and scientific communities.

Python is surrounded by a large ecosystem of tools, libraries, frameworks, and plugins. Developers can take advantage of massive numbers of libraries and packages for Python/Django to build features quickly.

Here’s what Python says about itself: “Program development using Python is 5-10 times faster than using C/C++, and 3-5 times faster than using Java. In many cases, a prototype of an application can be written in Python without writing any C/C++/Java code. Often, the prototype is sufficiently functional and performs well enough to be delivered as the final product, saving considerable development time.” 

Structure

Another key benefit of the Django framework is that it suggests the correct structure of a project. That structure in turn helps developers in figuring out ow and where to implement any new feature. 

Startups say that the framework is so great precisely because it allows skipping the step of developing the structure and all of the issues related to custom structures. At the beginning, startups can only worry about the actual code and not the potential structural issues that may crop up later on. 

Also, having a project structure that is similar to many projects around helps when you need to ask the community for help. The chances are high that there’s somebody out there who managed to solve the issue and shows you how to do that in your project. Or you might encounter helpful developers to whom you can easily explain the issue.

The “batteries included” philosophy

You can count on all of the basic web-related functions to be already included. Software development teams building web applications can take advantage of free authentication, admin panel, ORM, semi-automatic DB migrations from Python code, lightweight development web server, and many more. 

That aspect speeds up the work of developers – they simply don’t need to implement this basics stuff. Furthermore, if any feature you need is missing, you can be sure that the active community has already developed a package that delivers it. Information about the available packages is readily available on the web – including our blog!

Check this out: 10 Django packages you should know 

The amazing community

I’ve already mentioned this advantages in the two points above. The framework is surrounded by a vibrant community of passionate developers who will help you solve any issue you may encounter. They’re also behind the many useful packages that extend its possibilities.

Thanks to all these benefits, the framework has become a critical technology for anyone looking to launch a successful web application. No wonder that startups from around the world started to use Django is their products right after its inception. 

Here are 3 examples of startups that have grown into tech giants using Django as their core technology.


3. Top startups that use Django

There’s no better way to evaluate a framework than asking ancient startups that used. Here are 3 good examples.

Note: an ancient startup is a company began as a startup more than 8y ago.

Disqus

Disqus is a worldwide blog comment hosting service for sites and online communities that use a networked platform. Started on October 30, 2007, Disqus has been using Django right from the very beginning.

Disqus is doing well with 17 billion monthly page views. Developers have had a good experience with the Django framework and aren’t planning to change it in the future. It just works for them. The Disqus team has even developed Sentry that enables catching all kind of errors in the framework.

“Slow database queries and network latency generally outweigh the performance overhead of a robust framework such as Django” – that what Matt Robenolt from Disqus said a few years back and it seems that his opinion hasn’t changed since. 

Instagram

Instagram is the photo- and video-sharing social networking service. Instagram was launched in 2010 about two weeks after its co-founders, Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger Kevin started to build its first version. They admitted that thanks to Django, “it was super easy set-up with one way of doing things”.

The company was set up in dark times of Django v1.3 and prior. At that time, the Django ORM suffered from an optimization problem. These ORM issues weren’t noticeable until June 2011, when the company hit 5 million users. Everything works fine now, but to secure the app for the future, Instagram’s developers started fixing Django v1.3 and ended up rewriting Django’s ORM.

Until now Instagram has been using Django with no issues. What’s more, Instagram is currently one of the two Platinum Corporate Members that support Django (the other one is JetBrains). All employees at Instagram (and Facebook, which owns the platform) are allowed to contribute code directly to Django. That’s the highest supporting achievement and it definitely shows the strong relationship between Instagram and Django.

Pinterest

Pinterest is a social media platform that relies on curating images with the help of complex algorithms. Its development began in December 2009, and the closed beta version was launched in March 2010. 

All the startups on my list have been using Django since the very beginning of the development stage. Unfortunately, as Pinterest rose to prominence, it began to suffer from Django ORM issues like Instagram. Its ORM was simply not fast enough – for example, making double and triple calls to a database (during one of the PyCons, Instagram’s developers confirmed that these issues were fixed in Django 1.6). 

As Pinterest grew, it first moved most of the logic to the database and then changed its framework from Django to Flask. Since late 2011, Pinterest has been using Flask and in January 2012, comScore reported that the site had 11.7 million unique US visitors, making it the fastest site ever to break through the 10 million unique visitor mark.


4. So, when should you use Django?

The point about using Django is being able to quickly develop your product. A product that doesn’t has no chance to become big. All three of these amazing startups were built using this technology. That’s how they could quickly prepare and then deploy their products thanks to Django.

Disqus quickly grew with no issues and got millions of users due to the fast development process with Django that allowed quickly adding new features and keeping users interested.

Instagram is thankful to the framework’s community that nowadays supports the framework by contributing to it. If not for that community which worked so hard to make Django faster, Instagram might have fallen apart. Instagram’s developers once spent 10 months to update from Python 2.7, Django 1.3 to Python 3.5, Django 1.8. That shows the value of new updates coming from the Django community.

And lastly, Pinterest got its chance thanks to Django as well. If not for the quick development process praised by developers, Pinterest would require more time to launch on the market. And what if Pinterest started with Flask? Django has everything a web startup needs thanks to its “batteries-included” approach. That makes building web application from scratch simply way faster.

Check this out too: Where to put business logic in Django (tech talk)


Conclusion

By now you should know why Django is such a popular framework organizations use for building web applications quickly and smoothly. There three examples display the key strengths Django brings to the table: accelerating the development process with a rich selection of ready-made components and the incredible dedication of its community.

Would you like to learn more about Django for web development? Check out other resources from our blog:


Django resources

The Ultimate Tutorial for the Django REST Framework

Andrzej Dabski
Andrzej

Andrzej is a Django/Python backend developer at Sunscrapers. He used to be a regular kid until one day, he found a Python online tutorial and there was no turning back. Andrzej likes good puzzles and bad jokes.

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