- What is a web framework?
- The essential features of Django and Node.js
- Django vs. Node.js: head-to-head comparison
- Which framework should I learn: Django or Node.js?
What is a web framework?
By web framework (WF) also web application framework (WAF), we understand a software framework designed to support the development of web applications. It includes web services, web resources, and web APIs. As a result, it simplifies the web development process, and building a website is more effortless.
According to the Most used web frameworks among developers worldwide, as of 2022, Node.js is in the first place and overtook React.js. Looking at the survey, 47.12% of respondents claimed to be using Node, while 42.62% used React.js. Django is used by 14.65%.
Although Node.js and Django are completely different tools, they are both considered when deciding what technology to use while building web applications.
Let us introduce to you both - Django and Node.js.
Django framework is one of the most popular based on Python programming language. Django was created in 2003 by Adrian Holovaty and Simon Willison, and it was released for public use in 2005.
It is open source and used mainly by developers to complete the development process faster. Also, one of its many uses is for an exemplary and clean design. Thanks to its many feature Django framework is gaining popularity.
Node allows developers to create efficient, productive, and fast-working web applications. These apps require a persistent connection from the browser to the server and are often used for real-time applications like chats, news feeds, and web push notifications.
Alike Django and Node.js are open sources, both have an excellent interface, which is why they are popular and used in various projects. The community of both frameworks is also very vast.
Django and Node.js have their features, usability, pros, and cons. We will focus on the unique features and compare both frameworks so that you will have in-depth knowledge about both.
The essential features of Django and Node.js
Features of Django
Rapid development means you will not need expert backend knowledge to create a fully functional website. For example, you won’t have to develop separate server files to design the database while making another file for transferring data to and from the server. Django was created to take less time to build web applications.
Regarding security, we can only say that Django is a highly secure framework. It is one of the most secure Python Web Development Frameworks. It covers the loopholes that might have been mistakenly created by default. It does the right thing to protect the website automatically.
In addition, its robust user authentication system also provides a safe way to manage user accounts and passwords securely.
For example, instead of putting a password in cookies, the hashed password is stored in it so hackers cannot fetch it. At least not that easily.
It also comes with default protection against XSS attacks, CSRF attacks, SQL injections, cryptography, etc.
The best example of Django being scalable might be that many MNCs use Django and its implementation goes without any defects or errors. And that is it - Django can process the whole data in a very minimal time, which reduces the loading time.
For example, Instagram* uses Django. A website like that, where millions of active users generate terabytes of data daily.
Django can quickly switch from small to large and is perfect for anyone who wants to make their websites scalable and error-free.
*Django hall of fame has all the famous names such as BitBucket, DISQUS, PBS (Public Broadcasting Service), Pinterest, Mozilla, NY Times, LA Times, The Guardian National Geographic, Discovery Channel, and The Washington Post. In short, the busiest websites use this framework.
The versatility of an application is shown in its ability to perform well in different domains. In its way, Django is a very versatile framework. It has spread its magic all over the market. Django is everywhere - from social networking sites to scientific computing.
Features of Node.js
Node.js operates on a single thread. It is built on the “Single-threaded event loop model” and can handle multiple client requests. A single thread executes the main event loop, but in the background, the input-output work is performed on separate threads. Therefore, Node API’s input-output operation is asynchronous (non-blocking) to accommodate the Event Loop.
As mentioned above, Node.js is asynchronous by default, which means it operates in a non-blocking way. When a client requests a server, it is handled by a single thread. First, the request is processed when the request does not involve any database interaction. Then, the server sends back the response to the client.
High scalability comes with operating in an asynchronous (non-blocking) way. Node.js takes care of concurrent requests and has a cluster module that handles load balance for all running CPU cores. It also can split the software horizontally thanks to the help of child processes.
Django vs. Node.js: head-to-head comparison
Django encourages rapid development to facilitate web developers in delivering applications timely and efficiently. Node.js is used on client-side web applications.
Let’s focus more on the differences between them.
- Performance & Scalability
Speaking about performance and scalability:
Node.js is considered a framework that provides the best performance (however, in CPU-intensive conditions, Node.js is not the best choice because of its single thread working), while Django is the best in scalability.
Node is also frequently updated, and its performance is boosted in almost every release.
Node.js can handle a million simultaneous connections thanks to its single-threaded event loop architecture. Tools like Cluster and PM2 process manager make it relatively easy to optimize web apps.
Now, in Django, you can use a Django Template Language (DTL), a primary way to generate output from the Django app. It allows Django to perform better since this template language promptly promotes the task's execution.
In terms of scalability, as already said, Django is highly scalable. The cashing of applications can be done with tools like MemCache or NGINX (which can also ensure that compressed static assets are served).
As Django developers have to develop each function autonomously and then create a connection between them, it is really easy to implement and refine new features without considering how to integrate them with the app. Also, Django operates on an MVT model with many tools, which help create extensive apps.
It is worth noting (in terms of similarities) that despite the single-threaded architecture, Django and Node.js both can handle several requests, which is crucial in applications of high traffic.
- Development speed
Django was created to allow developers to create apps quickly, with as little code as possible. The framework offers a lot of pre-build modules, which enables super-fast MVP development and sensible scalability afterward.
Using Node.js, you’ll have to rely on npm packages to solve some common issues. Keep in mind that not all (if none) of those are properly maintained (lack of proper documentation, bugs, etc.). It will increase the development time and complexity of the app.
Django built-in security tools like SQL injection, protection, and clickjacking prevention are perfect for preventing major security flaws and malicious acts across its input fields in the web app. Besides, Django offers features that protect SSL, HTTPS, host header, XSS, CSRF, etc.
Node.js, unfortunately, has no default settings for security. If you want to add security measures to the application, you must manage it manually. Otherwise, the default session cookie names used by the framework could make it vulnerable and expose the app to the potential attack such as cross-site request forgery (CSRF), cross-site scripting (XSS), SQL injection, etc.
Django is very deadline oriented. It enables developers to build working software extremely fast - and if this is not cost-efficient, then what is?
Which framework should I learn: Django or Node.js?
The best would be to learn both, but we all know we might not have enough time to do so. You can work excellently with both technologies. But let’s say that you have to choose.
In that case, you have to consider what type of programming work you would do and, based on that, make a decision.
It is important to know that Django is more secure than Node.js. It has a built-in security system, which protects you from any security failure. Node.js is not that secure, and it needs a manual operation in the system to administer security flaws.
For the sake of the question, “Which framework should I learn?” I’d say that the learning curve of Django is way easier than Node.js, and it is often recommended for beginners to start with Django. This framework comes with pre-baked tools and modules, which may help you with concerns like Form Validations, Security from cross-site scripting, etc.
Django is described as a “Framework for perfectionists with a deadline”, which means that the development process in Django is way quicker than in Node.js. Not to mention that thanks to the project structure, development is well organized and allows better debugging.
Regarding debugging - Django is a Python framework, so the debugging process is less hectic than Node.js.
Many top trier technologies companies are turning into Node.js. It might be because of the development speed and cost improvements. But, at the same time, Python is heavily used for Data Science.
As already said, Django and Node.js are powerful and great for working with technologies. Both have plenty of potential use cases, and choosing the best depends on your project’s priorities. It is always good to know both the strong and weak sides and what types of projects the frameworks are used for.
In short, you should choose Django if you are in fintech and Node.js to create APIs, services requiring very high bandwidth, and build microservices.